Dill is a delicate summer herb that brings a gentle aniseed flavour to dishes. The ferny leaves are best used fresh, but aren’t always easy to buy. For cooks wanting to use this lovely herb, the best option is to find a small patch of soil or a large pot and grow your own.
From spring to late summer, directly into the ground or into a large pot of peat free multipurpose compost. Germination is best in cooler conditions. A summer sowing can quickly run to seed (although this isn’t a disaster because both dill flowers and seeds are edible and tasty). Some protection may be required for a late sowing to produce leaves through the autumn.
Grow in full sun to part shade. Keep plants watered, particularly if growing in a pot.
Six to eight weeks from sowing for leaves. If the plant begins to produce flower stems, either pull them up and re-sow or wait until the yellow flowers begin to open and harvest these.
Use the freshly harvested leaves chopped into salads, potato or egg dishes and with fish. Try them finely chopped and mixed with Greek yoghurt or crème fraiche to make a light dip to serve on a warm evening. The flowers are good to garnish salads.
Dill flowers are also great for pollinators – hoverflies especially are attracted to the umbels of yellow flowers.