Fresh dill weed is a key addition to many dishes. Besides its obvious use in pickling, it's the star ingredient in dill dip and a supporting player in other sour-cream dips. It's often also used as a seasoning for salmon and other seafood, in potato salad, in ranch dressing, to spice up fried chicken nuggets, and as a taste enhancer for cottage cheese, among many other tasty uses. Because of its strong flavor, you'll use only a little bit at a time. Even so, it's expensive to buy, but it's cheap and easy to grow. Plant enough in your herb garden to get you through the entire year. Then freeze your harvest so you never have to spring for either fresh or dried dill at the grocery store.
Freezing fresh dill is simple and takes about five minutes or less. All you need besides the dill is water, a cookie sheet, and a freezer bag or another freezer-safe container. When you're ready to use the frozen dill, pull out as much as you need and use it just as you would fresh dill. It thaws so quickly that there's no need to do anything special to thaw it; just throw it into whatever dish you're making.
Freezing dill is an easy kitchen activity. First, wash the dill in cold water and shake or pat dry. Then lay the sprigs out on a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer to flash freeze them. When the dill sprigs are all frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and return it to the freezer.
- For the freshest dill, harvest sprigs early in the morning and freeze them right away.
- Fresh herbs often get marked down at the grocery store. If you're not into gardening or don't have the space or proper garden conditions for herb gardening, snatch up reduced-price packages of dill and freeze them.
- Dried dill is also handy to have on hand. Just hang small bunches upside down in a warm, dry room, and leave them there until they feel dry to the touch. It may take a week or two for them to dry completely. Once you're satisfied that the bunches are dry, place a plate or cookie sheet on the table in front of you. Then, working above the plate, run your hands along the sprigs to strip the dill. Gather all the dried dill that fell onto the plate or cookie sheet. Transfer it to an air-tight container and store it with the rest of your dried herbs and spices.
- Dill is an annual, but it re-seeds readily. If you're growing your own, allow it to go to seed at the end of the season. It'll drop seeds into the soil so you don't have to buy more next year.