Harvesting and Storing Dill

When to Harvest Dill

Dill leaves taste better if they are picked just before the flowers form and begin to open--about midsummer. After that their flavor is not so pungent. Start picking the fresh leaves just as soon as they are large enough to use. Pick them early in the morning or in the late evening, clipping them close to the stem.

If you prefer to harvest dill seed, allow the flowers to form and bloom, then go to seed. Cut the seed heads when the majority of seeds have formed, --about 2 to 3 weeks after the blossoming starts--even though some flowers may still be blooming. Hang the seed heads upside down in a paper bag to mature and dry out. The seeds will fall into the bag when they are ready. If you wait too long, many of the seeds will fall to the ground and next year you will have dill popping up all over.

Drying and Storing Dill

Dill leaves have the best flavor freshly picked. However, they will keep for several days in the refrigerator, their stems in a jar of water and covered with a plastic bag. They store for several months if you layer them with pickling salt in a covered jar in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use the leaves, simply wash them and use as fresh.

If you use a food dehydrator, rinse the dill leaves in cold water, shake them dry and lay them on the trays. Check your machine for instructions; usually the plants require 1 to 3 hours depending on the power of the machine.

To freeze dill for longer storage cut the leaves, long stems and all, into sections short enough to fit into plastic bags. Do not chop the leaves into bits or fragrance and flavor will be lost. It will keep for 6 months.

To dry dill, hang bunches of stems upside down in a dark, airy place until they are crumbly. Store them in a tightly sealed jar away from light and use within 4 to 6 months.

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