Dill is a great herb that can be grown in gardens and preserved as a seasoning or spice that can be used to flavor a wide variety of dishes. But how do you freeze dill? And what are some other storage methods that can be used to lengthen its shelf life? We’ll give you easy step-by-step instructions for each method.
What is Dill?
Dill is a green herb that provides feathery green leaves and can be used for flavoring or as a spice in dishes and cooking. It is grown as an annual and is also known as Anethum Graveolens.
Can You Freeze Dill?
Yes, you can freeze dill and we’ll show you how to do that using our step-by-step instructions below along with options that you can choose from according to your intended use after it’s been frozen.
These methods for freezing dill can also be applied to most any leafy green herb that’s used in cooking.
The Best Way to Freeze Fresh Dill
The best way to freeze fresh dill depends on its intended use after it’s been frozen. Will it be used for soups, stews, casseroles, sauces, or dips. We’ll go through each of the potential options below for freezing herbs.
How to Freeze Dill
Following is our step-by-step recommended method for how to freeze dill.
Step 1 – Consider How You Will Use Frozen Dill
The first step when knowing how to freeze dill is to decide how the dill will be used after it’s frozen.
We recommend freezing it in oil if you intend to use for soups or sauces, salads, and dips. Freezing in olive oil works best. Or you might choose to freeze it in water.
Step 2 – Wash
Wash your dill thoroughly in cold water to get rid of any dirt or grime. Sometimes putting it in a colander to be washed can help to keep from losing it down the drain.
Step 3 – Pat Dry
You’ll want to dry your dill before moving forward in the process. To dry the dill, place it on paper towel or a clean towel and pat it dry until the moisture has been removed.
Step 4 – Remove Tough Stems
Remove any of the tough or thick stems by cutting them from the dill by laying them on a cutting board and using a sharp knife.
The thick stems can be discarded. This will give you the best quality tender dill to work with.
Step 5 – Chop
Using a sharp knife, chop the tender dill that remains into the desired sized pieces and prepare it to be frozen.
Step 6 – Freeze
When freezing dill and other herbs, there are a variety of methods that you can choose from depending on how you intend to use it.
You can freeze in ice cube trays, in a plastic bag, on a cookie sheet, or as pureed dill. We outline each of those methods immediately below.
How To Freeze Fresh Herbs
There are four main ways to freeze fresh herbs. This will work for dill as well as other herbs such as basil, parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, and more. Here are the different ways to freeze them.
Ice cube trays. For how to freeze dill in ice cube trays, you can use the step-by-step method that we’ve outlined above for how to freeze dill in ice cube trays. This will also work for other kinds of herbs.
To freeze in ice cube trays with olive oil, wash and chop dill, add the mixture to the trays, and then add olive oil. Don’t fill the trays all the way as you’ll want to leave room for expansion. Then cover with plastic wrap. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and freeze them.
The great thing about freezing in ice cube trays is you can take out just a small portion at a time for use and the rest can remain in the freezer for the future.
Plastic bag. When freezing herbs in a plastic bag, you’ll want to remove the thick stems and wash the usable portion, as well as dry the contents before freezing your herbs.
Use a freezer safe zipped bag to freeze any herbs. Be sure to date and label the packaging so you’ll know what it is later.
Cookie sheet. When freezing herbs on a cookie sheet, we like to think of it as flash freezing them.
To do this, wash, dry, and prepare your herbs then place them in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a zipped freezer bags in the desired portions.
Pureed herbs. Another way to freeze fresh herbs is by pureeing them first. It can also be thought of as freeze as paste. This can be done in a blender or food processor. We like to add a little olive oil and salt to help them puree and to give a little extra flavor enhancement.
Once the herbs are pureed, transfer the desired portions to ice cube trays for freezing. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a zipped freezer bag, label, and place back in the freezer.
How to Defrost Frozen Dill?
To defrost frozen dill there are a couple of ways this can be done. If you have lead time, you can defrost it in the refrigerator. But if you’re short on time, dill can be defrosted at room temperature.
Refrigerator. To defrost dill in the refrigerator, transfer the desired portion to the refrigerator the night before and allow it to thaw. This is our recommended method for defrosting frozen dill.
Room Temperature. When you’re shorter on time, you can place your frozen dill still inside its freezer packaging in a bowl of cold water.
You’ll want to change the cold water every 30 minutes for food safety reasons until the dill is completely thawed and ready to be used.
Use it Frozen. When using dill in soup, casseroles, or other cooked dishes, you can drop it right into the dish still in its frozen state.
When and How to Harvest Dill
Dill can be grown quite easily from seedor plant starts in your home garden. Or you might prefer to purchase it in the produce section at the grocery store. But if you’re harvesting it yourself, you’ll want to know when and how to harvest fresh dill.
Young and tender. Look for dill that is young and tender to harvest. Use a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut the desired stems when harvesting.
Before flower heads form. You’ll want to use stems before the flower heads form. Once the flower heads form, the dill tends to become tougher and isn’t as desirable to use.
Remove flower heads as they’re forming. When tending to your dill and maintaining it, you’ll want to remove any flower heads as they begin to form. This will allow your dill to stay in good shape until it grows to a point where you’re ready to harvest it.
Usually long before pickling season. When dill is planted at the beginning of the gardening season, it’s usually ready to be harvested long before pickling season.
You can also use this method for how to freeze dill heads for pickling, how to freeze dill flowers, and how to freeze dill seed.
The Absolute Best Ways to Keep Dill Fresh
Like most produce, dill tastes the best when it’s fresh. But what are the best ways to keep dill fresh once it’s been harvested? Here are two of our favorite ideas, besides freezing it.
Refrigerate Fresh Dill
Place your harvested dill with the tips in a glass of water, in the refrigerator, then use as convenient. Refrigerated dill should last up to a week, sometimes longer, in the refrigerator.
We have also had good success with putting dill stems in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator.
This helps to keep the air from getting to them, but the key with this method is being sure they’re dry before putting them in the jar, otherwise there’s a significant risk of mold forming, which means the dill has spoiled and needs to be thrown away.
How to Make Dill Vinegar
Making dill vinegar is another way to preserve fresh dill and capture its flavor to give it a longer shelf life.
To make dill vinegar, chop your fresh dill. Then heat 1 cup of vinegar until it’s warm but not yet to the point of boiling.
Add the chopped dill and allow it to cool. After it’s cooled, pour it through a cheese cloth and into a glass bottle for storage. If you like, you can add sprigs of dill to the mixture for an attractive appearance.
How To Dry and Store Dill Weed
For longer term storage, you can dry, and store dill weed for 6 months and in some cases, up to a year.
How to dry fresh dill, you can harvest it, then hang it upside down in a dry location for 1-2 weeks. Once the dill is completely dry, it can be minced, crumbled, or ground with your hands and placed in a glass jar and sealed with a lid. Store it in your pantry for 6months or up to a year.
Uses For Dill You Probably Didn’t Know
Dill is a great herb, with excellent flavor that can be used for a variety of dishes. Dill’s claim to fame tends to be that it’s used in making dill pickles. But did you know that dill can be used to make:
enhance your salad
enhance the flavor of your water
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are frequently asked questions relating to how to freeze dill. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.
How long does frozen dill last?
The length of time that frozen dill lasts depends on how it’s frozen. Frozen dill can be stored in the freezer, generally speaking, for up to 2-3 months.
How should I be using frozen dill cubes?
Frozen dill cubes can be used in soups, sauces, and dips. They tend to work best in cooked or mixed dishes.
Is it better to freeze herbs in water or oil?
Freezing herbs in water or oil is a matter of preference. Your selection can sometimes be determined by how you intend to use the herbs after they’ve been frozen.
And using oil or water works either way. However, if you use oil, we recommend using olive oil.
My defrosted herbs are darker in color. They no longer look fresh. Are they okay?
Yes, sometimes herbs slightly change color after they’ve been frozen and thawed, but that doesn’t affect their ability to be used or the flavor they provide.
If there are no signs of spoilage and they have been handled properly, your defrosted herbs should be fine.
Is there a way to avoid herbs changing color in the freezer?
Sometimes blanching herbs before freezing them can help prevent them from changing color in the freezer. This especially works for herbs such as basil.
Generally, when should I use frozen versus fresh herbs?
We recommend using minced frozen herbs in cooked dishes and fresh herbs in fresh dishes. This is a good rule of thumb to follow, but of course you can deviate from it whenever you wish.
Can you freeze dill pickles?
Why would you want to freeze dill pickles? To answer the question, yes you can, but they don’t turn out well. The best way to preserve dill pickles is by canning them, rather than freezing them.
Can you freeze dill sauce?
Yes, dill sauce can be frozen, to do so we recommend freezing them in ice cube trays so that you can defrost the desired amount at any given time.
How long does it take to freeze dill?
It takes about 1 hour to freeze dill on a cookie sheet, in a freezer bag, or in ice cube trays.