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Dill averages 90 cm tall with wispy fern-life leaves. The lacy yellow flowers grow in flat-topped clusters called umbels. The blossoms have a fresh sour characteristic much like the herb itself and the dill pickles that they are synonymous. Their flavor profile is a cross of lemon and parsley with mild anise notes. The blossoms have a sweet honeyed finish and a pleasant crunchy texture that pops.
Dill blossoms are available spring through summer.
Dill, dill weed, or Anethum graveolens, is a quickly growing herbaceous annual that completes its life cycle in as little as two months. With staggered plantings and regular trimmings the dill plant can continue producing blossoms into early fall. Dill leaves, seeds and flowers are entirely edible and commonly found in Scandinavian, Russian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Dill flowers are rich in carotene. Extracts of dill have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties as well as antioxidants called flavonoids which counteract free radicals in the body. Dill is often given to nursing mothers to increase lactation.
Dill blossoms may be used alongside dill the herb in most recipes. They are more robust than the leaves, but are far milder than the seeds and should always be used fresh. Their clean flavor elevates earthy ingredients like beets, potatoes, cabbage, and mushrooms. They bring out the natural sweetness of cucumber, tomato, salmon, eggs and yogurt. The flowers often enhance the brine of pickled vegetables, but also make delicious and beautiful pickles themselves perfect for adding to a bloody mary, dirty martini or a charcuterie plate. Infuse the flowers with lemon, anise, fennel and caraway in a neutral grain spirit for homemade aquavit.
Evidence of dill used as a culinary herb and medicine stretch from Roman ruins in Great Britain to 5000 year old Egyptian artifacts. It was a Grecian sleep aid and aphrodisiac as well as a protector against witchcraft in the Middle ages. In India Ayurvedic medicine regularly subscribes dill for digestive maladies.
Dill is indigenous to the Mediterranean and central Asia where it is still common in dishes of Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Iran and Russia. Today it can be found growing in any summer herb garden and thrives in full sun and rich well-drained soils. Dill’s feathery leaves are commonly confused for fennel, but should be kept separate in the garden due to the tendency for cross-pollination.
Recipes that include Dill Blossoms. One is easiest, three is harder.
|In Sock Monkey Slippers||Watercress Soup with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Crema|
|Princess Tofu||Deep Fried Dill Blossoms with Lemon Yogurt, Za’atar|
|Stir and Strain||Aquavit and Dill Bloody Mary|
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