The dill plant (Anethum graveolens) provides feathery green leaves for the dill weed herb, while the flat, oval fruits make the dill seed spice. It’s an annual herb related to celery that tends to replant itself and spread widely, which is good to know if you’re considering planting it in your garden. Dill seeds are used in seasoning, such as in pickles. Like chervil, dill weed is delicate and works particularly well with eggs or in salads.
Dill tastes grassy with a bit of anise-like licorice flavor. Be aware that once the weather turns hot, dill plants flower or “bolt.” This bolting changes the flavor of the leaves, making them less aromatic and more bitter. Dill seed tastes like a mild version of caraway.
What Is Dill?
Dill immediately brings to mind dill pickles and potato salad today, but it has had a place for centuries in cuisines throughout Europe and Asia. Dill leaves are known as the dill weed herb, while dill seed is used as a spice. Fresh dill is in season in spring and early summer, but it is often grown in greenhouses so it is available year-round.
You will find dried dill weed sold in the spice section of the supermarket, but the flavor is a pale substitute for fresh dill weed. If that is all you can source, use more of the dried herb to get dill flavor in your recipe. Dill seed will also be sold in dried form and that is acceptable for all uses for the seeds.
Because it has such a unique taste, a small amount of dill can go a long way, which is why dill is so good to use as a garnish. The feathery texture of dill leaves looks beautiful and a small sprig of dill can add a noticeable aroma to a dish. Dill is also good in salads and is the key ingredient, along with buttermilk, in giving homemade ranch dressing its unique flavor.
Be it pasta or pickles, basil will do the job. Salad dressings and marinades made with basil are also popular.
You can use caraway seeds instead of dill seeds in bread baking. These seeds are also suitable to be used in such dishes as casseroles, stews, and soups.
Here are four substitutes for dill seeds.
Substitutes for Dill Seeds
Don’t try to substitute dill seeds with dill weed as they have slightly different flavor profiles and you will not achieve the desired result.
So, what can you use instead of dill weed and seed? Dill weed can be substituted with various soft-leafed herbs. The top five substitutes for dill weed are fennel, tarragon, chervil, basil, and parsley . As for dill seed substitutes, you can choose from caraway seeds, fennel seeds, celery seeds, and coriander seeds.
If you are looking for a dill seed substitute that will be the closest to it in terms of flavor, then you should certainly go with caraway seeds.
Dill weed is very delicate. Thus, when used in cooking, it is added toward the end of the cooking process to get the best use out of it.