Let’s Plant Dill

Does dill grow in Louisiana? Yes, it is easy to grow here. Dill grows best in cool weather and the time to plant it in southern Louisiana is from October to February. It is convenient to step out your back door to snip a few feathery leaves for a recipe. Featured here is Salmon with a Quinoa-Mustard Crust; fresh dill added a flavorful accent to the recipe. Salmon with Mustard and Quinoa Crust - 1 - IMG_2357 This winter has been hard on dill. Although the recommended planting season is October through February, dill does not thrive below 29 degrees according to the Louisiana Extension Service.The plants I set out in October are barely holding on. Shown in the headline photo is dill along with thyme, mint, cilantro, flat leaf parsley and the flowers are snapdragons, violas and Louisiana Iris. Here is a little plant that I just set out. dill planted in garden - 1 - IMG_2775_1 Dill likes a sunny location and well drained soil. Dill is an upright, flowering plant and grows to about 3-4 feet. Dill doesn’t transplant well because of a long tap-root, so plant the seeds where you want them to grown, then thin them out. I prefer to purchase a few small pots from the nursery and set them out. Dill self-seeds. Several plants in my garden sprouted from seeds that dropped to the ground last summer.

Dill does not thrive in hot weather. By May and June, the dill plants begin to develop pretty yellow flowers and seed pods develop. I cut the flowers when the seed pods open and dry the seeds pods by placing them in a large paper bag (like the ones from Whole Foods) on the top of my refrigerator. This is a dry, dark location that is out of the way. Later I shake the seeds off the pods. dill - spring2 - 1362964273145 Dill, a member of the carrot family, has been grown for thousands of years. It was mentioned by ancient Egyptians. In medieval Europe a dill bunch was hung over doors to protect against witches. Early on dill had medicinal uses in treatment for indigestion and to sooth colicky babies. Dill is derived from “dilla” or “to lull”, and Old Norse term.

I started growing dill to make dill pickles. Now I’ve discovered that the feathery leaves of dill add a pungent flavor to many other dishes including potato salad, salad dressings, fish and chicken.

Recently, I purchased yet another cookbook–this one was about cooking with quinoa. The recipe for Salmon with a Mustard-Quinoa Crust looked tempting. It was delicious. The crust included dill and parsley–which came from in my garden. The quinoa flakes gave a crunchy texture to the crust, and the blandness of the quinoa let the mustard and dill flavors be prominent. Dried bread crumbs could be used in place of the quinoa flakes.

Look for the cookbook: “Cooking with Quinoa: The Supergrain” by Rena Patten, New Holland Publishers, 2011.The complete recipe is ” Mustard- crusted Salmon with Dill and Lemon”.

Whether or not  you purchase the cookbook, salmon is healthy, easy to prepare. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Make a crust of the quiona or bread crumbs, olive oil and Dijon mustard and add herbs and seasonings of your choice–dill, parsley, garlic. I baked the salmon steak at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes–don’t over cook.


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