Dill is one of the most widely used herbs in the culinary world. It is harvested for its frond-like leaves and flavor-packed dill seeds. When used in soups or stews, it adds a punch of flavor to the recipe. It is often used in seafood dishes, salads, yogurt sauces, and even bread. Many people use dill as a garnish or for pickling. All in all, knowing how to harvest dill can take your ordinary recipes to the next level.
The best part is that growing dill and harvesting it is super easy. Harvesting the plant properly can guarantee a continuous supply of dill herb all year round. Since dill is self-seeding, you can even create a permanent dill patch in your garden by allowing the plants to flower and set seed.
Whether you are a seasoned gardener or an amateur, you can grow dill for harvesting in your very own garden. Once harvested, fresh dill weed can last a long time when stored properly. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about harvesting and storing dill weed and seeds.
When Should I Harvest Dill?
While you can pick dill leaves at virtually any time, the best time for dill weed is just before the plants start to flower. That’s when the oil in the leaves is most potent and it has the best flavor. If you want to extend the harvest on your growing dill weed, prevent the plants from flowering and going to seed.
Generally, it is recommended to choose a dry day to pick herbs, including dill. Start early and pick dill weed in the morning just as the dew from the night evaporates from the plant, but before the weather gets too hot.
As dill grows rather quickly, the leaves are ready for use in 6 to 8 weeks after planting. You can start harvesting your dill as soon as it has at least four to five leaves, but never take more than a third of the plant at a time. This helps your plant to regrow. If you need to use fresh dill more often, consider planting dill in larger quantities.
If you plan on harvesting the seeds, you’ll need to let some of your dill plants go to seed. Once they begin to flower, you may still harvest herbs from them, but the flavor changes. Those flower heads are essential as that’s where the seed forms.
How To Harvest Dill
While harvesting dill plant is easy, it is still a very crucial process as plant growth and foliage production depend on it. Snipping off too much dill weed can reduce the plant’s ability to recover quickly from the trimming. Take older leaves first unless you have a lot of dill. Use a pair of sharp and sterile scissors for snipping the leaves.
Always water your dill plant a day before harvesting dill. Doing so will make sure that the plants are well hydrated and recover quickly. If you’re watering overhead, it will also clean the herb so that you don’t have to wash it before use.
How To Harvest Dill Seeds
Dill seeds are around 4 to 5mm long and appear after the flowers fade. If you want to collect dill seeds, wait until the flowers have set seeds and those seeds start to turn brown. This is a good indication that the seeds are ready to harvest.
Place a paper bag carefully over the flower heads where the seeds are. You may need to bend the stem to make sure you don’t drop too many seeds. Then, snip through the bent point on the stem, letting the seed head fall into the bag. Repeat until you’ve collected as many as you’d like to, then place the bag somewhere to allow the heads to dry.
Once dried, crush the seed heads between your hands, breaking them up to release all the seed. Pour your herb and seed onto a flat surface, then lightly blow on it to remove the chaff from the seeds.
How To Store Fresh Dill Weed
Harvested herbs wilt quickly. However, it shouldn’t be a problem if you use it quickly or know how to store your dill properly.
To store dill fresh, wrap the stems loosely in damp paper towels. Once wrapped, place the stems in a sealable plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Stored this way, the herbs will last for a few days without losing any flavor.
You can also store dill herb in water if you cut full stems. Place the cut end of the stem in about an inch of water in a jar. Place a plastic bag overtop to act like a humidifier, and place in the refrigerator. Change the water daily. You should be able to store your fresh dill plant cuttings for up to a week without severe wilting of the dill leaves or flavor loss.
Finally, freeze dill weed for long-term storage. Wash the harvested leaves before chopping and transferring them to ice cube trays. Fill the cubes with just enough water to cover the freshly-minced herb. Once frozen solid, remove from the tray and store in a freezer-safe plastic bag. Frozen dill herbs will last for up to 3 to 4 months.
How To Dry Dill
Another way to store dill for a long time is to dry it. Keep in mind that dried dill is not as flavorful as frozen or fresh dill, especially if heat is used to dry the dill weed. The hottest temperature you should dry dill at is 110°F. A better approach is to hang-dry, but an air-only dehydrator or box fan drying method can also be used.
To hang-dry dill, take a couple of stems and bunch them together using a string. Tie them upside down in a well-ventilated area. Once the leaves are dry and crumble at a touch, store your dill herbs in a glass jar. Dried dill is best used within a year of storing.
The Green Thumbs Behind This Article: