Learn how to grow dill, and you not only have an herb for pickling, but you also have one of the oldest and most respected sources of medicine out there.
Most everyone knows that dill is useful for making pickles, but this wonderful little herb can do so much more. It has been respected as a drug in the days of Pliny as well as the Middle Ages, and its use as a medicine has been documented since the tenth century.
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The herb supposedly derived its name from the old Norse word dilla, which means "to lull." During the Middle Ages, Dill was used in charms against witchcraft, and some people still make sachets out of dill to keep under their pillow to help them have sweet dreams.
The leaves and the seeds of the plant can both be used medicinally. With dill you will have an herbal remedy that will help ease stomachache and prevent flatulence. An infusion of Dill will help ease colic in children.
The essential oil of dill is also extremely useful for healing. Add one drop of dill essential oil in a glass of water will help with indigestion.
According to a Modern Herbal, "...The seed is of more use than the leaves, and more effectual to digest raw and vicious humours, and is used in medicines that serve to expel wind, and the pains proceeding therefrom..."
The fresh leaves of dill are awesome when added to soups and sauces for flavoring. Dill is also delicious when used to flavor fish. And, of course, you will want to use Dill for making pickles.
Dill is more flavorful before it forms flowers, so pick the leaves as soon as they are big enough to use. But don't despair if you wait too long to harvest your fresh dill; the seeds are also useful for flavoring food. Just allow the flowers to bloom and then go to seed. About two weeks after your dill starts blooming, cut the seed heads and hang
them upside down in a paper bag to allow the flowers to mature and dry
Make dill vinegar by soaking the seeds in vinegar for a few days before use.
The herb Dill is easy to grow, but will take more nutrients out of the
soil than most plants, so be sure to compost your beds heavily.
Also, be sure to cut your Dill flowers within two weeks of bloom, or else the seeds will fall to the ground and you'll find Dill plants popping up all over your garden.
You can also dry your dill plants in the sun. Dry the seeds by spreading the cut flowers out on trays and setting them in the sun for several hours. Or dry them in the oven on low heat for a short time. Whether you dry your dill in the sun or in the oven, you will need to shake the plants occasionally to shake loose the seeds.