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Last Updated on August 30, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster
I absolutely love fresh dill, however, I hate buying it at the grocery store. Do you know how much dill I usually use in my recipes? About a tablespoon. Do you know how big a bunch of dill is at the store? HUGE! Usually, when I buy a bunch of fresh dill I am left with a ton that just ends up being thrown away. If you learn how to grow dill at home, you can save yourself a ton of money. Of course, since you have a huge amount of it right at your fingertips, you will need to come up with a ton of ways to use fresh dill before it goes to flower in the late summer. I thought I would share some dill growing tips and a few fresh dill recipes to help you use it all up!
Health Benefits of Dill
You may just think of dill as a flavorful herb or a way to make your pickles taste good but it is so much more than that. There are actually many health benefits of dill that you should know. I am always happy to find new ways to boost nutrition and treat health problems naturally. Fresh dill may help you:
- Reduce Menstrual Cramps
- Reduce Depression
- Lower Cholesterol
- Repel Bugs
- Aid in Digestion
- Protect Against Free Radicals
One of the health benefits of dill that I was interested to read about was that fresh dill may have antimicrobial benefits. It also has some nutritional value as well. Fresh dill contains a significant amount of vitamin A and C, as well as trace amounts of folate, iron, and manganese. Check out WebMD for more dill benefits and side effects if you are curious about the health benefits of dill and if there are any precautions surrounding it.
How to Grow Dill
So, now that you know all the amazing health benefits of dill, how do you grow it? Well, that depends on exactly WHERE you want to grow dill! You can put it in the garden or grow dill in containers on your patio. You can also learn how to grow dill indoors if you live in an apartment without a patio to put it on. When it goes to flower in the late summer, it is great for attracting butterflies! Here are a few tips to help you get started.
How to grow dill in the garden:
If you are growing dill from seed, sow dill seeds about ¼-inch deep and 18 inches apart in rich soil. Gently rake the seeds into the soil so that they are barely covered. Unfortunately, dill weed does not grow well when transplanted, so you aren't going to want to move it once it starts growing. Start the dill seeds right in the garden soil in early summer and do not move them. You should see sprouting in about 2 weeks. Make sure you keep the seeds and soil damp but not wet. Dill weed will want full sun and plenty of well drained soil that gets watered regularly. If you’re planting dill for pickling, plant it every few weeks into midsummer. That way you have a constant supply!
Growing dill in containers:
Growing dill in containers is beneficial if you don't have space for a garden bed. I grow my dill in pots on the patio so that I don't have to go far to snip some off to use it! You will need a pot that is one to two feet deep. You can sow dill seeds right into the soil. Choose potting mix rather than garden soil since it will drain better. Make sure you have drainage holes in the bottom of your pot or your dill will get soggy. Growing fresh dill is fairly simple. It likes most types of soil, however, it prefers a slightly acidic pH and you need to make sure it is well drained. You can get a soil pH meter if you want to check the soil's acidity.
How to grow dill indoors:
The best time to plant dill inside is between October and early spring. This will mean your dill plant is thriving when the weather grows warmer if you decide to put it outside. Plant dill seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep in a well drained, rich soil. Make sure you use potting mix or add sand or perlite to it so the soil will properly drain after watering. Place it in a well lit window and let the soil dry out slightly between watering. It will not thrive like it does outdoors but you should be able to grow dill indoors if you only want a small amount. Like most herbs, growing dill is easiest in full sun with the heat of summer.
How to Prune, Harvest, and Grow Dill
Knowing how to grow dill will keep you in a steady supply all summer, however, you can't plant it and ignore it. Check out the video below to learn how to prun, harvest, and grow dill from The Patio Gardeners.
How to Preserve Dill
If you are going to learn how to grow dill, you will have a steady supply of it. In fact, you will have WAY more fresh dill than you can ever probably use, no matter how many fresh dill recipes you find. You will need to learn how to preserve dill so that you can store it all year without it going to waste. Check out my post on herb and spice storage tips.
- Freezing dill: Wash fresh dill in cold water. Shake dry and lay the sprigs on a cookie sheet. Place it into the freezer for a few hours. When the dill is frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag and return it to the freezer. You can also freeze dill in ice cube trays. Wash, dry. and chop it. Place a tablespoon or two in the bottom of an ice cube tray. Cover it with water and freeze. You can pop the cubes out when they are frozen and place in a large plastic bag in the freezer for longer storage.
- How to dry fresh dill: Your best bet to dry fresh dill is to put it in a food dehydrator. Once it is dry (this only takes about a day), you can place it in plastic storage containers for longer storage. Just make sure you keep it out of direct sunlight and store it in a slightly cool area.
- Use it in homemade vinegars: If you place fresh dill in vinegar, you can leave it at room temperature and have a delicious dill flavored vinegar to use in a few months in potato salad!
Ways to Use Fresh Dill Besides Homemade Pickles
There are many ways to use fresh dill besides making homemade pickles. It is a relatively strong flavored herb so you don't need a lot of it to make a big impact. Fresh dill is much more flavorful than preserved dill, however, so you are better off using it fresh if you can. Here are some creative ways to use fresh dill:
- Cold Soups: Use fresh dill in any cold soup featuring cucumbers or yogurt
- As a garish: One of the ways to use fresh dill that I really love is to use it as a garnish on just about any dish. A small sprig of dill can add a beautiful aroma when used as a garnish.
- Dill is delicious in salads. It is the key ingredient that gives homemade ranch dressing its unique flavor. You can make ranch dressing with fresh dill or used dried dill for a homemade ranch dressing seasoning mix that you can store in your pantry.
- Seafood dishes: The flavor of fresh dill pairs well with fresh seafood. Check out salmon appetizer recipe with fresh dill!
Fresh Dill Recipes
There are so many fresh dill recipes besides homemade pickles. Check out a few of the ones below if you have a too much dill on your hands!
- Homemade Tzatziki Sauce (a Greek cucumber salad)
- Salmon with Lemon Mustard Dill Sauce
- Dill Pickle Dip Recipe
- Skillet Dill and Cheddar Buttermilk Scones
- German Cucumber Salad Recipe – Gurkensalat
- Cheddar and Herb Stuffed Mini Peppers Appetizer
- Roasted Fresh Beets
Learning how to grow fresh dill this summer will save you money at the grocery store. I have also found that growing fresh herbs is a great way to encourage yourself to expand your pallet when it comes to cooking. And using fresh herbs isn't limited to your food. You can use many of them in beauty products as well.
Do you grow dill in your garden?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.