Growing dill in your garden this spring and summer? Learning how to save dill seeds is so easy, you’ll never buy dill seeds or plants again! All you need is a little bit of patience and a paper plate. Let’s get started.
Why save dill seed?
Dill seed has a variety of uses both in the kitchen and in the garden. In the kitchen dill seed can be a flavorful seasoning for any soups and stews as well as pickled vegetables. Serious Eats has some great suggestions for how to use dill seed in the kitchen. Find their article here.
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In the garden, dill is a wonderful companion plant that can help to keep pests at bay. (See my guide to companion plants.) It’s also an herb that adds a bit of height and whimsy to the garden area. The delicate fronds of dill are so dainty and lovely that it’s hard not to admire them. The dill itself can be used in pickling as well as fish marinades and compound butters. If you’re nervous to grow dill in the garden because you immediately associate it with the strong flavor of dill pickles, don’t be! Remember that pickles soak in a dill-infused brine for quite a while, so the flavor is much more intense (and there’s vinegar, so…).
Drying out dill plants
The most effective way to save dill seeds is to let the plants themselves dry out in the garden. I won’t say I’m a lazy gardener, but I am practical. If I can save the step of trimming off the blooms and placing them in a paper bag to dry, then I will.
Let your dill plants produce their beautiful yellow blooms, then simply wait. Your dill plants will be ready to have seeds collected when they are brown and dry.
Don’t want to wait that long? Once plants have finished blooming, but aren’t yet dried out, cut blooms with a length of stem off of the plant. Place the blooms in a brown paper bag with stems sticking out of the top of the bag. Tie up bag and hang for a week or more until dill is brown and dry.
Harvesting dill seed
Once plants are dry, start harvesting the dill seed. Grab a paper plate and one of the dill heads. Use your fingers and begin rubbing the seeds off of the ends of the plant. The seeds should easily come off and land on the paper plate. Repeat this process with all of your dried dill plants until you’ve gotten all of the seeds onto the plate.
Discard the stems and the remnant of the dill plant in your compost pile. (See my guide on how to start composting!)
How to Store Dill Seed
Dill seed can easily be stored in a glass jar with a well fitted lid, if you’re going to use it for use in the kitchen. (I like this spice jar set that includes labels and a funnel.)
For storing to plant seeds later, use a simple envelope marked with the seed type and date or use a small plastic container. For more ideas on seed storage, check out my seed storage post.
More seed saving ideas
- Paper Plate
- Dill Plant
- Envelope or Plastic Container
- Begin by letting the flower heads on the dill plant dry out. They will be dry when they are brown and "crunchy" to the touch.
- Trim off the seed heads with a bit of stem connected and place on a paper plate.
- Over the paper plate, begin rubbing the ends of the seed heads to release the dill seeds.
- Once all of the seeds are removed, pick out any stems or miscellaneous pieces.
- Store dill seeds in a marked envelope or a sealed container in a cool, dry place. Or place in a glass spice jar for use in the kitchen.
If you don't want to allow the blooms to dry out completely outdoors. Trim them off the plant and place in a paper bag. Let stay in the paper bag until completely dry, then proceed with the instructions for removing the seeds.