The thread-like, feathery leaves of the dill plant make it easy to spot the herb growing in the garden. A member of the botanical family Umbelliferae, dill is related to carrots and parsley. In ancient civilizations, this herb was so prized that it was even accepted as a means of payment. Today, the leaves and the seeds of dill are highly valued both for their culinary appeal. The essential oils found in dill seeds make it a versatile naturopathic remedy, especially for stomach and intestinal problems, mild insomnia, nervous ailments, flatulence and heartburn. Moreover, dill is widely prescribed for many diseases of the liver and gallbladder and is often recommended to treat gastric problems in children because of its mild but effective action. In the kitchen, this familiar herb becomes a flavorful addition to many dishes, nicely accenting fish and poultry, as well as potatoes, cucumber and cheese.
- The essential oils in dill help calm a nervous stomach and alleviate bloating, flatulence and some liver and gall bladder ailments.
- They also kill intestinal bacteria that can cause diarrhea.
- A tea made from dill seeds stimulates milk production in nursing mothers and soothes colic in babies.
- Eat dill in moderation, however, because excess amounts can impede kidney functioning
- Dill leaves contain some vitamin C, folic acid, beta-carotene and potassium.
- The seeds are rich in calcium and iron and provide some dietary fiber.The curative effect of the seeds is greater than that of the leaves because the seeds contain more essential oils.
- The oils are also responsible for dill's flavor, which is similar to that of fennel-spicy and a little sweet.
- To make a natural sleep aid, pour boiling water over 1 teaspoon of crushed dill seed and 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs; steep and strain. Drink this soothing liquid before bedtime.
- Dill seeds make excellent breath fresheners. The essential oils disinfect the mouth, helping to kill the bacteria that contribute to bad breath. Chew on a small amount of seeds between meals.
- Freshly cut dill can be stored in perforated foil fouches in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. When frozen, dill completely retains its flavor and aroma.
- Dried dill is frequently used to pickle cucumbers, cabbage and other vegetable s and to flavor steamed vegetables. Because dill loses much of its flavor in drying, dill in its dried form must be used in much greater quantities than when fresh.
- Fresh dill makes a tasty vinegar. Pour 1 qt. of white wine over 2 oz. of fresh dill; let stand for 3-4 weeks.
- Dill adds zip to mayonnaise. Blend some mayonnaise with dill seeds or fresh dill, a few drops of lemon juice, black pepper and a little mustard.
- Dill leaves or seeds can prevent bloating. They are an ideal addition to cabbage dishes because dill can prevent the bloating that cabbage causes.