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Cooking Healthy with Dill

Spring, being a time when we usually like to lighten the foods we eat, always brings one of "The World's Healthiest Foods," dill to my mind. Its light flavor is very fresh tasting and enhances delicate foods nicely without overpowering them. I particularly enjoy dill with seafood, such as salmon, trout, sea bass, or scallops.

Dill has been used for its culinary and medicinal properties for millennia. Traditionally, it was used to soothe the stomach after meals. Now we know dill supports intestinal health by preventing bacterial overgrowth and neutralizing some of the carcinogens in charcoal grill and cigarette smoke. Dill is yet another fine example of the powerful health benefits to be derived from culinary herbs. A perfect stomach reliever would be a little chopped dill mixed with plain low fat yogurt. For an in-depth profile on the health benefits of this delicate power food, read our profile: dill. You'll be surprised by how much this herb has to offer you!

Select feathery green dill whose aromatic scent you can easily discern. When you get home, wrap it in a damp towel or place the stems in a container of water, and refrigerate. Immediately before cooking, wash fresh dill under running water and pat dry. Or you can put dill leaves in ice cube trays, cover with water or broth, and freeze to have on hand for soups and stews.

When I cook with dill, I use the herb as fresh as I possibly can. I chop it just before using and add it at the end of cooking to keep its fine flavor. It's best if you can avoid cooking dill at all and just add it to sauces or pastas after your dish has been removed from the heat.

Dill is particularly good in cold sauces, such as the one in our recipe, Steamed Salmon with Asparagus and Mustard Dill Sauce. This recipe is a great example of using dill to complement salmon, giving it a light refreshing taste, perfect for the spring and summer months.

Dill also adds elegance and delightful flavor to egg salad and makes a teriffic vegetable dip when blended with 4-6 ounces plain tofu, a little chopped onion, a teaspoon or two of capers and of mustard, and a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Experiment and have fun with this wonderful herb!

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