Learning how to harvest dill properly is essential for good production. We'll explain everything you need to do it right! Dill Seeds are excellent when sprinkled over casseroles before baking, use in salad dressings and with cabbage, onion, potatoes, pumpkin and vinegar. Dill is a popular herb in the kitchen, flavoring everything from pickles to fish. The best way to make sure you have the very freshest dill possible is by growing dill in your own garden. Learn how to grow it here.
How To Harvest Dill And Store It For Later
Dill is one of the most widely used herbs in the culinary world. It is harvested for its frond-like leaves and flavor-packed dill seeds. When used in soups or stews, it adds a punch of flavor to the recipe. It is often used in seafood dishes, salads, yogurt sauces, and even bread. Many people use dill as a garnish or for pickling. All in all, knowing how to harvest dill can take your ordinary recipes to the next level.
The best part is that growing dill and harvesting it is super easy. Harvesting the plant properly can guarantee a continuous supply of dill herb all year round. Since dill is self-seeding, you can even create a permanent dill patch in your garden by allowing the plants to flower and set seed.
Whether you are a seasoned gardener or an amateur, you can grow dill for harvesting in your very own garden. Once harvested, fresh dill weed can last a long time when stored properly. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about harvesting and storing dill weed and seeds.
When Should I Harvest Dill?
While you can pick dill leaves at virtually any time, the best time for dill weed is just before the plants start to flower. That’s when the oil in the leaves is most potent and it has the best flavor. If you want to extend the harvest on your growing dill weed, prevent the plants from flowering and going to seed.
Generally, it is recommended to choose a dry day to pick herbs, including dill. Start early and pick dill weed in the morning just as the dew from the night evaporates from the plant, but before the weather gets too hot.
As dill grows rather quickly, the leaves are ready for use in 6 to 8 weeks after planting. You can start harvesting your dill as soon as it has at least four to five leaves, but never take more than a third of the plant at a time. This helps your plant to regrow. If you need to use fresh dill more often, consider planting dill in larger quantities.
If you plan on harvesting the seeds, you’ll need to let some of your dill plants go to seed. Once they begin to flower, you may still harvest herbs from them, but the flavor changes. Those flower heads are essential as that’s where the seed forms.
How To Harvest Dill
While harvesting dill plant is easy, it is still a very crucial process as plant growth and foliage production depend on it. Snipping off too much dill weed can reduce the plant’s ability to recover quickly from the trimming. Take older leaves first unless you have a lot of dill. Use a pair of sharp and sterile scissors for snipping the leaves.
Always water your dill plant a day before harvesting dill. Doing so will make sure that the plants are well hydrated and recover quickly. If you’re watering overhead, it will also clean the herb so that you don’t have to wash it before use.
How To Harvest Dill Seeds
Dill seeds are around 4 to 5mm long and appear after the flowers fade. If you want to collect dill seeds, wait until the flowers have set seeds and those seeds start to turn brown. This is a good indication that the seeds are ready to harvest.
Place a paper bag carefully over the flower heads where the seeds are. You may need to bend the stem to make sure you don’t drop too many seeds. Then, snip through the bent point on the stem, letting the seed head fall into the bag. Repeat until you’ve collected as many as you’d like to, then place the bag somewhere to allow the heads to dry.
Once dried, crush the seed heads between your hands, breaking them up to release all the seed. Pour your herb and seed onto a flat surface, then lightly blow on it to remove the chaff from the seeds.
How To Store Fresh Dill Weed
Harvested herbs wilt quickly. However, it shouldn’t be a problem if you use it quickly or know how to store your dill properly.
To store dill fresh, wrap the stems loosely in damp paper towels. Once wrapped, place the stems in a sealable plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Stored this way, the herbs will last for a few days without losing any flavor.
You can also store dill herb in water if you cut full stems. Place the cut end of the stem in about an inch of water in a jar. Place a plastic bag overtop to act like a humidifier, and place in the refrigerator. Change the water daily. You should be able to store your fresh dill plant cuttings for up to a week without severe wilting of the dill leaves or flavor loss.
Finally, freeze dill weed for long-term storage. Wash the harvested leaves before chopping and transferring them to ice cube trays. Fill the cubes with just enough water to cover the freshly-minced herb. Once frozen solid, remove from the tray and store in a freezer-safe plastic bag. Frozen dill herbs will last for up to 3 to 4 months.
How To Dry Dill
Another way to store dill for a long time is to dry it. Keep in mind that dried dill is not as flavorful as frozen or fresh dill, especially if heat is used to dry the dill weed. The hottest temperature you should dry dill at is 110°F. A better approach is to hang-dry, but an air-only dehydrator or box fan drying method can also be used.
To hang-dry dill, take a couple of stems and bunch them together using a string. Tie them upside down in a well-ventilated area. Once the leaves are dry and crumble at a touch, store your dill herbs in a glass jar. Dried dill is best used within a year of storing.
Dill Seeds, Anethum sowa, are also called Indian Dill, American Dill and European Dill (also referred to as true dill Anethum graveolens). Alternative spellings are dil seeds and dillseed.
Dill Seeds have 2.5% to 4% volatile oil.
What are Dill Seeds
Dill Seed is not technically a seed, but the whole fruits of the herb. The seeds are straight to slightly curved with a ridged surface that runs the length of the seed and their shape is flat and oval while their color is tan or light brown. The seeds are just under .2 inches in length and .04 inches thick. Although part of the same plant, Dill Seed and Dill Weed have such different flavor profiles that chefs and experienced home cooks would never substitute one for the other! Dill weed refers to the leaf and stem of the plant.
Dill Seeds are used whole, crushed or ground. In this country Indian Dill Seed is used in breads, cheeses, condiments, pickles, salad dressings, and sausages.
What do Dill Seeds Taste Like
Dill Seed’s flavor is clean and pungent with anise undertones and a slight bite. The aroma is reminiscent of sweet caraway.
What is Dill Seed Good For
The French and the Italians are not big fans of dill seed, as they tend to prefer fennel in their cooking. Dill seed has a much better reputation in German, Indian, Russian and Scandinavian cuisine.
Dill seeds are popular in Indonesian and Malaysian meat dishes, are used in condiments in Asia and in breads in Sweden. In the US, they are most frequently used in pickling. In Northern India, Dill Seed is used in bean, lentil, and other vegetable dishes. While Dill Seed and Dill Weed are used in completely different ways, they also sometimes are paired together most notably in pickling, salad dressings, sauces and vinegars.
One of our favorite recipes using dill seed is this rich, chewy but surprisingly light Dill Focaccia Bread.
Dill Seed is good with bread, cabbage, onions, potatoes, vinegar, and pumpkin and can also be sprinkled over casseroles before baking.
Works well in combination with chili powder, coriander seed, cumin, garlic, ginger, mustard seed and turmeric.
Dill Seed Substitution
If you’re looking for a substitute for Dill Seed use either Caraway Seeds (for bread, casserole, soup or stew applications) or Fennel Seeds (non-sweet baked goods, meat fish or vegetable dishes).
History of Dill Seeds
Dill’s origin remains uncertain, although it is probably south Eurasia 1 (corresponds roughly with North Africa and the Greater Arabian Peninsula). While it is not known when dill was first domesticated, the oldest remains of dill have been found in late Neolithic lake shore settlements in Switzerland, which suggests that dill was either wild harvested or under cultivation 4,000 years ago 2 . Dill Seeds were found in the Egyptian tomb of the Pharaoh Amenhotep II dating back to 1400 BC 3 . The earliest recordings of dill can be found in the writings of the Greek botanist Theophrastus from 325 BC 3 .
While pickles have been around for centuries, no one knows for sure when dill was first used as an essential flavoring. The earliest recipe dates back to 1640 from Joseph Cooper, the cook to England’s King Charles I, which called for dill to be added to pickled cucumbers 4 . Dill pickles are the most popular variety of pickle in America 5 .
Commercially Dill Seed is grown primarily in India and Pakistan, but Egypt, England, Fiji, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the United States also have viable commercial production 6 . European Dill (Anetheum graveolens) is indigenous to Eurasia and is cultivated in England, Germany, Romania, Turkey, USA and Russia. Indian Dill Seed (Anetheum sowa) is native of Northern India and is bolder than the European dill 7 .
Dill grows best when the temperature is consistently between 50° – 80°F. The seeds are sowed directly in the ground between early from April and late May, once the threat of frost has passed. Dill does not do well with root disturbance and so is rarely transplanted as it will quickly deteriorate. Indian Dill Seed is drought tolerant and its flavor actually increases when it is allowed to grow being slightly “thirsty”. Dill matures approximately 90 days after seeding. Once the flowers form, they will bloom and seed, the seed heads should be cut 2 to 3 weeks after blooming. The seed heads are placed in paper or plastic bags, and allowed to dry; the seeds fall off when they are ready 8 .
Where is Our Dill Seeds From
|Also Called||Indian Dill, American Dill and European Dill|
|Recommended Uses||Use in breads, cheeses, condiments, pickles, salad dressings, and sausages|
|Flavor Profile||Clean and pungent with anise undertones and a slight bite|
|Oil Content||2.5% to 4%|
|Botanical Name||Anethum sowa|
|Cuisine||German, Indonesian, Indian, Malaysian and Scandinavian|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 years|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
Hungry for More Information
1 Anethum graveolens (dill). (2019, November 20). CABI. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
2 Cumo, C. M. (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants: From Acacia to Zinnia [3 Volumes]: From Acacia to Zinnia. ABC-CLIO.
3 Nesbitt, M., & Prance, G. T. (2005). The Cultural History of Plants. Routledge.
4 Grieve, M. (2015). A Modern Herbal (Volume 1, A-H): The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs & Trees with Their Modern Scientific Uses. Stone Basin Books.
6 Simon, J. E., Chadwick, A. F., & Craker, L. E. (1984). Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography 1971–1980 the Scientific Literature on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate Zone (First Edition). Archon Books.
7 Dill | Spices Board. (2022, January 5). Spices Board India. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
8 Dill(sowa) Cultivation. (2018, August 31). Agri Learner. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
Tips On How To Grow Dill Weed Plants
Dill is a popular herb in the kitchen, flavoring everything from pickles to fish. Gourmets know that you can’t beat fresh dill for the flavor. The best way to have the very freshest dill possible is by growing dill in your own garden. Let’s look at how to grow dill.
Planting Dill Seed
The best way how to grow dill is directly from seeds rather than from a transplant. Planting dill seed is easy. Dill planting is simply done by scattering the seeds in the desired location after the last frost, then lightly cover the seeds with soil. Water the area thoroughly.
Care of Dill Weed Plants
Growing dill plants and caring for dill plants is also very easy. Dill weed plants grow best in full sun. Other than this, dill will grow happily in both poor and rich soil or in damp or dry conditions.
Harvesting Dill Weed Plants
One of the benefits of growing dill is that both the leaves and seeds of dill weed plants are edible.
To harvest the dill leaves, regularly trim off the desired amount of leaves you need for cooking. If you wish to harvest dill seeds, allow the plant to grow without trimming until it goes into bloom. Once dill weed plants go into bloom, they’ll stop growing leaves, so make sure that you don’t harvest any leaves from that plant. The dill flower will fade and will develop the seed pods. When the seed pods have turned brown, cut the whole flower head off and place in a paper bag. Gently shake the bag. The seeds will fall out of the flower head and seed pods and you’ll be able to separate the seeds from the waste.
There are many recipes that use dill. Planting this herb in your garden will keep plenty of fresh dill on hand for all of these recipes. Now that you know how to grow dill, you have no reason not to be planting dill seed out this year.