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  • Writer's pictureJon Mychal Heatherly

Dill: The Herb that Flavors Pickles

Updated: May 10

  • Elephant Dill

  • Garden Dill

Grow it!    Cook it!    Learn the History.  A delicate, anise flavor

Native to Eurasia, gardeners cultivate dill to season sauces, fermented foods, meats, and starches. A member of the celery family, graveolens is the only member of the genus Anethum — also known as dillweed. Dill, for short, contains trace nutrients and is used in folk medicine to treat stomach symptoms or flatulence.

Eastern European and Nordic cuisine includes a lot of dill. Often used as a garnish, fresh dill packs a more robust flavor than dried. Mix with buttermilk or sour cream as a base for a classic ranch dressing.

Scientific name: Anethum graveolens (same family as parsley and celery) Tastes: citrusy, grassy, anise-like Uses: pickling, sauces, flavor light meats and starches, homeopathy


The earliest known record of dill as a medicinal herb was found in Egypt 5,000 years ago, when the plant was referred to as a “soothing medicine.” The word dill comes from the old Norse word dylla, meaning to soothe or lull. Around 3,000 B.C.E. the Babylonians were known to have grown dill in their gardens. Dill was also a widely used and familiar plant in the Greek culture.


In zone 7, we plant dill in the late spring and count on it coming back year after year. Plants grow 3 feet tall and spread wide 1 to 2 feet. Create a permanent bed by allowing dill to mature and self-seed. Dill should be planted in a permanent bed since it does not transplant easily due to the long taproot. You can plant new seeds every few weeks to ensure an ample supply all summer and to prepare for pickling season. Dill attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs, praying mantises, and wasps that deter pests like aphids and cabbage moths. It's a good companion plant for vegetable gardens. In late summer, Dill also serves as a host plant for Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies to lay eggs on.


Check out this recipe from Once Upon A Quick and Easy Refridgerator Pickles

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