Dill - Anethum graveolens

Dill - Anethum graveolens

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The Aneto

The Anethum graveolens is an annual aromatic plain, which for a few years has been successful also in Italy, where it was not even known; the Latin name is Anethum graveolens, and has herbal properties that should not be underestimated.
It's about a annual plant, that in case of low winters it can behave even from two years; however, it is almost always grown as an annual, as the foliage subjected to winter cold becomes of lower quality and is therefore less appreciated. It has thin stems, quite branched, which can reach about fifty centimeters in height; the foliage and stems are blue-green, almost grayish.
The leaves they are pinnate, consisting of thin tender and slightly fleshy filaments; the flowers are gathered in composite umbels, or in a large umbrella made up of smaller umbrellas, and are bright yellow; the flowers are followed by small seeds, used in herbal medicine and in the kitchen, very similar to the seeds of anise or fennel; in fact the common name of the dill in Italy is also bastard anise, or bastard fennel, since the plant belongs to the apiacee, as well as the anise and fennel.
The origins of this plant are Asian, also evidenced by the fact that this herb is a traditional aromatic herb used in Indian cuisine, and Mediterranean, in fact dill remains were found in ancient Egyptian tombs; today it is widespread as a wild plant also in most of Europe, particularly in areas with a fairly cool climate, from northern Italy to Sweden.

The dill in herbal medicine

The use of the Anethum graveolens in herbal medicine is not widespread in Italy, at least not as much as it is in the rest of Europe; it is used for purposes similar to those for which anise and fennel are used, therefore in particular as regards problems due to nausea, poor digestion, flatulence, meteorism. For this purpose both fresh leaves are used, to be consumed during the meal to aid digestion, and the seeds, used in infusion, to prepare an aromatic tea, very similar in taste to fennel tea.
As with fennel tea, dill seed tea is also used to promote sleep, especially in children, and to promote milky whipping in mothers.
This plant has digestive, antiseptic, antispasmodic and diuretic properties.
It shows a strong antibacterial activity, manifested both by the fresh plant and by the seeds.

The dill in the kitchen

For some strange reason, in Italy the dill is not widely used in the kitchen, on the contrary, it seems that for some its aroma is particularly unpleasant; in fact the stems and leaves, if broken, give off a very intense and acrid aroma, and the leaves, if consumed have a spicy and sour taste, which perhaps is not loved by everyone.
In other countries, and lately fortunately also in Italy more and more, the Anethum graveolens is widely used, both in Asia and in Europe, in particular for accompany the fish or vegetables.
Part of the merit for the rediscovery of dill in the kitchen in Italy is due to the introduction in the 1980s of the consumption of smoked salmon, whose sweet taste and richness of fat goes well with the sour and spicy flavor of this plant; indeed, many Italians came into contact with dill for the first time in their lives, stopping off for lunch in one of the famous Swedish furniture sales centers, where salmon is a fundamental part of almost every menu.
This aromatic herb is consumed fresh, possibly freshly cut, as its aromas tend to fade quickly if the plant is dried; to have fresh dill throughout the year it is advisable in autumn to cut a good quantity, and to place the chopped leaves in the freezer, where the intense perfume is kept quite well; obviously the thawed leaves are suitable only for hot dishes.
The flavor of this very intense and refreshing herb is then used to accompany very tasty and fatty fish dishes, it is not very suitable in combination with fish with a delicate flavor, such as sea bass or halibut; it also goes perfectly with vegetables, of which it accentuates the aromas, in particular it goes perfectly with potatoes, both baked in the oven, and prepare with sour cream and mayonnaise for a nice summer salad.

Grow dill

The Anethum graveolens is cultivated as an annual plant, whose vegetative cycle develops from March to April, until September-October; it is sown directly in the house, in a sunny and bright flowerbed; prefers fresh and rich, very well drained soils, excess water and stagnant water can in fact lead to the death of plants.
Once germinated the small plants should be thinned out a little, as they do not like to grow excessively crowded; periodically it is also good to work the soil to remove any infested grasses.
Watering is done only when the soil is dry, plants that live in a very dry and sunny soil tend to have a more intense aroma, so if we love Anethum graveolens but we find it an excessively aromatic herb, we can try to limit it. the strong taste watering the flowerbed where we grow it regularly, but always when the soil is well dry, avoiding leaving the plants in a very damp or soaked soil.
Usually the fertilizations are carried out before sowing, at the time of the preparation of the flowerbed, and it is not necessary to repeat them later.
If we wish to prolong the harvest period of the leaves, and we are not interested in the seeds, it is advisable to remove the floral umbels, before the flowers develop, to prolong the vegetative period of the whole plant.

The dill in history

Despite the properties of the dill are more than anything related to the digestive issues, in which this plant facilitates digestion and can be used through herbal teas, decoctions and infusions, in the past the dill has assumed numerous values ​​in different civilizations. The first people who certainly used the Anethum graveolens were the Greeks, although this aromatic plant was probably already used by man. In Greek civilization it was widely believed that this plant helped fight epileptic seizures and was also used for witchcraft and spells, rituals in which it was an indispensable ingredient. A few years later also in Roman civilization, the dill spread especially among the gladiators who chewed this plant convinced that it had invigorating powers and that it helped to increase the strength and power of the body. From the Middle Ages they began to use the Anethum graveolens for digestive problems and it is in this period that they began to prepare teas and decoctions based on dill to improve digestion.

Dill seeds

The seeds are sought after for two reasons. The first is that being seeds can obviously give birth to new plants after being sown. The second is that the seeds are one of the parts of this plant with therapeutic properties, along with the leaves.
The seeds to be used must first be dried because they have a very strong smell when fresh. The properties of seeds and dill in general are numerous. At one time it was used as a tonic but over time other interesting properties were discovered, such as the purifying ones, the antispasmodic ones and the sedative and calming ones. As for the purification it seems that this plant is able to purify our body from waste, to significantly reduce water retention and also to fight cellulite. Anethum graveolens can be consumed through infusions and herbal teas that, if taken in the evening, also seem to have a relaxing effect that can even calm stress and insomnia.

Dill - Anethum graveolens: Fetid fennel

As we have said before, the dill is also often called with the name of bastard fennel but it can also be known as the fetid fennel. The name fetid fennel is given by the strong smell similar to the fennel that this plant has.
How much you hear about fetid fennel and its extraordinary properties do not be afraid to be in front of a new plant because it is dill, nothing new in short.
  • Dill where it is

    Dill is an aromatic plant of Asian and Mediterranean origin, but not much used in Italian cuisine; yes t

    visit: dill where it is found


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