It feels like spring when asparagus or green bean are fresh and plentiful in the grocery stores. If you live in a climate where dill overwinters or you have a “mother” plant that has come back once again in even greater size and glory, you might have something to harvest now. Let this post inspire a visit to the garden to take inventory of those herbs making an appearance. This is one of my go to recipes for unexpected guests. It dresses up a basic dinner of rice, green salad and protein.
Green Bean Salad With Dill
2 TBSP of capers
2 TBSP of finely chopped pickled/fermented red onion
3 TBSP of finely chopped fresh dill weed
Salt and pepper to taste
3 TBSP of olive oil
3 TBSP of the seasoned vinegar of your choice
3 cups of just cooked green beans. You will want to remove the ends before steaming and pay attention to that sweet spot when they are just done.
You can serve this side dish warm or chill it overnight to allow the flavors to blend and intensify. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Garnish will generous portions of dill weed.
Dill is typically an annual plant, sometimes biennial. It has a hollow, finely grooved stem that grows 1-3 feet high. This appears striped green with dull light blue areas. Leaves are bluish green, bipinnate, with filiform leaflets. Each leaf dilates at its base to wrap around and join the the stem as a sheath. The flowers are flat compound umbels of tiny yellow flowers that mature into narrow, oval, ribbed seeds.
Historically this plant has been used to treat colic, heartburn, hiccups, stomach cramps/ache, gas, low appetite, indigestion, diarrhea, insomnia, low breast milk supply, colds, flu/viruses, coughs/congested lungs, bad breath, and nightmares. It regulates metabolism, increases circulation and moves stagnation. It has been used as a wash externally to treat lice and hemorrhoids.
Latin name: Anethum graveolens
Botanical family: Umbelliferae/Apiaceae (parsley, carrot)
Parts Used: leaves/tops, flowers, seeds
Energetics: pungent/spicy, bitter, warm
Spiritual/Emotional uses: Supports the ability to let go and make a new start in life. Allows us to have a fresh point view and generate innovative ideas. Brings clarity, focus, optimism, energy, and attention to goals and projects that are in their beginning stages.
Contraindications: Although mild enough to use with infants, this plant should not be used medicinally in pregnancy due to its high levels of volatile oils.
This blog is a lot of work. I have to remind myself of the true return I continue to get from doing it. I am forced to research, learn, and be creative when it comes to the more “humble” plants around me. As I find more ways to use what grows in my backyard as food or medicine, I support the values that I hold dear. I model a lifestyle that is local, affordable, environmental, and sustainable. My knowledge base continues to grow and expand. After more than 40 years I am still surprised when I make an important new discovery.