Dill is a hardy, aromatic plant in the parsley family that has become widely known around the world for its many culinary uses. Today, there are two main dill products on the market, dill weed and dill seed. Dill weed and dill seed refer to two different parts of the same leafy plant.
- Dill seed: The dried fruit of the dill plant
- Dill weed: The stem and leafy parts of the dill plant.
Today, we are diving into the history, origins, and common uses of the dill plant while explaining in greater detail what makes dill weed and dill seed different from one another.
Dill (Antheum graveolens) is a hardy, annual plant in the parsley family that most resembles fennel. The leaves of the dill plant are fragrant, fine, feathery, and vibrant green. The dill plant grows small flowers that are yellow in color and grow to bear fruit (or seeds). Dill seeds are oval shaped, ridged, tan to brown in color, and have a thin, yellow edge that marks a stripe all the way around the edge.
Dill weed comes from the stalks and leaves of the dill plant. When a plant is grown for dill weed, the top eight inches of the plant are harvested.
Dill seed comes from the fruit (or seeds) of the dill plant. When a plant is grown for dill seed, the stalks of the plant are cut and left to dry for about a week. Once the seeds have dried on the stalk, they are harvested.
Dill seed and dill weed are not interchangeable in cooking. Dill weed is herbaceous and fragrant, while dill seed has a much stronger flavor.
Dill seeds have a nutty flavor, similar to caraway, with notes of mint, citrus, bitterness, and licorice. While whole seeds have little aroma, their potent aroma is released when the seeds are ground. To accentuate the flavors of dill seeds, we recommend toasting them in oil or fat. In general, dill seeds are known to have a stronger flavor than dill weed and are best when paired with rich dishes.
The leaves and stems that make up dill weed have a mellower, fresher flavor than dill seeds. Dill weed is zesty, herbaceous, and is best on light, fresh dishes.
One of the most widely known culinary uses for dill seed and dill weed is pickling. When dill is used in pickling, the fermentation process releases and enhances its natural flavors.
The dill plant has a rich and extensive history, used for millennia in medicine, cooking, and even in witchcraft.
As early as 3,000 BCE, ancient Egyptians were using dill as a medicinal herb. Believed to be an effective digestive and sleep aid, ancient Greeks harvested dill for these popular medicinal uses. In the Middle Ages dill was also made into love potions and used in witchcraft because it was believed to be a natural aphrodisiac.
Dill was popular in ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek culture. By the Middle Ages, people were using the dill plant as a seasoning for vinegars and fermented foods in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. In the late 1800s and 1900s, Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe brought kosher dill pickles with them to the U.S., where they rose in popularity. Dill quickly became a common crop in the U.S. for its pickling properties.
The dill weed you are most likely to find at the supermarket is most commonly produced in California, Eastern Europe, and Egypt. Dill seed, on the other hand, is usually produced in India.
At Pacific Spice, we are dedicated to sourcing the highest quality spices and herbs. Our PSC Dill Weed and PSC Dill Seed products are sourced from reputable, approved sources to ensure a flavorful and dependable addition to your favorite dishes.
Both dried dill weed and dill seed should always be tightly sealed and stored in a cool, dry, dark place; above ground and away from the wall. When it’s stored properly, dill products can stay fresh for up to one year.
Dill seed has a complex flavor that is highly versatile. When paired with different dishes, different flavor properties of dill seed will be accentuated.
Dill seed is best when paired with:
- Meats like pork and fish
Fun fact: Dill seed is often used as a substitute for caraway seeds in cooking.
Dill weed is best when paired with:
- Potato salad
- Yogurt dips
- Egg dishes
PSC Dill Weed and PSC Dill Seed
At Pacific Spice, we sell the highest quality PSC Dill Weed and PSC Dill Seed products:
- PSC Dill Seed Whole
- PSC Dill Seed Ground
- PSC Dill Weed
If you’re interested in ordering from PSC, contact us about our products! When you source from us, we will help you determine the proper dill product for your individual needs.