Guide To Herbs Day 4: Dill

It's herb guide time at Food Republic. We kicked off our Guide To Herbs with a Prelude to the Food Republic Guide To Herbs, visited the oft-overlooked parsley, lavished some love on basil, and talked up the fragrant rosemary. Today we are looking at the airy and aromatic dill.

When you hear the word "dill," you probably think "pickles." While this wispy herb has forever lent its name to preserved cucumbers, it also has myriad other uses, such as in cured salmon—gravlax or lox—and in borscht, potato-leek soup, and other Eastern European favorites. Aside from its long-term partnership with cukes, dill likes fish, especially oily ones like salmon. Whether it's poached filet or grilled salmon with dill butter, this herb adds complexity with its subtle licorice, herbaceous, and damp, earthy flavors.

Dill grows easily in the garden throughout the warm summer months and can be used in seasonal salads and chilled soups. As with many fresh herbs, once harvested, dill begins to wilt. If you are buying in the grocery store avoid any bunches that are already yellow or drooping. For the best storage you can wrap fresh dill in a damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag in your fridge. You can also trim the stems about a ¼ inch and place into a glass of water, cover with a damp paper towel and store in the fridge. Either technique will keep your dill fresh for about a week. Dill can also be frozen for extended storage time: Simply place dill into a freezer-safe bag and you can keep in the freezer for up to two months.

When cooking with this delicate herb, it is best to add it in towards the end of the cooking process to maintain maximum flavor. If substituting dried dillweed for fresh, use one tablespoon of fresh to one teaspoon of dry, though fresh is recommended. Dried dill is best used only for pickling and brining.

What's your favorite way to use dill? Let us know in the comments?

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