Dill is a delicate herb that is popular for pickling and for cooking seafood. While fresh dill does not have a long shelf life, you can use the right storage methods to preserve it for longer periods. Let’s review how to store dill for the freshest possible flavor.
Do not wash dill prior to storing
Dill is particularly susceptible to spoilage due to excessive moisture. Do not wash it unless absolutely necessary. Cases where you may want to make an exception to this rule include dill that has insects in or that is clearly dirty. If you do wash it, dry it as thoroughly as you can by patting it with paper towels before storing it.
Store in the refrigerator
If you have inspected your dill and find no dirt or insects, place the it on a damp paper towel and roll it up. Place the paper towel with the herb into a resealable plastic bag and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. It can last for a week or longer with this storage method.
You can also place the bundle into a jar with water and cover it with a plastic bag. Place the jar with the bag over it into the refrigerator. To keep the dill from being exposed to too much moisture, you can put a paper towel in the bag to soak up any condensation. Another way to do this is to select a container that is tall enough to fit the entire dill bunch within it and that has a tight-fitting lid. Simply add an inch or two of water and place your dill in it then attach the lid. This can keep you from having to clean up spilled water in your refrigerator if the container tips over. With regular water changes, you can use this method to keep dill fresh for up to two weeks.
Your best option when freezing dill is to freeze it whole. After you have made sure that your dill is clean, spread it on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer. Freeze for about thirty minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and place into labeled freezer bags for long term storage. This method of freezing keeps it from being frozen together in a single mass, so you can remove exactly as much as you need when you need it. You can even divide the stems into the exact amounts that you will use in your dishes before freezing.
You can also choose to cut the dill into smaller pieces and freeze it in an ice-cube tray. Place the pieces in the tray and add water. Freeze completely and then place the cubes into freezer bags.
Freezing dill makes it usable for up to a year.
You have a number of drying options including drying dill in a food dehydrator, an oven or in the open air.
In a food dehydrator, lay the leaves in a single layer on each tray and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for herbs. The drying process should take less than a day.
You can also dry it in the oven. Do this by preheating your oven to the lowest possible temperature. Spread the dill in a single layer on a baking sheet and place it into the oven. Start checking it every 30 minutes. The drying time can vary widely depending on humidity.
To dry dill in the open air, place it on a rack in a warm location with low humidity. Turn once every 24 hours or so to ensure even drying.
Another way to dry dill in the open air is simply to hang a bunch of it in a location with moving air and low humidity. This eliminates the need to turn the herb every day. If you choose this method, consider covering the herb with a paper bag into which you have poked holes. This protects the herb from dust and helps it to keep its color by shielding it from sunlight.
Note that drying dill in the open air may take several days.