Grown for its feathery fronds and pungent seeds, dill has a bright but warm flavor and aroma that is unmistakable. Dill is used in a wide variety of cuisines as diverse as Scandinavian and Middle Eastern. It is essential to the classic dill pickle and Russian borscht.
Dill is native to southern Russia, western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. It has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes as well as culinary purposes. The first recorded use of dill was in Egypt 5,000 years ago. It was most commonly used to ease stomach and digestive pains. The use of dill in pickling dates back at least to 1680.
The dill plant is a member of the parsley family. It can be easily grown from seed and should not be transplanted. It is an annual but can self seed if flowerheads are left to go to seed. Both the delicate fronds and dried seeds can be harvested and used.
Fresh dill is a wonderful addition to sour cream and yogurt dips. It also pairs nicely with light flavors like fish and seafood. It is also used to flavor rice, and beans. Dill seeds are used in pickling and in baking.