We all know that dill pairs fabulously with pickles, but most of us probably aren't aware of all the benefits that this tangy, fern-like herb can provide us with. Let's just say that after you're done reading this, I wouldn't be surprised if you were to grab for dill the next time that you have digestive issues, trouble sleeping or if you need to soothe a colicky baby.
A dieters dream, dill contains just 43 calories for every 3.5 ounces. That same amount has 3.5 grams of protein and just 1 gram of fat. It contains over 150 percent of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin A (beneficial for eye health) and it contains more than 100 percent of your daily need for vitamin C to boost your immune system. Dill also boasts significant amounts of manganese, folate, iron, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants that help remove free radicals from your body. Be sure to choose the brightest green dill as it's the most nutritious.
Dill is considered to be a carminative, meaning that it can help to calm and relieve intestinal gas. The oils within this herb stimulate the release of bile and digestive juices to break down your food into nutrients. Dill also has antibiotic properties, so it will aid in killing off any foreign organisms within your body and help with diarrhea problems.
You might consider adding a container of dill to the gift you may give to a new mom, as a weak tea made from dill seeds and water can help ease colic as well as get rid of hiccups and promote sleep for infants. Dill also promotes lactation in nursing moms.
Just a tablespoon of dill seeds contains as much calcium as one-third of a glass of milk. This helps protect you from bone loss and also makes an excellent source of calcium for vegans and people who are allergic to dairy.
The essential oils in dill are quite unusual as they are both stimulating and sedative at the same time. The B vitamins and flavonoids stimulate certain enzymes and hormones which ultimately help you to relax. So enjoy a cup of dill and chamomile tea and you'll quickly drift off to dreamland.
Compounds called monoterpenes in the essential oils of dill help to clear up congestion and can also help tame allergies.
Dill can also help to tame jaundice, headaches, liver problems and nausea. It can promote oral health, enhance the libido and ease menstrual cramps.
Fresh dill can be kept for about a week in your refrigerator's crisper drawer. Lightly spray it with water, then gently wrap it in paper towels and put in in a plastic bag. You can also freeze it for up to two months. Although it will change color, the taste will remain the same.
Dry dill should be kept in a cool, dry, dark environment and is best kept for six months or less as it looses its flavor quickly. Dill seeds can last for months and work great when steeped in water to make tea.
Cooking with Dill
Dill is used in a number of soups and fish dishes within many countries around the world including Russia, Sweden, Thailand, Laos, Hungary and Vietnam. It's of course a staple in making dill pickles, and also tastes great in herb breads. You can add it to dips, sauces and salads for a huge nutritional boost.
One of my favorite things to pair dill with is salmon. These Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rolls are a delightful light, summery appetizer for guests. I love to also whip up an simple dill yogurt sauce that tastes delicious when drizzled on these rolls or on top of a piece of baked salmon. I simply mix together about a half cup of full fat organic yogurt with a squeeze of lemon, a few pinches of freshly chopped dill, a bit of salt and a dash of hot sauce. If your yogurt of choice is on the thicker side, this also works wonderfully as a veggie dip!