Dill: A Scandinavian Standout

by Mikejjjr on June 9, 2014

Dill: An herb with Scandinavian roots.

In Scandinavia, dill is considered to be one of the most important culinary herbs. Dill has been around for a long time, it was even mentioned in early Egyptian writings some 5000 years ago. This ancient herb, scientifically known as Anethum graveolens, is also sometimes called by its common name Fernleaf dill. In Scandinavian cooking, this culinary herb is considered an important staple. Just like parsley, in other parts of the world, it is popular with most cuisine. In Scandinavia, dill enjoys the same kind of popularity. Dill derives its name from the Old Norse word “della” which means “to lull”. Dill can be grown both outdoors and indoors easily. Because the leaves of the dill plants are feathery, they provide a lovely green foliage backdrop for the flowers in your garden.  Throughout Scandinavia, old-fashioned dill water or as it is commonly known “gripe water”, is still being used to treat adults and children for indigestion. This water is made with crushed dill seeds infused in hot water.

Being an annual, dill will self-seed once it has been planted. This will allow you to have dill in your garden from year-to-year as long as you allow some plants to go to seed. Growing from 1 to 4 feet (30 – 120 cm) when planted outdoors, dill has a lovely yellow flower. Dill can be cultivated indoors, in pots, but will not grow as tall. You should grow your dill from seed and as you begin to thin them out, use the seedlings that you have pulled up in your culinary endeavors. The seedlings are tender and delicious. When you dry dill leaves, the leaves are called “dill weed.” If you are planning to make pickles in the fall and will be needing dill seed, be sure to plant your dill in mid-July. This will ensure you have plenty of ripening seeds for your pickling.

What are the cultivation requirements for dill?

Dill will grow best in sandy loam that is well-drained, deep, and fertile. Dill likes both manure and compost for proper growth. When growing dill, it must be in full sunlight and during dry periods, will need to be properly watered. You can also grow dill from seeds indoors easily, with the use of fluorescent lights. You should hang the lights approximately 6 inches above the plants and let them run for 14 hours a day. Dill is not a good candidate for transplanting and does not tolerate this well. Because it has long taproots, it needs to have deep pots. If you wish to keep your plants growing longer, simply pinch off the tops, which will prevent flowering and seed setting.

When planting dill in your garden, it is okay to plant with cabbages. However, you should avoid planting dill near carrots. Dill has many uses in your kitchen. You know, of course, the dill can be used for pickles, but when cooking it goes well with cauliflower, turnips, and cabbage as well. It can be used in butter on fish, both grilled and fried. Often, dill is used in sour cream and dips. Meats, stews, and seafood can all benefit from dill. Dill has been used in vegetable dishes, potato dishes, salads, soups, and many sauces. Even green beans can benefit from a dash of dill. During the last five minutes of cooking your lamb, pork chops, or steaks, sprinkle a little young dill to enhance the flavor. You can use the seeds to sprinkle on toast or mixed with mayonnaise to put on your salmon. Both leaves and seeds can be used in fish sauces. For a nice side dish, thinly slice zucchini and sauté in dill leaves and olive oil.

You can keep fresh dill in your refrigerator for several days by submersing the stems and a glass of water. Making sure the leaves are above the water cover loosely with a plastic bag. By using re-seal-able bags, you can freeze fresh leaves to be used in other dishes when needed. The use of a closed container will allow you to store seeds until they are needed. Dill is quite versatile and you can eat the leaves, seeds, and even the seed heads. If you are cooking something that cooks for a long time, such as a stew, you should be adding the dill weed in the last minutes of cooking in order to get that rich dill flavor. If you wish to keep dill on hand, it can be both frozen or dried.

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Basil’s Medicinal Uses

by Mikejjjr on May 13, 2014

Medicinal Herbs- How to Benefit from Basil

Basil Plant in Pot

Basil is one of the most common food ingredients used in our daily recipes. In fact, this culinary herb is extensively used in Italian dishes, and moreover chefs from Southeast Asia, especially from Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Cambodia & Laos are getting quite fond of basil and are using it in their local dishes. Though, the taste of basil may vary with its variety, still it usually tastes more like an anise, only with a sweet strong aroma.

Besides, being a staple kitchen ingredient, basil is also known for its great medicinal properties. Since, antiquity basil is being used as a sedative, menstrual discharge agent, antiseptic, antispasmodic & a breast milk booster, which all depends upon how it’s used and how much of it is absorbed. So below mentioned are some of the simple tips for maximizing the use of this miracle herb.

Basil Tea

It’s quite easy to prepare a basil tea. Basil is known for its soothing effect and works best for treating stress & migraines. Moreover, it even helps in digestion and has no side effects. Hence, those who are experiencing stress or anxiety can resort to basil tea and soothe their nerves. Women who are breastfeeding their child can benefit from basil tea, as it promotes production of milk. However, keep in mind not to take basil tea in large quantities as it can do more harm than good due to its sedative properties.

In order to prepare a basil tea, all you need to do is boil a cup of water and add some dried basil or basil leaves in it. Allow it to steep for 10-15 minutes and then add some sugar or honey to make it little sweet. However, keep in mind that the flavor or taste of tea will largely depend upon type of basil you have chosen.

Basil Syrup

Preparing basil syrup takes more time and effort than basil tea. Pour some water in a pan and heat it. Now add some sugar in it until it boils. Remove the pan and add some fresh basil leaves to the mixture, cover it up and leave it like that for the whole day. From time to time stir the mixture and once it has been there for a full day, filter it in a pan and boil it again for next 20 minutes.

It becomes quite clear that basil is more than just a mere kitchen ingredient for a recipe. It has several benefits and could do wonders in treating common diseases & ailments. Hence, using basil syrup or tea can prove to be quite beneficial for you, besides you can even make a mouth rinse or poultice out of it.

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