Saturday, December 24, 2011


Dill is mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus (approx. 1500 BCE); the ancient Egyptians used it to relieve headaches. Stems of dill were found in the tomb of Amenhotep II. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, dill symbolized wealth and luck. Dried seed heads were hung in the home, over doorways and above cradles to symbolize love and protection.

Apparently native to Europe and Asia, dill also became featured in many cuisines. Along the way, people figured out that dill has some beneficial health effects, too. According to some food historians, the Holy Roman emperor Charlemagne was fond of having his banquet tables strewn with dill so that overindulgent guests could use it to settle any digestive upsets. Later, early American colonists referred to dill seeds as "meeting house seeds", as they were chewed during long church services to keep hunger pangs at bay. Today, studies show that dill's compounds, including monoterpenees and flavonoids, may have antibacterial and antioxidant effects.

In home remedies, dill is most often consumed as a tea to help settle an upset stomach or ensure a good night's sleep. The seeds are stronger and more flavorful than the leaves, though both can be used. In cooking dill is, of course, most commonly associated with pickling, though dill is a welcome addition to many other dishes as well.

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