In this article, we are going to talk about how to prune dill. This is a super easy task and one that even a novice gardener should be able to do easily.
Before that let us learn a bit more about this amazing plant.
A Bit About Dill
Dill is a member of the carrot family, and it grows in temperate climates from Canada to Northern Europe. It has been cultivated for thousands of years.
The plant was first mentioned in ancient writings as dilly or dille (Middle English), which refers to both the root and the flowers. In 18th-century England, dill was one of the most popular herbs of cooking.
In fact, dill is not only a herb, but also a spice, food flavoring, and medicine; it’s a natural remedy for colds and flu, fever, indigestion, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, cough, sore throat, kidney stones, and many other health conditions.
So far, dill plants have been used by humans since prehistoric times, because they are easy to grow and attractive. They do well in any type of growing environment.
Because of their nutritional value, dill can be eaten raw or cooked.
It tastes good with fish, meat, eggs, yogurt, beans, peas, rice, salads, bread, potato dishes, soups, sauces, vegetables, and fruit. Dried dill is often added to vinegar, pickles, cheese spreads, and sausages.
Dill seeds germinate quickly and mature into seedlings within about two weeks after planting. Planting dill at the right time ensures strong growth all year round.
However, dill does best when planted early and then allowed to flower naturally, so that seeds collect on the plants, waiting until weather conditions allow them to take off.
When picking dill leaves, you want to avoid the flowering top.
You can eat these, but they aren’t as tasty as those picked before flowering. The foliage is slightly peppery and somewhat sweet.
Leaves should be harvested regularly throughout the summer months. Freshly dug dill looks like sunflowers. Perennial dills need to be divided every three to four years to keep them healthy.
The flowers are tiny and greenish-yellow, with feathery petals. Each leaf is made up of small leaflets joined at a central point called a tooth.
There are two basic types of dill: perennial (winter) and annual (summer). Both varieties contain high levels of vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, folic acid, fiber, vitamin A, antioxidants, vitamins B1, B2, C, E, and carotenoids.
All parts of the dill plant – roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and even pollen – contain beneficial compounds.
Does Dill Need to be Pruned?
Dill needs to be pruned because it will quickly get out of control if left alone. If your dills are getting overgrown, you’ll want to shorten their height so that no part of the plant gets too tall.
Pruning your dill plant also helps to improve the productivity of the plant. Pruning stimulates new shoots and removes dead foliage.
How to Prune Dill
Pruning dill is easy and should be done at least twice a season to maintain its size. The first thing to check is whether the dill is producing more than you need.
Most dill plants produce plenty of dill throughout the growing season.
But once the plants start going to seed, they stop sending up fresh new stems. This means your current crop will soon dry up and start to sprout new leaves.
If this happens, you’ll want to harvest some of these to add to other recipes. If you’ve run out of room for your current dill garden, consider purchasing a few extra plants from the local nursery.
To make sure your dill is producing enough greens for cooking, pinch away the top 1-inch-long section of a stem as each one grows. Some people prefer to remove individual leaves, instead of cutting the whole bunch.
Step 1 – You start pruning dill by checking where the stems bend back toward the center. Then cut through the stem with a sharp knife to create a horizontal slit.
Cutting down close to the ground allows the remaining stem to continue straightening out while supporting additional branches. Leave the bottom half of the stem intact.
Cut only as much as necessary to ensure that your dill has room to grow.
Step 2 – Once you have the entire length trimmed, use scissors or a pair of shears to trim any leaves that were damaged during the pruning process.
As long as the damage is minimal, leaving the leaves attached. This makes harvesting easier later on.
If there’s a lot of damage, replace the dill with another variety – something that doesn’t require as much maintenance. Remember that having dill in your kitchen provides many benefits.
It adds flavor to dishes such as fish, eggs, salmon, salad dressings, dips, and sauces.
What Can You do With Fresh Dill?
Use your freshly harvested dill in a wide range of dishes. Start off by adding a bit of chopped fresh dill into salads and soups.
Use it in sandwiches and omelets as well as seafood dishes. When dill comes time to go dormant, chop up the leaves and sprinkle them onto cooked fish or meats.
Add a couple of tablespoons to pasta sauce; toss it with steamed vegetables or scrambled eggs. Try sprinkling diced dill onto grilled chicken breasts or broiled sirloin steak.
Do not refrigerate dill after chopping the leaves. Refrigeration will cause the compound methyl chavicol to degrade and lose its essential oils.
Also, try not to add large amounts of dried herbs to the recipe.
They may overpower the fragrance of the fresh herb. Instead, lightly mince the leaves prior to adding them to the dish. There are a ton of things you can make with dill, from dill pickles to add a bit of dill to your favorite dish.
Dill is one of those spices that are hard to find outside the grocery store. Because most people don’t know what to do with dill when they see it, they simply throw it away.
However, you can actually cook with it and even keep leftovers indefinitely. Here are 5 ways to get yourself started with dill:
- Sprinkle chopped dill into stews, soups, casseroles, salads, and desserts.
- Mix minced dill with sour cream, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, or buttermilk and use to stuff meatloaf, egg rolls, pierogies, stuffed peppers, and ravioli.
- Add chopped dill to chicken and beef stir-fry dishes or serve over rice.
- In small quantities, mix dill with lemon juice and oil to make a vinaigrette.
- Blend minced dill in yogurt, butter, or cottage cheese to create a dip.
So, when you harvest dill from your plant you can rest assured that there are tons of dill recipes you can use this annual herb in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have answered several of your most frequently asked questions about pruning dill and dill in general. So, dig right in!
How Long Does Dill Keep For?
If you’re using dill leaves for snacking, eating them fresh will give you the most nutrients. Store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat them.
When you’re finished, place the container in the refrigerator and enjoy it within three to five days.
How do You Prune Dill Without Killing the Plant?
When your dill starts going to seed, it stops producing new stems. Instead, new leaves begin to grow along the main stem. So, after the first set of leaves form, there will be little more growth.
Rather than removing all the existing leaves, just clip off about 1 inch from the tips of the stems. Leave the rest of the dill plant unharmed.
Do not cut into the base of the leafy green parts. They contain oils that may cause irritation when eaten raw.
Do I Need to Water Dill Plants?
Dill loves water. A regular watering schedule will help keep your dill healthy and productive. However, don’t overwater your dill.
In fact, the best way to avoid overwatering is to simply let nature take care of your dills for you! With proper sunlight, dill can go without water for several weeks.
Although dill isn’t really a heavy feeder, it does prefer well-drained soil.
Try potting your dill in a large clay flower pot with holes drilled in the bottom. This helps drain excess moisture from roots.
That is all for this article, we hope you learned everything you need to know about dill and how to prune this plant.
It really is super easy and your clippings are not likely to go to waste. This herb is super easy to prune, all you need is a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, and you are well on your way to harvesting dill and adding it to a variety of dishes.
It really is so easy to do, there is no excuse why you shouldn’t be doing it for your plant. So run down to the garden and prune your plant and. Good luck gardening and have a great day.
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