3 Tips for Storing Fresh Dill
Dill, native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia, is an herb that has been used extensively in cooking for generations. It's a staple ingredient for pickling vegetables like carrots, beetroot, and cucumbers. In fact, the dill pickles that everyone is so fond of are just cucumbers that were pickled using the dill herb. It's for this reason that dill weed is also sometimes called the "pickle herb."
This annual is easy to grow and maintain. If you decide to plant dill in your garden, you can cultivate it for yourself with minimal effort. While dill is also available in most supermarkets, fresh dill leaves have much more flavor than the seeds or dry dill. However, drying dill is an option you can consider for long-term storage.
1. Avoid Washing
Dill weed wilts quickly. If you want to store fresh dill in the refrigerator, it lasts longer in the absence of excessive moisture. So, if possible, avoid washing the dill weed before storing it. There is no need to wash dill that has been grown without the use of pesticides before you put it in the fridge. A thorough wash should only be necessary if you find bugs or dirt in the dill weed, and even then you should dry it thoroughly before storing it.
2. Storing Fresh Dill in the Refrigerator
After you harvest dill from your backyard or bring it home from the store, do a thorough inspection to rule out any insects, worms, bugs, and excessive dirt. If everything looks good, just shake the stems loosely and place them in a plastic bag. Add a piece of paper towel to absorb any condensation that may form inside the bag. When kept in the refrigerator in this manner, dill can last between up to 10 days and still maintain its freshness.
You can also keep the stems in a jar or vase with water and cover the leaves with a plastic cover for longer lasting flavor and freshness. If you do this, make sure the jar or vase is sealed tightly, as water and air will create the kind of moisture mentioned above that leads to wilting.
For best results, keep the temperature in your fridge below 40 degrees F.
3. Freezing Fresh Dill
If you freeze fresh dill, it can last for several months and still give a good, strong flavor. You can either freeze the dill as is or you can cut it before storing.
Storing as Is
To store the dill as is, remove the bottom part of the stem. Spread out the leaves on a white paper towel and look for any signs of worms or dirt. It is best to do this inspection under a bright light so that you don't miss anything. Then separate the leaves into different sections.
Each section should have roughly the amount of dill you use for each cooking session. This way, all you have to do is take out one portion and use it every time you need dill weed.
Once you have segregated the dill weed, put each section in plastic freezer storage bags and place them in the freezer.
Storing Cut Dill
You can also cut the dill weed and store it in the freezer. Avoid chopping it too finely, as this can cause a loss of flavor. First, wash the dill and shake off any excess water. Place between paper towels so that all the moisture is absorbed. You can also place the leaves on a rack for some time till the moisture evaporates. Avoid leaving the dill weed outside for too long, as the leaves can actually end up too dry.
Once the excess moisture has been removed, cut the leaves and separate it into portions. Store each portion in a freezer storage bag and keep in the freezer.
For sauces and soups try freezing dill in ice cube trays. Wash, dry. and chop dill, and place a little in the bottom of individual ice cube slots. Cover with water and freeze.