DillI chose dill (Anethum graveolens) for this week since it is in season and thriving in my garden and we have been using it a lot to make dilly carrots - a new favorite for the kiddos. Most people will recognize dill as it is used to give dill pickles their flavor. It is also delicious on eggs, in salads and other vegetable dishes, and on fish. I was curious what kind of medicinal properties it has and was pleased to see it is a galactagogue which means it promotes mother's milk; always good for a breastfeeding mama such as myself. It is also a carminative and stomachic which means it helps to relieve stomach and intestinal upset (gas). Dill can also be used for insomnia as it helps to induce sleep (calmative).
You can eat the greens as well as the seeds which is true of most herbs. Chewing on the seeds can freshen your breath if you suffer from halitosis. The fragrance of dill helps to stimulate appetite (same as parsley!) - always good for healthy digestion. It is also a good herb to use in dried flower arrangements.
If you are storing fresh dill, put it in a glass of water, like you would fresh cut flowers and leave it on the counter. Check the water regularly as it'll soak it up!
Dill can be dried or frozen for long term storage.
Dilly Carrots Recipe
And now, the dilly carrots recipe! This is a fermentation recipe so there are many variations that can be taken. Fermented foods are excellent for gut health as they are chock full of healthy bacteria. However, if you don't currently eat a lot of fermented foods, a little goes a long way - if you eat too much at once, you may end up with diarrhea.
Here's how I do it:
Take 1 clean, quart-sized wide-mouth canning jar
Add 2-3 crushed garlic cloves
Add a large sprig of fresh dill
Add carrot sticks to about 3/4 full (I use regular, organic carrots and scrub them clean and chop; baby carrots do not work as they are treated with chlorine, bleh)
Add 1-2 TBS whey (leftover from homemade Greek yogurt)
Add 1 TBS salt
(If you don't have whey, there are starter cultures you can buy to make fermented veggies. Some people will add an extra TBS of salt, but I have not had success doing that.)
Fill with clean, filtered (not chlorine-treated tap) water until everything is submerged
I sometimes add a small half pint canning jar as a weight to keep everything submerged under the salt water brine during the fermentation time. Cocktail toothpicks work well too, or just use a few long carrot sticks across the top to keep all the others down. Carrots usually don't float up, but other veggies do. This is important to prevent toxic mold from forming.
Cover jar with a cloth or coffee filter to keep bugs out and air circulating.
Sit on counter at room temperature for 5-7 days. In warmer weather, they may be done (to taste) in less time.
Check every day to make sure everything is submerged.
When they are done, they'll be softer and have a wonderful salty, sour, dill taste. Now you can store in the fridge. We eat a few sticks just about every day with lunch. Bubba even eats the dill! No tummy-aches for that little boy!
With love, hugs and smiles,
Lust, John. The Herb Book. New York: Benedict Lane Publications, 1974.
Kowalchick, Claire & Hylton, William H. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, Inc., 1998
Herbal Healer Academy Herbology Correspondence Course by Marijah McCain, N.D.
A good source of info and products for fermentation is Cultures for Health