Harvesting and trimming dill without killing it-Dill is a great addition to many dishes, like potato salad, dill pickles, creamy yogurt dressing, and carrot soup. It also makes other herbs taste better, which makes it an essential spice for any herb garden.
Dill is the right herb for you if you want to add fresh, sweet, and grassy notes to any dish to make it taste better. We won’t be talking about dill recipes and how to cook with dill in this post, but if you’re looking for ideas, here’s a simple and tasty ranch dip recipe that uses dill.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to harvest, dry, freeze, and store fresh dill, so let’s get started!
Dill, which is also called “dill weed,” is a common herb and spice that comes from Europe and Asia but can be found all over the world.
Dill has thin, hollow stems with green leaves that look like feathers. Its seeds are flat and brown, and they taste a little bit like lemon. They smell better than the leaves, but the leaves also have a strong taste and smell, especially when they are just picked. Dill has a sweet, grassy taste that adds a touch of freshness to any dish you put it in.
Dill is a cool-season herb, which means that it grows best in the fall and winter. Depending on where you grow it, you may be able to get dill all year long, which means you can always use it in its freshest, most flavorful form.
If you want to grow dill in your garden this year, here’s what you need to know about how to pick, store, and use it.
How to Pick the Dill
Dill is an easy herb to harvest, and you can do it over and over again throughout the season because it grows so quickly. The seeds and leaves are full of flavor, so you can use them in any recipe to make it better.
No matter how much you know about gardening or how long you’ve been doing it, you can always have fresh dill on hand as long as you harvest it the right way.
Here are the most important steps to take when harvesting dill:
Allow it to grow.
A lot of dill grows quickly. Wait 4–8 weeks, or until the dill plants are at least 6” tall, after planting. Then find the largest, outermost leaves and get ready to pick them. If you have a lot of dill in your garden and don’t want to use the older leaves, take the younger leaves first.
Before picking, you need to water the plant.
You should water your dill a day before you want to pick it to make sure that the plants stay moist. This will help them return to normal after trimming and grow new leaves immediately.
Cut the leaves down.
Use scissors to cut the leaf stems right where they meet the growing point on the main stem. You can also do this by hand by pinching off the stems. This works best if the stems are young and soft.
Take too much from the plants.
Don’t take more than a quarter to a third of the leaves. This will let new leaves grow so that you can keep harvesting. If you cut off too much, the plant might not be able to heal and grow new leaves as quickly, so you might have to wait a little longer for the next harvest.
As we’ve already said, dill grows quickly, but it takes about 4–8 weeks for it to be ready to harvest. But if your dill plant has at least four to five leaves, you can start harvesting. Just don’t take more than a third of the plant at a time.
Note: If you use fresh dill more often than your plants can keep up with, you might want to plant more of it. You can even have fresh dill all year long if you let some of the plants flower, set seed, and make a permanent patch of dill in your garden.
Now that we’ve gone over everything there is to know about harvesting dill, let’s talk about the best ways to store it, both for the short term and the long term, so that it keeps its flavor longer and can be used for a longer time.
Here’s more on How to Trim Dill.
How to Keep Dill Fresh
Once it’s picked, dill weed quickly wilts and starts to lose its distinctive taste and smell. But this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you know how to store freshly picked dill the right way.
Here are two easy and simple ways to do it:
Put it in the crisper drawer of the fridge:
Wrap the leaves loosely in damp kitchen towels and put them in a bag or container with a lid. Put the container in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator, which has less humidity than the rest of the fridge. Use the herbs within a few days, or before they start to wilt and dry out.
Put it in water: When you harvest the herb, you’ll need to cut off the whole stems for this method to work. Once the stems have been picked, put them in a glass of water and put a plastic bag over the top. Every day, change the water. Dill leaves can stay fresh like this for up to a week.
How to Keep Fresh Dill Fresh
If you have more dill than you can use right away or in a few days, freezing it is the best way to keep it for a long time. The easiest and best way to freeze dill is to cut it up into small pieces, put it in ice cube trays, and add just enough water to cover the finely chopped dill. This way, the herbs can last up to 4 months or even longer, so you can always have dill on hand when a recipe calls for it.
How to Make Dill Dry
If you are looking for another way to store dill for a long time, drying it after it has been picked is a common method. Even though the herb won’t have as much flavor as when it’s fresh or frozen, it can still be used in a lot of ways. You can use it all year long to make tea or as a herb in food.
If you don’t want to lose a lot of flavor, hang-dry the food. This method is easy to follow. Take a few dill leaves, tie them together with a string, and hang them upside down in a place with good air flow.
Once they are dry and crumbly, put them in a container that won’t let air in. Even though fresh dill is always better, save some of it for later use, especially if you don’t have an indoor spice and herb garden that you can keep all year.