Mimi’s Outsider Chef Culinary Tips-Dill is a cheat sheet for using fresh dill. As a learn-at-home cook, constant cookbook reader, trial by error practitioner or outsider chef, I am a learn as you go girl. Using fresh herbs in your food is another way to improve nutrition, health and increase layers of flavor with minimal calorie increase.
The question really is why are you not using fresh culinary herbs or dill? Is it possible that you may not use fresh herbs due to access or lack of experience? The token amount in the produce section of the grocery store cost approximately the amount of buying a small herb plant. Also, growing your herbs will allow you to reduce loss of taste and nutrition by cutting just prior to using. An item cut fresh from the vine is more vital and alive at that moment so that it will impart the most flavor while fresh.
How to plant and start using dill or herbs?
By planting a small herb garden in the Spring, you may have all the fresh herbs that you require until the season wanes. If you want to plant seeds early indoors, Illinois College of Agriculture Consumer and Environmental Sciences has suggestions for Starting herb seeds indoors. Starting with seeds is cheaper but slower to harvest.
My preference is to buy the smallest plants possible so that I may harvest right away. The local feed and seed store should sell small herb plants. I was able to purchase herbs for less than $4 each. Grill Man plants the herbs for me while I sit back and wait patiently. I will typically wait at least one week before I start snipping off herbs for Mimi’s Outsider Chef Culinary Tips-Dill.
It just seems very rude to plant the herbs and harvest before the plant has an opportunity to settle into the soil. Ohio States College of Food, Agriculture and Enviromental Sciences Offers Top 10 Tips for Planting Herbs. Mississippi State University offers a list of herbs suitable for Mississippi. Most of these herbs should also be suitable for Alabama and Florida.
Although on the Gulf Coast, the hot Summer sun will wear on the dill plant. This is typically when I cut back the herbs and dry the dill stems. When the hot sun bakes the herb and starts to change the color of the leaves it will be time to find a use for your herb.
Mimi’s Outsider Chef Culinary Tips- Dill
1.0 Plant in full sun and well drained soil. My dill is in a large container along with parsley and oregano.
2.0 Harvest fresh dill leaves anytime to use in cooking. To harvest seeds is a bit trickier, once the seed heads start to turn brown clip with scissors. Place seed head upside down in a brown paper bag and store in a dry spot to dry out for a week. Once dry separate out the seeds from plant. Then allow seeds alone to dry out for another week before placing in storage container.
3.0 Prior to using dill seeds in cooking bruise or crush with a mortar and pestle. This will release more of the full flavor from the seeds. Dill seeds will provide more flavor when heated. Dill seeds are stronger tasting than the dill leaves. You may use seeds in pickles, breads, specialty vinegar and preserved vegetables.
4.0 The leaves from the dill plant have a lighter flavor and less bite than the seeds. Add dill leaves near the end so that the flavor does not fade away. In a cold dish you will not run into this issue, the dill can be added at any time.
5.0 When you cut fresh dill cut with longer stems than you need. This will allow you to place in a glass of water to stay fresh until its needed.
6.0 If the caterpillars arrive, pick off and transport far away from dill. Caterpillars will make dill disappear quickly and they were not invited to the party.
“Dill adds a certain freshness and cleanness to a dish. During the winter, most of my fish dishes have dill– as well as dishes like goulash with noodles, which is served with both chives and dill for herbal freshness.” Tony Liu August (New York City) The Flavor Bible 2008 by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
Remember to add dill leaves to the end of any dish that will be heated or the flavor will fade. On the other hand, dill leaves can be added to a cold dish like a potato salad right away.
How to use dill in food?
Fresh dill is lovely to use on many recipes but for a special foodie appetizer that is quick, buy smoked salmon. Local markets will have smoked salmon in the seafood section. Serve salmon alongside diced red onion, creme fraiche and sprinkled with fresh dill. This is lovely served as an appetizer with rye bread, mini bagels or toast points.
Another great way to use dill leaves or sprig of dill is spicy pickled carrots. I have no idea where my version of the recipe came from but it is delicious. From a quick scan on the internet I found a similar version to the one that I use. Spicy Dill Pickled Carrots is a recipe that you will enjoy. If you love crunchy spicy pickles you will love making this one. Perfect addition to a Bloody Mary Cocktail. It is a delicious and easy gift to make for small hostess gifts.
While reviewing recipes to help use up all of my fresh dill, I ran accross a bread too good not to share. Do you need a No Knead Dill Bread in your life? If so, visit The Wine Lovers Kitchen blog for details. It looks too yummy to pass up. I bet the bread would taste lovely with the smoked salmon as well.
Why should I use fresh herbs?
Finally, I hope that if you don’t have an herb bed that you will start a container garden soon. Be bold, learn how and when to use an herb. Herbs, spices and their proper use can give you a magic trick in extracting the best flavors out of an ingredient. The understanding of food and flavors is something that anyone can master.
Herbs have always been a part of every old time garden in the South. In Louisiana the Creole gardens included herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes. Dill has been used for medicinal purposes dating back to ancient Egypt, as a digestive, sedative, a cure for hiccups and even flatulence.
Whether for medicinal or culinary, dill is versatile and easy to use in the kitchen. What is your favorite herb? How do you like to use it? Mimi’s Outsider Chef Culinary Tips- Dill is a good place to start. Please let me know if you have any questions.
With love from,