If you’ve ever travelled to Eastern Europe or Russia you will certainly be familiar with dill as it is the herb of choice for flavouring pretty much every dish from bread to pickles to soup to pizzas. In fact, it is believed that the average Russian consumes 1.6kg of dill every year – that’s enough to fill a large suitcase! While our love affair with dill doesn’t go that far (our other herbs would feel neglected!), we recognise that the feathery anise-tasting fronds of the dill plant go splendidly with fish and roast potatoes. Of course the best way to use fresh dill is straight from your raised herb garden. Dill has simple growing needs – plant it in early spring in well-drained soil and allow it plenty of time to bask in the sun. Dill does have a bit of a temper and resents being uprooted and moved so best to leave it be once planted. Sometimes caterpillars can be a little too fond of dill (they must be Russian sorts), but these can easily be handpicked if they become a nuisance.
What you’ll need
Dill seeds from your local nursery
My First GardenTM
Good quality potting mix
Water-filled watering can
How to grow dill
- Choose a spot for your dill that gets plenty of sunshine
- Prepare your garden bed with potting mix
- Sow seeds directly into the soil (cover lightly)
- Water 2-3 times weekly
- Wait patiently for 6-8 weeks when your dill will be ready to harvest
- Pick fresh dill leaves regularly to prevent it going to seed
Aunty Katie’s Fish, asparagus and roasted potatoes with dill butter
500g of baby chat potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
4 x firm white fish fillets
2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
40g organic butter, melted
2 tbsp of fresh dill leaves from your garden bed
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Place potatoes and one tablespoon of oil on a baking tray and toss to coat. Cook for 25 minutes.
- Add asparagus and capers to the tray and add remaining oil. Wrap fish in aluminium foil and pop both in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the potatoes are golden.
- Combine butter and dill and drizzle over fish to serve.
Dill has been used since ancient times for its medicinal benefits. It can be used as a digestive aid to calm an upset stomach, has antioxidant properties and fights bacteria. It’s also one of the main ingredients in gripe water, an age-old remedy for colicky babies. Plus it provides a good hit of calcium for strong bones and toothy pegs.