Pay your taxes with herbs!
Dill - Anethum graveolensa native of southern Europe , that grows wild in cornfields of the Mediterranean as well as North and South America. Dill is an annual that produces aromatic leaves and tiny yellow/green flowers in flattened umbels. Dill prefers well drained poor soil in full sun. The seeds are best grown directly into the soil as Dill does not like being transplanted. When larger the plants can be fragile and may need to be supported. Keep Dill away from Fennel as they will cross-pollinate that then spoils the flavour of both plants. Make several sowings thought the season, so you can enjoy the aromatic leaves all summer, leaving the last crop to go to seed that can be collected and stored for up to 3 years.
The Dill is believed to come from the Anglo-Saxon ‘dylle’ or Norse ‘dylla’ meaning to soothe or lull. The herb was used by Egyptian doctors some 5,000 years ago and plant remains have been found in Roman ruins in Britain. In Biblical times herbs were considered a suitable method of paying taxes “ Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and dill and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law” If only that were true today!
Dill is an antispasmodic and calmative and has been taken as a tea for centuries to soothe upset stomachs, hiccups and insomnia. Early settlers in North America , where Dill became known as the ‘Meeting House Seed’ gave the seeds to children to chew to stave off hunger during the long sermons.
Dill is used as a culinary herb in many dishes and is used to flavour soups, lamb and fish dishes. Perhaps it is best known as an ingredient in the Scandinavian salmon dish Gravlax, where salmon is marinaded with Dill .