Dill Seed And Weed in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Dill is a tall, feathery annual, Anethum graveolens, in the parsley family. Both Dill Seed and Weed (dried leaves) come from the same plant.
Dill Seed and Dill Weed are not good substitutions for each other. The seed has a camphorous, slightly bitter flavor, and the weed has a delicate flavor. Dill Seed is good sprinkled over casseroles before baking and used in salad dressings. Dill Weed, with its delicate flavor, enhances fish, shellfish, vegatables, and dips. Dill Seed and Weed are widely used in pickling as well as in German, Russian, and Scandinavian dishes.
The Dill Seed flavor is clean, pungent, and reminiscent of caraway. Dill Weed has a similar but mellower and fresher flavor.
Dill is indigenous to the Mediterranean area and southern Russia. It has been used since ancient times. Babylonian and Syrian herbalists used it, and Romans thought it was an effective stimulant for gladiators. Although native to the Mediterranean region, it became a staple in northern Europe where it is still popular. In fact, the name is derived from the old Norse word "dilla" meaning "to lull" because it was used to lull babies to sleep, and as an antidote to witchcraft and sorcery. Dill Weed is currently gaining popularity in North America.
Dill is also reputed to cure hiccups, stomach aches, insomnia, and bad breath. Dill's most famous culinary use - the Dill pickle - is at least 400 years old.