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Dill – an aromatic annual herb




Dill is an aromatic annual herb belonging to the Apiaceae family. It stands straight, with finely separated blue- green foliage. This foliage is referred to as “dill weed” and the seeds are called “dill”. The leaves are about a feet long, with fine 3-4 thread like divisions, about 1 inch long. The plant grows 3 to 5 feet tall and sometimes more. It bears yellow flowers, in umbrella like clusters on the stem, called umbels. The plant has a hollow stem. Native to South western Asia, it has naturalized itself across many parts of Europe and North America. It is one of the oldest herbs known to man, being mentioned in ancient Egyptian writings. Dills rich aroma and crisp grassy taste, has made it a popular culinary herb, being used in many Scandinavian, Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. Dill seeds are used in pickles, vinegars, vegetable and meat stews, and potato dishes, whereas the leaves are used in many fish dishes, sauces and salad dressings. Besides its aroma and taste, it is also a good source of antioxidants. There are many varieties of dill, some are mentioned below:

1. Fernleaf dill: Fernleaf dill or dwarf dill grows up to 18 inches tall, and is grown mainly for its leaves than its seeds. It is a dwarf variety, developed mainly to be grown in pots or containers. It has dark green leaves and a hollow stalk on which yellow flowers appear on umbels.

2. Mammoth Long Island: This is the most widely grown variety of dill, with both its seeds and leaves used for culinary and other purposes. It grows up to 5 feet tall and loves the full sun. Its seeds are used extensively in pickles and its leaves are used fresh or dried in salads, stews, fish dishes, sauces and vinegars etc.

3. Bouquet: This variety has large seed heads making it ideal for pickling. It grows up to 3 feet tall with very aromatic stem, seeds and foliage. Also grown for decorative reasons, its leaves are used fresh or dry in soups, vegetables, omelettes, fish dishes and its stem and seeds are used in flavouring cucumber, salad dressings etc.

GROWING DILL:

1. Dill grows well in full sun. It is prone to toppling over in shade.
2. It requires well drained soil, with normal watering.
3. It is an annual herb, and can be grown all over the year.
4. Dill is usually a self sowing plant, so pick a spot where you need it every year. Plant every two weeks to ensure constant supply of fresh leaves.





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