Also known as dill weed, this is a green herb with wiry, thread-like leaves that grow in clusters. It has a strong, distinctive taste that is like a combination of fennel, anise and celery, with warm, slightly bitter undertones.
Fresh dill is available from supermarkets and ethnic grocers. Dried dill is a perfectly acceptable substitute to fresh, and is even preferred in some Middle Eastern dishes.
Keep fresh dill refrigerated for up to one week.
Use only the leaves of dill, and discard the thick stems. This herb is popular in Scandinavian and Eastern European cookery, and is added to soups, grilled and boiled fish, gravlax, potatoes and vinegars. In the USA, pickled cucumbers and gherkins are flavoured with dill; in India, it is used as a vegetable in regional dishes. It is combined with yoghurt and soured cream in Greece and Turkey, and with broad beans, rice and koftas in Iran.