dill info

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dill info

Anethum sowa/Anethum graveolens


Dill has been in cultivation for more than 2000 years. The ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of its special properties and are believed to have covered their heads with dill leaves to induce sleep. In the middle Ages Europeans considered dill to be a herb with magic qualities and used it in brews to counteract witchcraft. There are two main species of dill European dill (Anethum graveolens) and indian dill (Anethum sowa).

How it grows

indian dill is found practically all over India. It is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant with silky wispy leaves clusters of small yellow flowers and oval flattened fruits. The single stalks grow to a height of about 1m. To harvest the fragrant seeds the fruits are left to ripen on the plant until they become yellow brown. The seeds are then extracted threshed and dried.

Appearance and taste

indian dill resembles the European plant but the ripe dried seeds are longer and narrower and they taste slightly different due to the differing amounts of essential oil they contain. Dill seeds are light brown and are flat and oval in shape. They are especially easy to recognbe because of their weightlessness 10000 seeds weigh about 25g. Dill has am aroma that is slightly reminiscent of caraway warm aromatic and nutty.

Buying and storing

The most commonly available forms of dill are leaves and seeds. The seeds are sometimes sold ground. You can release the essential oil in the seeds by crushing them but do this just before

using them in the recipe. The best way to store dill seeds is whole amd in a cool dry place.

Medicinal and other uses

Dill is well known for its medicinal qualities and is especially useful for preventing stomach disorders like flatulence and colic. It is equally affective for colds and bronchitis when a hot infusion of the seeds mixed with honey will bring instant relief. Dill is also beileved to stimulate and regulate menstrual flow stimulate breast milk in nursing mothers and delay ovulation to help natural birth control. Dill water which is a mlid infusion of seeds is a miracle drink relieving hiccups colic and flatulence in babies and inducing restful sleep. Dill oil is used in the manufacture of insectiddes. The dried residue left after the distillation of the essential oil from the seeds is used as a cattle feed.

Culinary uses

Dill seeds are used in breads soups processed meats sauce and even in cakes and pastries. The seeds are also used as a substitute for caraway. The green herb with its unique fresh taste is a versatile kitchen plant and goes beautifully with fish meats salads and lentils.

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