If you are determined to grow your dill, you need to know a few essential things, including how to harvest dill. If you aren’t sure where to start, you are in the right place. Continue reading to discover key steps to help you get the most out of your dill crop.
If you have some dill growing in your garden, you may want to prepare to harvest it. This tasty, refreshing herb produces leaves and seeds, depending on when you harvest it. Dill is easy to grow and packed full of nutrition; and has many culinary uses, such as potato salads, cucumber soup, and fish dishes.
Though it may seem a little intimidating, especially when you are new to gardening, you have nothing to worry about. With a few simple guidelines, you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert on harvesting dill. Learn how to harvest dill the right way below.
How to Harvest Dill
To Harvest Dill Leaves
- You’ll need a pair of scissors or clippers. The plants aren’t picky about where you cut them, but the best method is to snip off sprigs right where they join the main stem.
- You can pinch stems off with your fingers when plants are young and have tender stems.
- To keep your plants productive, snip or pinch whole sprigs off at the stem. If you need a small dill for a recipe, pinch the tips off a few leaves.
- Generally, don’t harvest more than ⅓-½ of a single dill plant at a time. Let your plants recover in between harvests until they have recovered their growth.
- You can harvest all the foliage left on your plants or bring them inside to survive the winter at the end of the season.
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How To Harvest Dill Seeds
- Place a paper bag carefully over the flower heads where the seeds are. You may need to bend the stem to ensure you don’t drop too many seeds.
- Continue by snipping through the bent point on the stem, letting the seed head fall into the bag.
- Repeat until you’ve collected as many as you’d like to, then place the bag somewhere to allow the heads to dry.
- Once dried, crush the seed heads between your hands, breaking them up to release all the seeds.
- Pour your herb and seed onto a flat surface, then lightly blow on it to remove the chaff from the seeds.
- Dill seeds are stored for up to a year in a dry, airtight container.
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How to plant dill?
- Sow dill seeds about ¼-inch deep and 18 inches apart.
- After 10 to 14 days, young dill plants should appear in the soil. Wait for another 10 to 14 days, then thin the plants to about 12 to 18 inches apart.
What are some dill varieties?
- Fernleaf. It works well in containers and is not prone to bolting.
- Bouquet. It’s a larger variety that produces a lot of seeds.
- Mammoth. It is another tall variety and is considered one of the best for pickling.
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Flavorful seeds have many uses; pickles, seafood, vegetables, and more. Just add before cooking; a little goes a long way.
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How do you harvest dill without killing the plant?
All you need to do is take a few dill leaves, tie them up together using a string and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area. Once they’re dry and crumbling, store them in an air-tight container.
How do you know dill is ready to harvest?
Dill seeds are 4 to 5mm long and appear after the flowers fade. If you want to collect dill seeds, wait until the flowers have set seeds and those seeds start to turn brown. This is a good indication that the seeds are ready to harvest.
How do you harvest and use fresh dill?
Pick for leaf harvest just before flowers open. This is when the leaves contain the highest concentration of oils. The day before harvesting leaves, spray them with water to be clean and dry the day of harvest. On the day of leaf harvest, pick dill in the early morning or place stems in water for two hours.
How do you cut fresh dill, so it keeps growing?
When the plant is a couple of months old, use clean garden shears to cut off the leaves growing closest to the top of the plant. Snip the leaves right at the spot where they join the stem and enjoy them in recipes throughout the season.
When to harvest dill seeds?
Dill seeds are around 4 to 5mm long and appear after the flowers fade. If you want to collect dill seeds, wait until the flowers have set seeds and those seeds start to turn brown. This is a good indication that the seeds are ready to harvest.
How to store fresh dill?
- To store dill fresh, wrap the stems loosely in damp paper towels.
- Once wrapped, place the stems in a sealable plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer.
- Stored this way, the herbs will last a few days without losing flavor.
- You can also store dill herb in water if you cut full stems.
- Place the cut end of the stem in about an inch of water in a jar.
- Place a plastic bag over the top to act as a humidifier, and place it in the refrigerator.
- Change the water daily. You should be able to store your fresh dill plant cuttings for up to a week without severe wilting of the dill leaves or flavor loss.
- Freeze dill weed for long-term storage.
- Wash the harvested leaves before chopping and transferring them to ice cube trays.
- Fill the cubes with just enough water to cover the freshly minced herb.
- Once frozen solid, remove from the tray and store in a freezer-safe plastic bag.
- Frozen dill herbs will last for up to 3 to 4 months.
How to dry dill?
Another way to store dill for a long time is to dry it. The hottest temperature you should dry dill at is 110°F. A better approach is to hang dry, but an air-only dehydrator or box fan drying method can also be used.
- To hang-dry dill, please take a couple of stems and bunch them together using a string.
- Tie them upside down in a well-ventilated area.
- Once the leaves are dry and crumble at a touch, store your dill herbs in a glass jar.
- Dried dill is best used within a year of storage.
Additional Tips on How to Harvest Dill
- Dill tastes best right before it flowers. Believe it or not, dill plants develop small clusters of yellow flowers.
- Dill is extra moist in the early morning before the sun is high in the sky.
- If you have a lot of dill growing in your garden, or if the dill will flower soon, it might be easier to harvest a lot at once.
- Water keeps your dill fresh for a couple of days, in case you’d like to use it in any recipes.
- Drawers and cupboards are great places to keep your dill, as long as they’re not next to your stove, oven, or sink.
- Dill seeds can last up to a year in storage. Always keep your seeds in a dark, cool space where they won’t be exposed to heat or light.
- Snipping off too much dill weed can reduce the plant’s ability to recover quickly from the trimming.