(Anethum graveolens) is a fennellike annual or biennial herb of the
parsley family. Native to Mediterranean countries and southeastern
Europe, dill is now widely cultivated in Europe, India, and North
America. The name dill comes from an Old Norse word, dilla, meaning
"lull" since they used it to quiet crying babies. Dill was widely
used in Greek and Roman times. In the Middle Ages it was thought to
have magical properties and was used in witchcraft, love potions and
as an aphrodisiac. The whole plant is aromatic. The young leaves and
the fully developed green fruit are used for flavoring purposes.
to Southern Europe and Western Asia, dill grows wild in Spain, Portugal
and Italy. It is now cultivated in India, Germany, Rumania, and England
and to some extent in North and South America as a commercial crop.
is an annual herb of parsley family, 45-75 cm in height, with finely
feathered blue-green fern-like leaves and hollow stems. It produces
small open umbels of creamy-yellow flowers in summer followed by dark
brown seeds. The fruit, or seed, is broadly oval in shape, about 0.14
inch (3.5 mm) long, with three longitudinal dorsal ridges and two
wing-like lateral ridges.
seeds should be planted in rows at the rate of 15 to 20 to the foot
either late in fall or early in spring and thinned to 3 or 4 plants
per foot. If dill is planted along the north side of the garden, the
shading of smaller plants will be avoided. Germination takes place
in 10 days to 2 weeks if seeds are sown in spring; fall-sown seeds
do not germinate until early in spring. In good soil the plants will
grow 3 to 4 feet in height, and only light cultivation is necessary
to control weeds. The fruiting umbels are ready to harvest for seasoning
when the fruit is fully developed but not yet brown. The seed is the
ripe fruit of the plant, actually formed by two united carpels. The
leaves are used only in the fresh state, but the fruiting tops may
be used either fresh or dried. A few plants should be justify to mature
seed for planting. The umbels may be dried on screens in the shade
and stored in closed containers for winter use, but the leaves lose
their pleasing flavor when dried.
seed contains 2 - 5% volatile oil. Its main constituent is carvone
and the other components are d-limonene and phellandrene. A recent
study also found eugenol and vanillin present in the seed. Dill weed
or leaves contains 0.3 - 1.5% volatile oil, the chief constituent
also being carvone.
is used as a condiment and flavouring and as a pickling spice. It
is used to season foods, particularly in eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
The entire plant is aromatic, and the small stems and immature umbels
are used for flavouring soups, salads, sauces, fish, sandwich fillings,
and particularly pickles. The leaves freshly chopped may be used alone
or in dill butter for broiled or fried meats and fish, in sandwiches,
in fish sauces, and in creamed or fricasseed chicken. The major commercial
use of dill is in the form of dillweed oil, used in the pickle industry.
Dill has a warm, slightly sharp flavour somewhat reminiscent of caraway.
whole seeds and the seed oil have carminative properties and have
been used in treating flatulent colic. Often taken as 'dill water'
to relieve digestive problems and flatulence. It is used widely to
cure insomnia and hiccups. Occasionally dill is used to perfume cosmetics.
A medicinal oil is distilled from leaves, stems and seeds.