Fresh dill is an aromatic culinary herb known for its feathery, fern-like leaves and distinct, slightly tangy flavor. It is commonly used in European, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines and is recognizable for its treasured use in pickling mixtures, notably for dill pickles.
In addition to pickling, fresh dill is a versatile herb that pairs well with various proteins such as fish, chicken, and eggs, offering a fresh, bright contrast to rich dishes. It is also often incorporated into sauces and dressings, providing a depth of flavor to a variety of dishes.
When cooking with fresh dill, one of the common mistakes people make is adding it too early in the cooking process. Due to its delicacy, dill tends to lose its fresh, bright flavor when heated for prolonged periods. Instead, it's best to stir it in at the end of the cooking process or use it raw to maximise its aromatic qualities.
Getting the most out of fresh dill involves a gentle rinse under cold water and a light pat dry before use to retain its flavor and aroma. Overhandling or bruising the leaves should be avoided as it can lead to flavor loss.
A little-known tip for dill is that it's not just the leaves that are edible; the flowering heads and seeds of dill are also used in cooking and have their own unique flavors. Flowering heads are often used in pickling while the seeds are great in bread, stews, roasted vegetables, and more.
Can I substitute dried dill for fresh dill?
Does fresh dill go well with fish?
Can I use fresh dill in salads?
How to chop fresh dill?
Can I use fresh dill in soup?
Is fresh dill good for pickling?
Can you eat the stems of fresh dill?
Does fresh dill pair well with chicken?
Can I use fresh dill in eggs?
Can I use fresh dill in pasta?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does fresh dill expire?
Fresh dill usually lasts for around 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. If you freeze it, it can have a lifespan of about 6 months to a year. But remember, while freezing can extend it's life, it might alter the texture and flavor. After chopping or using some of the dill, the remaining can last in the fridge for 3-5 days. Always make sure to use tightly sealed plastic bags or airtight containers to maintain freshness when you put it back in the fridge. Unopened and stored properly, fresh dill can maintain its best quality up until the sell-by date, and even a few days beyond.
How do you tell if fresh dill is bad?
If your fresh dill has gone bad it will exhibit some telltale signs. The bright, vibrant green color normally associated with dill will be replaced with a dull, darker hue. The leaves may start to wilt and feel slimy, this is a highly indicative sign of decay. If your fresh dill starts to smell unpleasant and far from its usual herbaceous, anise-like aroma, it's very likely time to say goodbye.
Tips for storing fresh dill to extend shelf life
• Ensure fresh dill is dry before storing to prevent moisture which can lead to decay
• Store fresh dill in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper drawer of your refrigerator
• If you want to freeze dill, you can chop it up and put it in an ice cube tray with water or broth. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a plastic bag. Use these dill cubes when you cook.
• Storing fresh dill in a glass of water, stem side down (like flowers in a vase), with a plastic bag over the top and refrigerating can also prolong its life