How to Store Fresh Dill?
Hailing from Eurasia, centuries-old dill weed or commonly referred to as dill, is one of the most famous contributions of this region to the culinary world and is widely used in Nordic and Eastern cuisines. Dill is a spring herb, and initially, it was only available in spring till early summer. Due to the increasing demand for this sweet grassy herb belonging to the parsley and celery family, it is now available all year long, thanks to the farming world’s progression. To capitalize on this rapidly increasing use of dill, spice companies started introducing dried dill packaged in fancy bottles, which you often see in the supermarkets’ spice section, but is it the same as fresh dill? This article unravels some essential information about it and how to preserve this light herb to get a fresh hassle-free supply anytime you need it.
Available Forms of Dill:
Dill is one of the most flavorful culinary herbs used in pickled foods, seasoning in salads, eggs, and more. If you want a flavour combination of fennel and celery, dill is the way to go. There are dill leaves used in cooking, but many recipes include dill seeds to spice up the food. Dill is available as fresh and dried both forms in the supermarket and only in fresh form in local farmer markets, but if you have a small kitchen garden in your home, it is fairly easy to grow it there. You will definitely love the fragrance of it. After sowing the seeds, you can harvest them after eight weeks or any time later but remember that it develops a bitter taste in hot weather. If you do not harvest it for a more prolonged time, flowers start blooming, which are also edible. Still, the flavour of dill is a little altered. This super flavorful herb’s shelf life is a little less, so either so use it promptly or buy a dried one.
Dried Dill v/s Fresh Dill- Which one is better?
The debate surrounding fresh dill is better than dried dill is never-ending. Many culinary experts have recommended that fresh dill herb has a more distinct flavour and is needed in less quantity to get the desired results. Dried dill is easily available and used more regularly, but it is unquestionably a not-so-good substitute for the fresh, aromatic one. Although most people are inclined towards dry dill as the shelf life of dill is limited, you can always preserve fresh dill in numerous ways. Curious to know about some of the ways to store fresh dill? Keep reading to know more about this herb from the lands of Eurasia.
Best Methods to Store Fresh Dill
Store In The Refrigerator:
Dill is one of the most delicate herbs and doesn’t last long if you do not take adequate care. Storing fresh vegetables and herbs in the fridge is standard, but some essential preventive measures are necessary before you keep them in the fridge storage with dill. Let’s break it down into steps.
1. Inspect The Dill:
Supermarket-bought fresh dill is mostly clean and doesn’t contain any dirt, but it is always the best idea to check it for bugs or pests. If there are none, you can easily avoid the washing step. If you harvest the dill from your kitchen garden or lawn, it definitely needs a thorough check to spot any of the particles that contribute to reducing its life in the fridge.
2 Wash & Remove Moisture:
Fresh dill leaves free from dirt or any other unwanted ingredients are ready to keep in the fridge. On the contrary, it is advised to wash it with clean water to eliminate bacteria’s growth, reducing its life. Excess moisture is also bad for this herb and wilts its leaves. Therefore before you put it in the fridge, take a paper towel or muslin cloth. Wash the dill, separate each stem, and gently dry with any of it. Please do not overdo it as it may dry it excessively, which is also not best for its longevity.
Store The Dill:
- One way to stock dill after washing and drying is to put it in resealable plastic bags and put it in the fridge set at a temperature below 40°F. This method is efficient in storing it for approximately ten days without losing its freshness.
- Another way is to take the dill bundle and put it in a jar or vase filled with water. Do not forget to cover it with a plastic bag and if you think the dill will be exposed to excess condensation, line the plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb the moisture. Cover it and enjoy fresh dill for a week or so.
- Another great method is to invest in a dill container that is large enough to fit the whole dill bunch for dill fans. Put 2 to 3 inches in the container, then dip the dill’s ends and cover it with its lid. Always change the water from time to time to ensure that the dill stays fresh and crisp for an extended period.
Freezing the Dill:
Do you want your dill to remain fresh for months? Freezing it would be the best option that will keep it safe and retain its flavour for a long duration so you can enjoy it as much as you want in the winter months too. There are two ways to freeze dill. You can either freeze chopped dill or freeze it as a whole as per your need and convenience. Let’s discuss both of them separately.
Storing As A Whole:
Cleaning the dill is crucial for any method, whether storing it in the refrigerator or freezing for long use. After washing and drying the dill with a paper towel, inspect it for any insects. If found clean, you can divide the entire bunch into batches as per your cooking needs to ensure that you do not thaw them every time you want some. Repeated thawing might disturb the texture and flavour of the dill. The next important step is to take a baking tray or aluminum foil and spread out the dill on it. This will ensure that the frozen dill doesn’t become a single piece even if you store it in batches. Please keep it in the refrigerator for more than 30 minutes. Remove the frozen dill and then place them in a large air-tight container or plastic bags. Frozen dill can be used for up to a year.
Storing Fresh Chopped Dill:
Freezing dill is for sure an active way to get fresh dill all year long. To avoid chopping hassles every time, you can also keep the dill for freezing after chopping. The process is quite similar to the one mentioned earlier for freezing dill. Clean, wash, rinse and pat dry the dill with a paper towel. Finely chop it but make sure you don’t overdo it as it might drop its flavour. Divide the diced dill into small portions and put them into a small freezer bag. Try not to overfill the bags and keep the freezing bags or container in the coldest part of your fridge to keep the herb in the best form.
Freeze Dill In Ice Cube Tray:
Dill weed is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine and brings amazing flavour to a soup and sauce. If you are a fan of dill in your sauces and soups, one best way is to freeze them in cubes. We all have ice cube trays in our homes, so why not be creative with that. After you are done cleaning and drying the dill, chop them finely. Take your ice cube trays and fill each segment with chopped dill. Fill half of it and pour water in the remaining half. Carefully place the ice cube tray in the fridge and leave it there overnight. The next day takes out the ice cube tray, separate the herb cubes from it. Immediately put them in large freezer bags so that the water inside doesn’t start to melt. Keep them again in the fridge and use them in your sauces or soups while cooking without worrying about defrosting or chopping every time.
Dill brings amazing flavour to food and gives your recipes a unique twist, but it is not very budget-friendly to buy fresh dill regularly. The per-pound price of fresh dill can go up to $14, and a lot of it will go to waste if you don’t preserve it in the right way. Utilize any of the above-mentioned methods to get fresh, flavorful dill and not the boring, bland, dry one any time you need.