(Anethum graveolens )
Plant family: Apiaceae (parsley family)
Origin: Central Asia.
Used plant part: Fruit (best crushed before use). The fresh herb is
also aromatic, but loses much of its delicate flavour after drying.
Sensoric quality: Sweet and aromatic, anise-like flavour.
Use: The characteristic, sweet taste of dill is popular all over
Europe, Western, Central and Southern Asia. In Europe, it is mostly
used for bread, vegetable (especially cucumber), pickles, and fish;
for the last application, the leaves are preferred. Furthermore, it
is indispensable for herb flavoured vinegars.
In North Eastern Eastern Europe and Russia, dill is popular for
pickled vegetables, which are there produced in great variety,
either by pickling in vinegar or by lactic fermentation. Fresh dill
sprigs are mandatory in most recipes of that kind.
Fresh dill leaves (dillweed) is a kind of national spice in
Scandinavian countries, where fish or shellfish dishes are usually
either directly flavoured with dill or served together with sauces
containing dill. German cooks also tend to use dill mostly for fish
soups and stews. Dill reached the Northern latitudes probably via
medieval monasteries, where it was grown as a medicinal herb
according to the Capitulare de villis .
All parts of the dill plant are strongly aromatic. Dill has,
however, retained its popularity in its original homeland, Asia.