Anethum graveolens

A member of the Apiaceae (also Umbelliferae) Family and an annual, dill is a light and airy delight for any garden, in the soil or in a pot on your balcony. Grow from seed in early spring and keep the plants fed and watered or they will quickly bolt. Periodically sow seeds for continual growth. In-ground plants will self-sow for the next year. Keep this plant away from fennel, since they will cross-pollinate to create an undesirable result.

Dill leaves are feathery plumes and can be placed on a non-metal screen or in a short cardboard carton to dry, then snipped into tiny particles for keeping in a spice jar. After a mid-summer flowering, watch for the seeds to develop. Hang the stems with seed-heads either in paper bags or with a paper spread beneath them to catch falling seeds.

Cooks know that fresh dill leaves, when available, are always preferable, and will enhance many foods from fish to eggs, potato salad, cream cheese, soups, vegetables, breads, sauces, and, of course, pickles.


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