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Dill Seeds

Derived from an aromatic herb called Anethum graveolens, dill seeds are native to Europe and is grown widely in the region. The dill plant is a member of the same family as the carrot, anise, celery, chervil, parsnip, parsley, fennel, and coriander. The tan colored and flattened dill seed is, in actual fact, the dried fruit of the herb. The dill seeds are light brown in color, winged and oval in shape, having one flattened side, along with two ridges. The convex side of the seeds have three ridges and oil channels each. The aromatic seeds measure around 3.5 mm (0.15 inches) in length.

Dill seed is largely used as a spice and has a great resemblance to the dill weed in flavor. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the dill plant. It is the seeds which contain the essential oil known as

carvone. It is considered an excellent remedy for stomach related disorders and acts as an effective stimulant. It is the dill leaves which contain the characteristic flavors and these are much more stronger and bitter in flavor than the other plant parts.

To bring out the flavor of the dill seed, a heating process is utilized and this renders it more strong and pungent in taste as compared to the dill leaves. The aroma of the dill seeds resembles the mixture of the anise and celery but is a much more stronger concoction. The bitter flavor of the dill seeds lends it a taste similar to the caraway. The dill seeds are ideal for preparing sauces, tomato juices, salad dressings, breads, fish dishes, soups, pickles and medicines. They also blend well with mustard and

coriander. The leaves and stalks, further, lend it a distinct aroma and the seeds are either used fresh or pickled for later consumption. Dill seeds are best used when fresh or else are frozen and dried to preserve its natural quality.

Few Historical Facts
The word "dill " is derived form the Norse word "dilla". It means to "to soothe or lull". The holy Bible and the ancient Egyptian writings refer to the dill. Egyptian doctors used the dill seeds for preparing medicines, some 5000 years ago and traces have been found in Roman ruins in the UK. The Greeks and the Romans used the herb as a medicine and during war times, the soldiers would use the dill seeds on their wounds as it was believed to be a useful healing agent. The dill was considered as symbolic of wealth and recommended by Hippocrates as an effective medicine. During the medieval ages, it was used to protect against witchcraft and used as part of love potions. Medieval folks would carry it as protection against the witch spells. It is highly popular in Russian and Scandinavian cuisine.

Emperor Charlemagne used it when throwing feasts and banquets as it was famed for its carminative properties.

The hardy dill plant grows to a height of one meter, possessing narrow stems and smooth, feathery and fragile leaves. It has white or yellow flowers which bloom in the summers. It is a perennial plant and the only member of the genus Anethum. It requires warm and hot summers with access to lots of sunshine. It cannot grow well shady areas. The plant can thrive in all soils types but flourish at best in soils which are rich in nutrients and well drained. The seeds can last for upto ten years. It should not be grown near the fennel plant in order to prevent any occurrence of hybridization. When the plant starts to ripen, the flower heads are to be cut off from the flower stalks and the seeds are to be harvested. The seeds are kept in the natural whole or crushed manner. These are, subsequently, stored in air tight containers in a warm and dry space.