In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about dill seed vs dill weed including what they are and the key differences between the two.
The definition of dill
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a spice plant that has been cultivated in Asia for many centuries. It has also been popular in Europe for many years. Both the seeds and the leaves of this plant are used as ingredients in food preparation. And even though both ingredients come from the same plant, they each provide a unique taste.
This spice plant is said to be related to plants such as parsley, coriander, caraway, anise, and carrots. It is famous as a spice ingredient and as a health-giving food because it is rich in vitamins and trace minerals. It is also famous in Asia as a traditional medicine for cough, GIT problems, and flatulence.
Several studies have revealed that dill can help in the management of diabetes.
What’s the difference between dill seed and dill weed?
There are many differences between dill seeds and dill weeds despite both coming from the same plant. The dill seeds are the seeds and the dill weed are the leaves. Below are their differences in terms of taste, usage, and storage.
In terms of taste, dill weed can be used fresh or when dry. When fresh, it can be mixed with cheese or soup. The weed/leaves taste like a mix of lemon, parsley, and a sprinkling of anise. In contrast, dill seeds taste different. They taste like caraway. So dill weed and dill seed taste different despite coming from the same plant.
Despite their different tastes, both dill weed and dill seed taste nicer when cooked.
Dill weed’s aroma is strong but when cooked it becomes softer and great for soft dishes. In contrast, the aroma of dill seeds is enhanced by cooking and can sometimes feel too powerful if used in excess.
Because dill weed and dill seed are so different in terms of taste, it is not recommended to swap one for the other when preparing a meal using a recipe. If you do this, you could end up with a meal that is not interesting or tasty.
In terms of cooking time, dill weed does not need a lot of cooking time to enhance its flavor and aroma. If exposed to heat for up to two hours, its flavor and aroma can be difficult to tell from food. In contrast, dill seeds are heat tolerant. Therefore, they can withstand a longer cooking time than dill weed without losing their flavor or aroma. In fact, the longer you cook dill seeds, the better their flavor will be expressed.
It is because of the different cooking times that dishes prepared with dill weed typically take less time than dishes prepared with dill seeds.
In terms of popularity, people like both somewhat equally. This is because they are used differently. People who like dill weed, like it because it is great for making salads, and it goes well with potatoes, cheese, or yogurt. In contrast, people who like dill seeds, like them because they are great for enhancing the taste of pickles and they go well with sausages, cabbage, and potatoes.
In terms of storage, dill seed being a dry food product can be stored for a very long time in a simple jar. The jar just needs to be dry. It can be used even after six months and it will still have its original taste. In contrast, dill weed cannot be stored for a very long time. In fact, it requires refrigeration to stay fresh. It can be stored in a freezer for up to two months but that will be it.
How to grow and harvest dill in your garden
There are several dill varieties that you can grow successfully in the United States especially in states such as Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and northern California. They include Superdukat, Long Island, Fernleaf, Dukat, and Bouquet.
Here is how to grow them.
- Select a site. Dill is best planted in a site where it can get the full sun and at the same time be protected from strong winds because gusty winds can uproot it. The plant can tolerate temperatures between 25 and 70 degrees F. So it can grow just about anywhere in the United States during the main growing season.
- Prepare the ground. After selecting the site or sites for planting dill, you should prepare the ground. The good news is that this plant can survive even in poor soils. The bad news is that the soil needs to be a bit acidic. So add the right fertilizer to make the soil acidic and good enough for dill.
- Planting time. The best time to plant dill seeds is between April and May. This is why there is no danger of frost. So plant them directly into the prepared ground. If the soil conditions are good enough, your dill seeds should germinate within two weeks. When sowing dill seeds into prepared ground, you should sow them about 1-inch deep and you should leave about 10 inches between each to ensure healthy growth.
- Growing in containers. As mentioned a few moments ago, dill can survive even in poor soils. And since this is the case, it should be obvious that the plant can also survive in containers since it is a relatively small plant. You can grow dill seeds in containers indoors or outdoors. You just need to make sure the containers are sufficiently deep for the long roots of dill plants. You also have to situate the containers somewhere where they can get sunlight for at least five hours a day. If you live somewhere where your dill plants cannot get at least 5 hours of sunlight a day, you should purchase a grow light and use it to give them the energy they need.
- Support. Whether indoors or outdoors, you should make sure you give your dill plants the support they need. You should do this using a stake especially when they are outside. This is because outside they can be exposed to strong winds from time to time, which can uproot them.
- Fertilizing. You should apply a 20-20-20 fertilizer once on your dill plants just once in spring. This will give the plants the nutrient-boost they need to thrive.
- Harvesting. Dill leaves and dill seeds should be harvested before flowering. Because this is when they have the most flavor. After harvesting, the leaves should be stored in a refrigerator, while the seeds should be stored in jars or a proper harvesting fabric.