Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, December 14, 2015

25 Days of Herbs and Celebrations - December 14

Dear Folks,

Celebrating the Multicultural festivities of December, I thought I would pick an herb or spice which is referenced in the Bible (land of three of the Major Religions of the world) and used in many cuisines around the entire world, as a way of gathering together all the wealth of diversity around us - in true celebration.

Day 14
Herb:  Dill Anethum graveolens) a member of the carrot family, it is also the only member of its subspecies Anethum.  It is mentioned several times in the Bible, including references to it, along with other herbs, as a form of currency. Isaiah 28:25 “Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed? Does he continually turn and harrow the ground? Does he not level its surface and sow dill and scatter cummin And plant wheat in rows, Barley in its place and rye within its area?”  See also Day 13 quote on Cumin.
Hanukkah  Ends

Dill, the tangy and fragrant leaf and seed are widely used in everything from pickles, to vegetables, soups, stews and cooked meat dishes.  I can’t image a pantry without dill in it.
Dill is easy to grow in the desert garden.  Start sowing seeds in early fall and plant every 2-4 weeks through January for successive harvesting and to ensure you can harvest seeds at the end of the season for use in cooking and to re-sow next fall.
I can’t find the picture at the moment, but I have a great photo taken some years ago, when – once again – I was not paying attention to plants in the back of the garden and one of the dill plants went to over 6 feet in height with the flower head a good 3 feet tall by itself!
Dill leaf dries easily and retains its great flavor for long periods if stored like all spices, teas and coffees – in a dark, cool, dry place.  And, don’t forget to have dill seeds on hand.
Dill is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, intestinal gas (flatulence), liver problems, and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for urinary tract disorders including kidney disease and painful or difficult urination.

Other uses for dill include treatment of fever and colds, cough, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, infections, spasms, nerve pain, genital ulcers, menstrual cramps, and sleep disorders.

Dill seed is sometimes applied to the mouth and throat for pain and swelling (inflammation).

If pregnant do not use dill as medicine
. AND Lithium interacts with dill -- Webmd
My Homemade Dill / Garlic Lacto-Fermented Pickles.
Makes 1 quart (use glass mason jar)
About this recipe – this IS the old fashioned type of pickle without vinegar.  The tang comes from the dill and brine.  Once finished and refrigerated these last months – if you can keep from eating them everyday.
Use pint jar filled with some water for weight, during the fermentation process the ingredients have to be kept under the brine at all times.

Cucumbers, Salt, Grape or Nasturtium leaves (if you have them – they help the pickles stay crisp), organic or natural yogurt whey (this helps jump start the fermenting process but is not necessary).
Cut into spears to fit to length 1.5 inches below rim, cut some 2 inches long to fit cross wise at the top to hold the spears down.

Place some dill and garlic along with a few nasturtium leaves in bottom.  Fill jar with spears, then add cross pieces.  Add 1 teaspoon of whey.

Make brine of 3 cups of water to 2 tablespoons of sea or kosher salt (don't use iodized salt).  Dissolve thoroughly.  Add brine to cover, place weight jar in and cover loosely with plastic wrap (to keep dust and bugs out).  DO NOT seal the jar – the gas needs to escape.

Move to quiet spot on counter or stove, label jar and check daily - gently pushing periodically to release gas.  When gas has stopped forming, remove weight, cap and refrigerate and enjoy 1-3 weeks depending on temperatures.

Dill / Onion dips are always popular – here is healthier version, suitable with chips or vegetable dippers.
My Dill Dip with Options
            Dill is one of the herbs showing up high on the antioxidant research lists.  Good for you and tastes super too!

2 cups plain yogurt (make sure to buy live-culture-better for you, with no gelatin added)
1/4 cup finely minced fresh dill, or 2 tablespoons dried
1 tablespoon minced fresh onion, or 1 teaspoon dried
Barest pinch of salt

            Mix all together and serve with choice of dippers.  Tastes even better if you let the flavors marinate for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Option 1: Substitute garlic for the onion and add 1/2 cucumber, finely diced.

Option 2: In addition to the garlic and cucumber, add a teaspoon each of lemon juice and olive oil, and stir to make a sauce which can be used on pita sandwiches or over grilled chicken or salmon. (Not for Kosher meals – no dairy and meat combinations are allowed.)
Santa Baby
Eartha Kitt (The Best Rendition)
Holiday Dinner Party (Funny)

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady If you enjoyed this post, subscribe in the upper side bar link, to get all my posts! Disclaimer: Clicking on links on this blog may earn me a small commission if you purchase something. Your price does not change.


hands2work said...

Really enjoying your daily posts this Christmas season!

Catherine, The Herb Lady said...

I'm so pleased you are enjoying these holidays posts!