Do you prefer to freeze dill or dry it? Personally, I think freezing it is the best way to get maximum dill flavor for the longest time.
Dill is one of those herbs that’s tricky to preserve. I have tried both freezing and drying dill and find that dried dill loses its flavor much more quickly than frozen dill. Even when frozen, the flavor does start to fade after about six months. It just means you have to add a little more frozen dill – so freeze plenty!
When to Harvest Dill
The best time to harvest dill is just as the flower and seed heads form. As it’s flowering, all the plant’s energy will go towards flower and seed production which means the leaves become tougher and less flavorful. You’ll find that once the seed heads form, the fern like branches get tough and the tips will start to turn yellow or brown. You definitely want to harvest before then.
Here in Winnipeg, mid to end of July is a good time to harvest dill. I know you might be tempted to wait until the end of the garden season so your dill will spend the least amount of time in the freezer as possible, but your dill just won’t be as tender or plentiful by the end of August. That is, unless you seed a second crop of dill at the end of July for the beginning of September.
Of course the heads are great for preserving dill pickles, dilled beets, dilly beans, etc. And once the seeds form, they’re great to harvest as well. The seeds can add great dill flavor to things like this Cottage Cheese Dill Bread.
Note: I am referring to classic garden dill that grows tall and whose seeds and heads are used for dill pickles. I have never grown fern leaf dill and am not sure when or how to properly harvest this type of dill.
How to Freeze Dill
Step 1 – Consider How You Will Use Frozen Dill
It is often recommended to freeze herbs in oil or water to help retain their flavor. That’s great if you’re adding the herb to soups or sauces. But, that’s not how I use dill. Most often, I use chopped dill in salads and fresh dips. For this reason, I prefer to freeze my dill chopped in a small container or bag so that I can sprinkled the chopped dill into a fresh recipe.
I find chopped frozen dill is the most flavorful and convenient way to preserve and use dill all year long.
Step 2 – Wash
Wash dill to remove any dirt or critters that may be stuck to the dill.
Step 3 – Dry
In order to prevent the dill from clumping, it’s important to thoroughly dry the dill either before or after cutting.the dill. Use either a salad spinner or lay out between two clean towels.
Step 4 – Remove tough stems.
I’m a little obsessive when it comes to removing the tough stems from herbs. Is that just me or do you like to do that too?
Step 5 – Chop
Chop dill to desired size.
Step 6 – Freeze
If the dill is dry and separates nicely, fill small containers or freezer bags and freeze for six months to a year. If it is still quite wet, let the chopped dill dry out for an hour or so before placing in freezer containers. This will help ensure it won’t freeze in one big lump.
Yup, that’s it. Pretty easy isn’t it.
As long as your dill is dry when you put it in your freezer container it won’t form one solid clump of dill. You’ll be able to easily get just as much as you need.
Perfect for all your dillicious recipes throughout the year. Here are some of our favorites that include dill.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.