Dill as a base for Czech pickled cucumbers and Greek tzatziki dip. Get to know this vitamin bomb more!

Dill seems to be a perfectly ordinary herb.

There is plenty of it in Czech gardens because it grows almost like a weed.

However, do you know that it is the absolute number one in terms of vitamin content?

What else is he hiding? Read in the following article!

What is dill?

Dill ( Anethum graveolens ) is an annual plant that is related to celery, carrot and fennel. It is widely cultivated in Europe and Asia. Together with chives and parsley, it forms the basic herbal trio of European cuisines. Dill has also become a part of several traditional dishes, for example borscht or kulayda.

Ancient civilizations have used dill since ancient times, mainly for its medicinal properties. It was found in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep II. and the most famous Greek physician, Hippocrates, produced medicinal dill mouthwash.

What does a dill plant look like?

Dill has hollow stems on which branched leaves grow. These resemble ferns, they are also referred to as “feathers”. The whole dill plant has a deep green color, sometimes even a cool blue-green. The flowers are yellow and grow in an “umbrella” shape. The seeds then ripen on them, but they are not seeds, but whole fruits of dill.

Dill plant including leaves and flowers
source: freepik.com

The whole dill is strongly aromatic, including the stems and flowers. Dill leaves taste like anise mixed with licorice and lemongrass. Less commonly used dill seeds are more similar to cumin.

Dill is not aniseed

Dill is often mistaken for anise. Its generic name Anethum comes from the Greek name ánīson. This name once referred to both anise and dill. It was not until the modern era that the names Anethum for dill and Anisum for anise became established.

Anise also belongs to the anise family, but its leaves are typically “lacy” and have a sweet licorice flavor.

Dill and anise leaves
source: specialtyproduce.com, freshleafuae.com

Medicinal effects of dill

Dill is used in folk medicine to treat digestive problems, including colic in infants. It is believed to reduce the accumulation of gas in the intestines and thus prevent painful bloating.

Scientific research has confirmed that dill is very rich in plant flavonoids. These reduce the risk of stroke and also support healthy brain function.

Dill also contains terpenes. Compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-cancer properties. A dill terpene called d-limonene has been shown in research to be very effective in treating lung and breast cancer.

The essential oils contained in dill have antibacterial effects. It can also kill potentially very harmful bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus. In the treatment of intestinal bacteria, dill is even as successful as conventional pharmaceuticals.

Dill is also a natural remedy for insomnia. It relieves stress, has a calming effect on the body and mind and thus improves the quality of sleep.

Vitamin content

Fresh dill is very low in calories but surprisingly rich in essential nutrients. A 100g serving of dill provides a large amount of protein (3.5g) and fiber (2.1g). It offers 154% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 142% of vitamin C. As for minerals, dill is a good source of calcium, iron and potassium.

Fennel seeds contain fewer vitamins but provide more protein, fiber and healthy fats. They are also rich in calcium, a 100 g serving of seeds provides the body with up to 150% of the recommended daily dose of calcium.

Fresh dill
100 g
Fresh dill
1 cup leaves (8.9 g)
Dill seeds
100 g
Energy value 43 kcal 3.83 kcal 305 calories
Proteins 3.46 g 0.31 g 16 g
Fats 1.12 g 0.1 g 14.5 g
Carbohydrates 7.02 g 0.63 g 55.2 g
Fiber 2.1 g 0.19 g 21.1 g
Calcium 208 mg 18.5 mg 1520 mg
Iron 6.59 mg 0.59 mg 16.3 mg
Potassium 738 mg 65.7 mg 1190 mg
Manganese 1.26 mg 0.112 mg 1.83 mg
Vitamin C 85 mg 7.56 mg 21 mg
Niacin 1.57 mg 0.14 mg 2.81 mg
Folate 150 μg 13.4 μg 10 μg
Vitamin A 7,720 IU 687 IU 53 IU

Dill is truly unique. As an ordinary herb, it surpasses even the healthiest fruits and vegetables in vitamin content, which is also evident in the following table:

Foods with the highest vitamin C content
Foods with the highest vitamin A content
Broccoli 89 mg Carrot 16,700 IU
Dill 85 mg Spinach 9,380 IU
Orange 71 mg Pumpkin 8,510 IU
Pineapple 47 mg Parsley 8,420 IU
Red currant 41 mg Dill 7,720 IU
Grapefruit 37 mg Chard 6,120 IU
Avocado 8.8 mg Watermelon 569 IU

What to combine dill with?

Dill goes well with fennel, celery, carrots, parsley, turnips, turnips, white and red cabbage and horseradish.

It is also excellent in combination with cucumber, corn, peas, lentils, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, sour cream, yogurt, white wine, apple and wine vinegar, rice, sesame and olive oil.

It is traditionally used to flavor fish, seafood, caviar, couscous, bulgur, poultry and lamb, eggs and cheese.

Dill in recipes

  • A traditional Czech dish that you either love or hate is dill sauce. The so-called dill is known across all generations, from school canteens to Sunday lunches at grandma’s. Get inspired by the top recipes for dill sauce and try the classic version with beef or egg, but also the lesser-known version without thickening with flour!

  • You certainly know the refreshing Greek cucumber dip. However, do you know that the original and true recipe for tzatziki does not contain any herbs, but only dill?

  • Another European classic is dill soup, which is quite similar to dill sauce in terms of (un)popularity. However, you can also add dill to other soups, for example , an honest fresh mushroom soup cannot do without it!

  • Not only the stems and leaves, but also the seeds can be used in the kitchen. Dried dill seeds are used as a spice to flavor pickles and preserves. You certainly know pickled pickles, but what about pickled spicy horns ?

Fresh vs. dried

Dried dill is available in every supermarket. Unlike other herbs, however, it is not more concentrated, on the contrary – it loses most of its aroma when dried. So you have to use more dried dill than you are used to with other herbs.

chopped fresh dill dried dill
0.5 tbsp 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon 2 teaspoons
1.5 tbsp 3 teaspoons
2 tbsp 4 teaspoons
Dried dill
source: es.gardenmanage.com

Seeds vs. leaves

The longer the leaves are cooked, the more flavor they lose. Add them to meals only at the last step of cooking, at the last moment and just before serving.

The complete opposite is dill seed, which needs to be heated first to develop its flavor and aroma. Ideally, first fry it violently in a pan and then add it to the dish.

Dill seeds
source: savispice.com

Dill storage

Fresh dill tends to wilt quickly. To keep it fresh for as long as possible, put the whole sprigs in a glass of water, cover the top with a bag and keep it in the fridge.

You can also freeze dill:

  1. Blend the leaves in a blender together with water (4 cups of fresh dill leaves to 0.5 cups of water).
  2. Pour the resulting soft paste into ice molds.
  3. You don’t have to thaw dill ice cubes before use, just add them to the pot or pan.

Dried is less aromatic, but it’s the easiest way to add a little dill flavor to recipes all year round.

  1. Tie whole sprigs of dill (stems including leaves) into smaller bundles, for example ten each.
  2. Leave these bundles hanging “head” down in a dry, well-ventilated place for 2 weeks.
  3. Separate the dried leaves from the stems and then chop them into smaller pieces. If they are dry enough, they can be crushed easily and quickly between your fingers.
  4. Store crushed dill in airtight containers, where it will keep tasty for up to a year.

Cultivation of dill

Dill is an unpretentious plant that grows almost like a weed. It is planted in the spring and in a place where it will grow all the time. Dill does not like root disturbance and transplanting.

It is not recommended to grow dill near fennel. The two plants like to interbreed, resulting in bad-tasting hybrids.

However, it is popularly grown near cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. It improves their growth because it repels pests with its scent.

Dill is harvested at the beginning of summer, as soon as the plant has at least five leaves. It is important to harvest dill continuously – the more leaves are harvested, the more new ones will grow.

If you let dill ripen, it will flower and produce seeds. If you don’t cut off the flowers early, dill will reproduce all over the garden by means of seeds, because it is a master of self-sowing.

The seeds can be harvested already at the beginning of August, when they ripen and have a brownish color. It is enough to cut off the whole flowers, turn them “head” up and knock the seeds out of them.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)