Hopefully Spring will be here soon, which means getting back into the garden. So here begins the reinstatement of the Relaxing With Gnomes category!
Dill is a crucial ingredient in chickpea noodle soup, among other recipes. Freshly cut, chopped leaves enhance the flavor of dips, herb butter, soups, and salads. The seeds are used in pickling and can also improve the taste of roasted or stewed vegetables. Try grinding the seeds to use as a salt substitute. Both the flowering heads and seeds are used in flavored vinegars and oils.
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a hardy annual, native to the Mediterranean region and Southern Russia. It grows wild among the corn in Spain and Portugal and upon the coast of Italy, but rarely occurs as a cornfield weed in Northern Europe. It is considered one of the easiest herbs to grow, therefore it would make a perfect first herb for those who need to build confidence in their herb growing skills. It can grow easily from seed and likes to be planted in cool weather (a week or two before the last frost, but for those who don’t get too cold winters you can plant it in the fall). They develop long roots, so if planting in a pot be sure to take the long roots into account.
When growing this annual at home, you want to watch weed infestation..but you also want to choose carefully where you plant this baby. It is known to be exhaustive of soil fertility, thus you don’t want to plant it near fennel, angelica, or caraway. And like most herbs, dill loves the sun – but it will tolerate late afternoon shade.
Dill is traditionally known to have healing properties. One of these is relieving flatulence in infants by using dill water/tea – but I’m sure it’ll still work on those who are technically no longer infants but children at heart 😉 . In addition to a digestive aid, it has been traditionally used to induce sleep and the ancient Greeks believed that dill cured hiccups. Here are some easy recipes for tummy-healing dill.
To brew a stomach-soothing tea:
*Use two teaspoons of mashed seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.
To make a tincture:
*Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day.
To treat colic or gas in children under 2 yrs old:
*Give small amounts of a weak tea. Many herbalists recommend combining dill and fennel to ease colic in infants.
Random tidbit: It can be used as a nail-strengthening bath when the seeds are crushed and diluted in water.