Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a short-lived perennial herb. It is the
sole species of the genus Anethum, though classified by some botanists in
a related genus as Peucedanum graveolens (L.) C.B.Clarke. Dill originated in Eastern Europe. Zohary
and Hopf remark that "wild and weedy types of dill are widespread in the
Mediterranean basin and in West Asia."
Although several twigs of dill were found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, they report that the earliest archeological evidence for its cultivation comes from late Neolithic lake shore settlements in Switzerland. Traces have been found in Roman ruins in Great Britain.
In Semitic languages it is known by the name of Shubit. The Talmud requires that tithes shall be paid on the seeds, leaves, and stem of dill. The Bible states that the Pharisees were in the habit of paying dill as tithe. Jesus rebuked them for tithing dill but omitting justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as gravlax (cured salmon), borscht and other soups, and pickles (where the dill flower is sometimes used). Dill is said to be best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months.
Dill seed is used as a spice, with a flavor somewhat similar to caraway, but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed. Dill seeds were traditionally used to soothe the stomach after meals. And, dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant.
In arabic(palestinian) dill seed is called ain jaradeh(means cricket eye) used as a spice in cold dishes like fattosh and pickles. In Lao cuisine and parts of northern Thailand and Vietnam dill is known in English as Laotian coriander and Lao cilantro (Lao: ຜັກຊີ, Thai: ผักชีลาว, Vietnamese: Thì là). In the Lao language it is called Phak See and in Thai it is known as Phak Chee Lao. In Lao cuisine, the herb is typically used in mok pa (steamed fish in banana leaf) and several coconut milk-based curries that contain fish or prawns. Lao coriander is also an essential ingredient in Vietnamese dishes like chả cá and canh cá thì là.
In Gujarat,India, Dill ( Suva bhaji ) is made with or without any pulse ( like yellow Moong dal ) as a main course meal dish. Since Suva bhaji is naturally little salty , care should be taken to add little less salt. Suva ( Dill) has very good Anti-Gas property and hence it's used as mukhwas ( after meal digestive ) and specially given to mothers as a post child born maternity care tradition.
Successful cultivation requires warm to hot summers with high sunshine levels; even partial shade will reduce the yield substantially. It also prefers rich, well drained soil. The seeds are viable for 3–10 years. Plants intended for seed for further planting should not be grown near fennel, as the two species can hybridise.
The seed is harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seed is beginning to ripen. The seed heads are placed upside down in a paper bag and left in a warm dry place for a week. The seeds then separate from the stems easily for storage in an airtight container.
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