How to harvest, dry and store dill weed

Dill (Anethum graveolens), also called dill weed, is an annual herb with leaves suitable for cooking recipes to flavor chicken or fish, in soups or dips, or in salad oil dressing. I grow dill in a pot outdoors and enjoy cutting off a short stem or two to use dill fresh in foods. Snipping off a stem of dill as needed is the best part about growing dill. You can take clippings anytime during the growing season. The growing season ends when the flower clusters open. For me, in USDA planting zone 7, dill sets buds in early summer.

How to harvest dill

Snip off as much dill as you need for cooking. If the end of the season is approaching, evident from flower buds, snip stems close to the base of the plant to dry dill for off-season use.

How to dry dill

Gather a bunch of dill by the stems and secure with a twist tie or rubber band. Hang the bunch upside-down away from direct sunlight and in a location at room temperature or higher (around 70 degrees or higher). It is helpful if the location also has air flow. I hang my dill to dry on the arch between the kitchen and family room. Each time I walk by the hanging dill, I smell its delightful scent. You could hang dill bunches from the knob of a door or kitchen cabinet, from the handle of a decorative basket, or from a cup hook installed on the underside of an upper kitchen cabinet.

I cover my bunch of dill with a paper bag to block dust from accumulating on the leaves. I cut the bottom from the bag and cut holes in the bag to promote air flow.

How long to dry dill

It takes one to three weeks for the dill to dry. If you use a paper bag over your dill, write on the bag the date you hung the bunch of dill. The leaves and stem change from flexible to brittle as the stems dry. The stems may dry at different rates. To determine if the leaves have dried, roll a few leaves between your thumbs and fingers. If the leaves feel brittle or release easily from the stem, then the leaves are dry.

Removing and chopping dried dill

Dried dill is dull colored and brittle. The objective is to remove the leaves from the stems since on the leaves. I was taught to lay a stem of dill on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to begin cutting off the leaves starting at the tip of a stem. But I prefer using scissors to snip the leaves to less than 1/4 inch. I cut the leaves while holding the stem in a deep bowl since the leaves have a tendancy to go flying when I cut them. Discard the stems.

Storing dill

Store dried dill in an airtight container like a resealable plastic burp-type container or an empty baby food jar. I use an empty dill container I purchased from store years ago. Each year, I toss the little remaining dill in the jar, thoroughly clean the jar, and then refill the jar with freshly dried dill.

TIP: An alternative storage option, instead of drying dill, is to place fresh sprigs of dill in a sealable plastic bag and then store in the freezer. No need to thaw for use. Snip dill leaves in your favorite recipes.