Known as Anethum graveolens, dill is a relative to parsley and celery, though it is the sole species of its genus. The thin, feathery green leaves become the aromatic herb called dill weed (or dillweed), and the oval flat seeds the more pungent spice referred to as dill seed.
It is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia. The word dill comes from the old Norse word dylla, meaning to soothe or lull. It dates back in writing to about 3000 B.C. when it earned a mention in Egyptian medical texts.
In the 1st century Rome, dill weed was considered a good luck symbol. Ancient Egyptians used it to ward off witches and as an aphrodisiac.
To Greeks, dill signified wealth. Many cultures cultivated it for medicinal qualities, particularly its ability to soothe an ailing stomach. It’s even mentioned in the Bible. Puritans and Quakers gave their children dill seeds to chew on while at church as an appetite suppressant. Modern wisdom gives dill seed credit as a breath freshener and anti-bacterial, plus it’s believed to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding women and alleviate colic.
DILLSOSSE (German Dill Sauce)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons agave nectar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
This is great for meat fondue, over eggs, on potatoes or over salad.