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Dill is a tall, slender plant with fern-like foliage similar to its cousin, the carrot. The plant is easily grown in home gardens with bright sunlight and well-drained soil. Best known for its use in flavoring dill pickles, the tangy, versatile herb adds flavor to soups, stews, vegetable dishes, casseroles, salads, breads, omelets, meat dishes, dips and sauces. Freezing dill preserves the fresh flavor and allows the dill to be used year-round.
Clean dill fresh from a garden requires no rinsing. Dill from a supermarket or that has been exposed to pesticides or herbicides should be rinsed. Shake the dill dry or pat it gently between paper towels. Entire stalks, chopped dill or the heads can be frozen.
Place a bunch of dill, stalks and all, in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container. Once the dill freezes, use clean kitchen shears to remove the needed portion, then return the remaining dill to the freezer. Entire stalks can be used to flavor soups and stews, then use a slotted spoon to remove the dill just before serving.
An ice cube tray provides serving-size cubes of dill that can be tossed into soups, stews and other hot dishes. Dice the dill, place a small amount in each section of an ice cube tray, then add water and freeze. Remove the frozen cubes and store them in resealable plastic bags or freezer containers. Chicken or vegetable broth can be added to the ice cube tray instead of water, or the dill can be combined with snippets of other herbs for a ready-to-use herbal blend.
Blanching is a process of exposing vegetables to boiling water to halt the enzymes that cause plants to continue growth. Dill requires no blanching, but if you feel blanching is necessary for preservation of color, texture or flavor, blanching is a simple process. Use tongs to hold a bunch of dill, then dip the dill in a pot filled with rapidly boiling water. Hold the dill in the boiling water for about 10 seconds, or until the color turns bright green. Cool the hot dill under running water, then blot it dry with paper towels. Freeze as described above.
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