This is our first year planting dill, one pot holding one sprig of dill! Such a cute little plant with delicate wisps of flavor. It’s a great herb to flavor dips, pasta, pickles, & more. Even though we only planted one plant this year we ended with way more dill than anticipated. Our new yard came with an abundance. Strong stalks of dill sprang up in distinct patches and a few misplaced around the yard. It’s actually quite a beautiful plant. By the time we moved in, this bunch of dill was beginning to flower so we were granted the opportunity to harvest dill seeds for the first time. I never really though about dill seeds before, I understood they existed but gave little thought to how it all happened – how did the seeds form and could I witness it?
Joe and I dreamed of all the pickles we could make with a stock of dill like this. It was a little late to take advantage of the dill weed, before we knew it most of the plants bolted into flower – beautiful yellow bursts.
As the flowers faded away, seeds began to appear. They started off fresh and greenish. I have heard of people cutting off the entire flower head to throw in their pickle jar, but have not done it myself.
Soon they began to turn brown and dry, they start looking like actual dill seed. If you have never tasted dill seed it is commonly compared to caraway. They are in the same family and even look kind of similar, although dill seeds seem to be more flattened and of course they don’t taste exactly the same.
There was so much that I couldn’t imagine not saving at least some of the seeds. Once they seemed to be mostly dry, we cut off a bunch of the seed/flower clusters and put them in a paper bag to finish the drying process. I felt like we cut a ton for keeping but there were still plenty of seeds left to drop and replant for the next batch. The supply seemed never ending.
We left them in that bag for a few weeks so they could completely dry before we contained them. While they were in there a lot of the seeds dropped off the stems and fell to the bottom. We could tell that they were dry enough. After a few weeks passed we helped the rest of the seeds get in to our dill seed jar.
Although it was a fun process, plucking these seeds seemed to take forever. Luckily it was a beautiful day to spend on the sun porch, lots of time to build my dill picking skills which I’m sure will be valuable in the future. When you spend so much time with something you really get to know it. You notice little things, like the tiny fine hairs that mix into the harvest. And because of these hairs you have to be more careful in the way that you pluck them. I came up with a method that worked for me.
I would cut all of the little clusters from the stalk. Take each little cluster one at a time and flatten the bunch holding close to the seeds – hoping to hang on to the fine particles rather than releasing them with the seeds. It was near impossible to completely avoid them, but at least I tried and it helped a bit. Carefully pluck the seeds – again and again. You can see in the middle picture the little fibers coming from the ends of the stems – that is where the seed is connected from. The seed often came off in two parts, two halves. The little stem was connected into the middle of the seed creating a natural split.
After a lovely day of picking dill seeds we wound up with a completely filled jar, a plate full that we used in bread and pizza dough the next day, and a bunch of seeds for next year in case we need them. And after all of that… the dill in the yard has finally reseeded and is sprouting up again. This time we’ll try to use the dill before it seeds.
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