I, Emmaline, love every season of the year for a different reason. Summer is my favorite season because it is in these months that the hustle and bustle of canning all sorts of yummy food takes place. This summer bounty and abundance keeps our family fed for the remaining seasons. Have I ever told you how much I love canning? My family loves all things pickled and one of our favorite things to can is dill pickles. We like to make our own brine rather than purchase ready-made dill pickle mixes at the store. To make this brine an essential ingredient in our dill pickle brine is DILL SEED. Have you gone to the grocery store and looked at the cost of those things? Needless to say, it is much less expensive to grow and harvest dill seed and dill weed from your own garden.
Today Marie is going to teach you how and when to harvest dill seeds. As a bonus, she will teach you the difference between dill seed and dill weed.
The Parts of a Dill Plant:
The dill plant has three parts that are used for different purposes. All three parts have a great dill flavor but to varying degrees. The dill weed is made from the leaves of the dill plant.
Two Springs of Dill Weed
The crown or head of the dill plant is the flowering portion and is placed in many pickle recipe. The seeds develop on the head after it has flowered and have a potent dill flavor. The seeds are great for many pickling recipes and take up less room than the head. If you buy dill seeds at the grocery store they are almost 4 dollars per ounce. I, Marie, love using dill seeds in my pickled asparagus and bread and butter pickles. But, I can in bulk and the price was impressive so I started growing and harvesting dill seed myself.
Dill Heads – Not ready to harvest.
Harvesting Dill Seed:
As the dill seeds begin to mature you will see them go from a bright green color to almost black. It is at this point that you want to harvest the seeds. There is a very small window of time for harvest because after they are fully mature they easily fall off the head (and seed your garden and yard … and the neighbor’s garden). I check my dill every day or two so I can harvest the head before it has dumped all its bounty on the ground. Even with my diligence, I get many volunteer dill throughout my garden come spring.
Harvested Dill Seed
Because the seeds are so fragile on the stalk I always use sharp scissors to harvest the head. If you try to break the stalk, the force of that action will knock a large portion of the seeds to the ground. Once snipped I then place the harvested dill head upside down in a large bowl. The bowl catches the seeds as they further dry and drop off the head.
I then place the bowl with the dill head on the counter and allow it to sit for a few days and dry out. The amount of time it takes the head to dry out will depend on where you live; the humidity, how early or late in the stage of the seeds turning dark the dill head was when you harvested it, etc. After the dill seeds are completely dry carefully remove the seeds from the dill head by gently rubbing and twisting the seeds off their little stems. Store the dill seeds in an airtight container in a cool dry location.