Dill Seeds… Great in Pickles and Beyond
Known for their role in one of our favorite foods—pickles, dill seeds are a popular herb or spice used to flavor other common foods.
The “seed” part is actually the whole fruit portion of the herb and is not to be confused with dill weed which has a different chemical makeup.
Cooking with Dill Seeds
Dill seeds are commonly used in European cuisine, often paired with parsley or chives and added to soup, milk, yogurt, and sour cream.
What are the best dishes for dill seeds? Well, that largely depends on where you’re from. Different European regions have their own take on dill, and here are some of the winners…
- Crayfish: Colloquially referred to as ‘crawdads’ in parts of the United States, crayfish is a popular dish in Scandinavian countries like Sweden. The top part of the dill, which is called krondill in Swedish, is used during the crayfish cooking process. It’s also used for the creation of cucumber pickles.
- Fish Pie: The UK is known for its fish and chips, so it’s not surprising that fish pie is a traditional British dish. Dill accompanies the hard-boiled eggs, prawns, and potatoes, adding a nice zest to the meal. It’s been used dating back to around 1100.
- Mizeria: This Polish salad is infused with fresh dill leaves mixed with sour cream to form a dressing, then topped off with freshly cut cucumbers that are immersed in the sauce. Dill leaves are the basis for making dill sauce.
- Lamb Meat: In Northern China, dill seeds are commonly used alongside pepper on lamb meat. Elsewhere in China, it’s used in tandem with coriander leaves.
Where Do Dill Seeds Come From?
Dill has been in existence since ancient times. It is a member of the carrot family, native to Mediterranean Europe as well as parts of southern Russia.
The herb’s healing roots are evident in its name. Dill comes from the Norwegian word “dilla,” which means ‘to soothe.’ In addition to being a culinary staple, dill is often used for medicinal purposes.
The entire plant is known as dill weed, while the individual seed heads are the dill seeds we know and love.
Planting Dill Seeds
Ideal climatic conditions for growing dill are environments with long, sunny days and mild to cool weather, which is why the Eurasian summer months fit the bill. Even if dill is exposed to partial shade, it could be enough to tarnish the yield significantly.
Seeds are generally okay for up to ten years. To harvest them, simply cut the flower heads off of the stalks as soon as the seed begins ripening.
Where We Get Our Dill Seeds
Our dill is harvested throughout the year from multiple locations throughout Eastern Europe. Latvia and Estonia are the perfect cool temperate climates for cultivation, as these regions have been involved in the dill harvesting process for hundreds of years.
Estonia’s close proximity to Finland and Sweden means there is plenty of cultural overlap in terms of how each nation infuses dill seeds into their culinary workflow.