Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dillicious!

Raised on homecooked, German meals, I didn't grow up with a huge array of herbs and spices. Dill, however, was one herb that was part of our regular repertoire and to this day, it's still one of my favourites.

The dill in our garden is at its peak.  It's time to harvest, freeze, share and enjoy!
We probably have over 50 plants just like this that have self-seeded themselves.  We've given away and tried transplanting several of them to friends and our school butterfly garden (black swallowtail butterflies love dill).  There is still a lot of dill!
Black swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on dill, we've been watching this guy grow in our garden. 
Melanie took this bunch to sell at a plant stand when the Transition Winnipeg held their walking tour of the Sustainable South Osborne Community Coop's gardening initiatives.


I took another bunch to freeze, so I can have dill all year long.  A couple of years ago, I tried drying the dill and using it throughout the year.  It dried well, but the flavour just didn't hold up.  Freezing, I find, works really well and the flavour stays true.
Drying dill in 2010, it worked, but the flavour didn't last long.
I much prefer chopping and freezing the dill.

But what I really love, is dill sauce on potatoes.  Ideally, on freshly dug new potatoes - but it's a little early in the season for those.  We made do with fresh dill sauce on big potatoes served with ham and red cabbage - a classic German supper.
Here's our recipe for a bechamel (white sauce) with dill.

Dill Bechamel Sauce

2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of flour
1 cup of warmed milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsps chopped dill

Instructions:
  1. In a small saucepan, gently melt butter (do not let brown).
  2. Sprinkle in flour and mix well.  
  3. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  4. Gradually stir in the warm milk, whisking thoroughly to ensure no lumps.
  5. Cook sauce over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  6. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and dill and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Serve over potatoes, spaetzle, fish, or schnitzel.
Enjoy and let us know if and how you use your dill.














2 comments:

Susan said...

Love your blog! Our family is also German and love the dill. My mom always froze the dill for the stronger flavour but last year I tried drying dill in the microwave and it works really well. Just spread the dill on some paper towel on a plate (not too thick) and then microwave it for about a minute. Then check it and keep microwaving in short bursts of 15 - 30 seconds until done (you can tell it's done when it easily crumbles between your fingers). Then crush and jar. This fast drying method preserves both the flavour and colour much better than conventional drying. I learned this trick from a microwave flower drying book years ago. I have a spicy pork recipe which uses a tbsp of dill in the marinade and despite being added to some very potent other flavours, the dill comes through nicely. I also love to use this on tuna sandwiches.

Getty Stewart said...

Thanks for sharing your method. We had potato salad(with dill, of course) and bratwurst last night - another German classic!