The ‘soul’ in Dill Rossi Pickles

Kimchi, a fermented vegetable that has been pickled and processed, is loved by the public for its crisp, delicious taste and rich nutrition. Kimchi is made from different ingredients and processed in different ways around the world. For example, China’s kimchi, a wide selection of materials, a variety of seasonal vegetables can be used as raw materials, its taste salty, sour, crisp, fresh and delicious; Another example is the well-known Korean kimchi, which is mainly made of Chinese cabbage. It is bright red and white and tastes sour and spicy. In Europe and the United States and other western countries, people most like to make pickle with cucumber, its taste sour, sweet and crisp, very appetizing.
Apart from the different raw materials, one of the most important reasons why kimchi in different regions has such colorful flavors is that they use their own “soul” seasonings in the making process. For example, Chinese kimchi is made with sichuan peppercorns and star anise, While Korean kimchi is made with red pepper. The soul of Western kimchi is a dill seed.
Wild fennel that is not fennel

When it comes to dill, most people are unfamiliar with the name dill. However, if mention its alias, such as soil fennel, wild fennel, foreign fennel, people feel not so unfamiliar, because fennel this kind of spice plant in daily life application is very common, the public is more familiar with. Since dill is also known as soil fennel or wild fennel, does that mean it is wild fennel?
Before we answer that question, let’s get another one out of the way: What is fennel? There are actually two kinds of fennel, and to distinguish them we usually call them anise and cumin respectively. Although both are commonly used spices, they are completely different plants. Anise is an evergreen tree of the genus Anise in the family Anise. It is distributed in Fujian, Taiwan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Yunnan and other places in China, and also in Vietnam. Its fruit for the aggregate fruit, composed of 8, 9 follicles, follicles more than octagonal, so the name “star anise”. People often use its fruit as a flavoring. Fennel is a perennial herbaceous plant of aniseed genus in umbelliferae, which is distributed in northwest, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi and northeast China. Its fruit is long round oval double hanging fruit; Leaves and fruits have a distinctive aroma. Not only its fruit can be used as spices, young leaves can also be used as vegetables.
What kind of plant is dill? Dill is an annual or biennial herb of dill genus in umbelaceae, originated from India and southern Europe. It likes warm and humid climate, neither high temperature resistance, nor cold resistance, drought tolerance is slightly stronger, and soil requirements are not high. It is widely planted in northeast China, Gansu, Sichuan, Guangdong and Guangxi.
Dill plants are relatively low, usually between 60 and 90 cm tall, smooth and hairless, and have a strong fragrance. Its stem is single, erect, cylindrical, with long, thin stripes. Its leaves are bright green in color and vary greatly in shape. The basal leaves long in the lower part of the stem are wide ovate, with three to four pinnate divisions. They have petioles and broad leaf sheaths at the base of petioles, with membranous edges. The upper part of the stem has smaller leaves, no petioles, only leaf sheaths, feathery, and less frequent division, and eventually filamentous lobes.
Dill flowers are beautiful and unique, usually in compound umbels of bifidual branches. The entire compound umbel is 5 — 15 cm in diameter, consisting of 10 — 25 spoke umbel, without involucral bracts; Each umbel has 15 to 25 small flowers, yellow petals, midrib often brown, uvula blunt, nearly rectangular, curved; Style short, first straight then curved, base conical to cushion. The fruit is ovoid elliptic double hanging fruit, and the seeds are brown and small and round and flat when they mature. The dorsal edge is thin but obviously protruding, the lateral edge is gray and white, and the endosperm abdomen is straight. It tastes spicy and sweet, similar to fennel.

Anise (star anise)

Obviously, in terms of plant morphology, dill and star anise, which we are familiar with, are completely different plants, and it is very easy to distinguish them. However, compared with cumin of the same family and different genera, both of them have bright green feathery leaves, yellow cymose flowers, and tiny grain like seeds. Therefore, in terms of plant type, leaves, flowers, and fruits, dill and cumin are very similar and easy to confuse. Thus, several nicknames for dill are derived from cumin, not cumin.
So how do you tell the difference between dill and cumin? It can usually be distinguished from the following three aspects.
First, look at the plant size. Dill plants are shorter, with a maximum of 1.2 m; Fennel is relatively tall, reaching a height of more than 1.5 meters.
Second, identify the seed shape. Dried dill seeds and cumin seeds have obvious differences in appearance: dill seeds not only have obvious main edges, there are two wings like gray side edges, a bit like sunflower seeds at first glance; Fennel seeds, on the other hand, have no lateral ridges, only five prominent but not obvious main ridges, which are more like cumin or rice.


Finally, consider the difference in smell. The smell of cumin is intense, with a hint of sweetness in it; Dill, though more spiny, has something of a mixture of cream and rue, milder and richer than dill and more soothing.
The lucky weed of the world

Dill is a very old herb, which first appeared in India and spread to European countries along the Mediterranean thousands of years ago.
A mixture of dill and coriander was used 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt to relieve pain. The ancient Greeks and Romans also liked to use dill to calm themselves. The Ancient Romans, in particular, regarded dill as a symbol of luck, believing that if you encounter this plant outside, you will have good luck throughout the day. They named this lucky weed Anethon, the Latin name for dill, Anethum graveolens L. That’s where it comes from.
The common English name for Dill is Dill, which is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Dylle or Dylla. By the middle Ages, dill had become a very common fragrant plant and was highly respected by people. At the time, dill was believed not only to be a spice that could be warm applied to help people sleep, but also to be used as a charm against witchcraft, because dill had magic powers to dispel witchcraft, and burning dill could disperse thunder clouds. Its appellation evolved to Dill, meaning calm, putting a baby to sleep, etc. There is an old Icelandic word Dilla, which also means to calm, to calm, to pacify children. In the 8th century, the Emperor Charles the Great, the founder of Charlemagne empire, who was obsessed with dill in Europe, vigorously promoted the cultivation of dill throughout the country, which further expanded the planting area of this kind of “lucky grass” in Europe.

With the development of The Times, both in the East and the West, the understanding of dill is not limited to the single concept of “lucky grass”, but gives it more symbolic significance. In the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties in China, in qu Dajun’s poem Planting Green Onions, one of the “three masters of lingnan”, dill was a vivid portrayal of daily life. He reproduced the scene of selecting various spices when making spring slice with the line of “every inch of kindness and kindness, dill was mixed on the plate”. In contemporary American poetess Mary Oliver’s poem “Letters From Home”, dill is also a symbol of the good life. In her poem, she writes: “I read of vibrant melons/heaped by the door, in a basket/filled with fennel, rosemary and dill.”
The most famous literary work on the subject of dill is the short story dill Pickles by Catherine Mansfield, a British New Zealand writer. In her novel, she tells the story of a couple who meet again after many years, but can never find the same happy feeling. In the novel, Katherine Mansfield uses symbolism to give multiple meanings to the dill pickle. By virtue of the complex taste of sour, sweet, bitter and hot of the dill pickle, it implies the life changes of the heroine, and reflects the bitterness of the heroine’s life and the sour love. At the same time, it also indicates that the heroine is only the seasoning of the hero’s life, which fully reflects the hero’s emptiness and indifference to the past love. After a long time, the original sweet love has long been like a dill pickle, become extremely sour.
A spicy and mild seasoning

In Our country, the reputation of dill seems to be far less than sichuan pepper, cinnamon, star anise and other fragrant spices come big; But dill is a popular and widely used condiment in European, American, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.
Dill is not only rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, dietary fiber and other nutrients, but also rich in volatile oil components, so the whole plant can send out a fragrant smell similar to parsley, sweet taste, soft but not stimulating, chewing carefully, and a cool taste. The fresh stems and leaves, as well as the dried seeds, are very suitable for use in pickles and stews, seafood, fish, eggs and other dishes. In addition, adding dill to soups and salads will also add some wonderful flavor and make people linger on.
In Europe and The United States, dill pickle is a very common auxiliary dish, mostly made of cucumbers and dill as the main ingredients. The seemingly sour taste hides light sweet and spicy, which increases appetite. As the “soul” seasoning of western pickles, dill plays an irreplaceable role in the minds of Europeans and Americans. The pickles are usually made by soaking bright green cucumbers in brine; Then, depending on personal taste, key spices such as dill leaves and garlic are added, followed by pickle juice; Leave the bottle in a cool, dry place for about half a month to make a sour dill pickle. Keep your dill pickles ready to use in the fridge all year round, delicious and convenient.
As a spicy seasoning, the special smell of dill can not only neutralize the smell of seafood, especially fish, but also mask the odor of meat. Therefore, western chefs always add dill to enhance flavor when cooking fish dishes. When cooking meat, people in northern Africa also add dill fruit in moderation.

Fresh dill leaves are fragrant and crisp, perfect for raw food. One of the most famous raw dishes in Northern Europe is dill salmon. This dish combines the rich, creamy taste of salmon with the soft, delicate scent of dill leaves, creating a wonderful taste sensation, especially on a hot summer day when appetite is not at its best. In Greece and some parts of Asia, dill is regarded as a tender seasonal vegetable and is often served with rice, which is also a unique way to eat.
In addition, dill mixed into lettuce salad, or sprinkled into soup, can have a very significant flavor effect. Dill and salad sauce can be perfect match, chopped dill and mixed in salad sauce, is a very common sauce preparation method in western food. Dill sauce is a good accompaniment to lighter fish, such as tuna, salmon and other deep-sea fish. It must be noted that once fresh dill is heated, its fragrance can not stay for a long time. If dill is added too early in cooking soup, its fragrance will soon be lost. Therefore, people generally add dill to food before turning off the fire at the end of cooking, so as to enhance the effect of fragrance and flavor.
Two incoming dill seeds

Due to the popularity of fennel, cumin and other similar spices, dill is not popular in China. At best, it can only be regarded as a niche and personalized spice. In fact, this kind of spice in our country’s application history is quite long, at least should be more than 1600 years.
In the Local Chronicles of The Jin Dynasty, Guangzhou Ji, written by Pei Yuan, there is such a record: “I was born in the Persian state. The color of the horse was black and heavy, and that of the dill brown and light. Good zi food taste, eat more lossless. That is, do not eat with ferula and take away its taste.” This shows that, as early as in the Jin Dynasty, people had a clear understanding of cumin (qin zi) and dill, two kinds of spices from Persia, and accurately mastered the characteristics of their sexual taste.
Obviously, both dill and cumin were introduced into China from ancient Persia through the ancient Silk Road, which was opened as early as over 2,000 years ago in the Western Han Dynasty. Therefore, dill was probably introduced into China even earlier. This view was supported by The American orientalist Old Laufel. In his book China and Iran, he speculated that the word “dill” came from Middle Persian through etymological examination. This shows from another Angle that dill was introduced into China by land from ancient Persia.
Interestingly, nowadays, the cultivation of dill in China is mainly concentrated in gansu in the north, Sichuan in the southwest and Guangdong and Guangxi in the south. If dill was introduced into China from Persia via the Silk Road, it is more reasonable to spread and grow in northwest China. Why would it spread in Guangdong and Guangxi regions thousands of miles away? Therefore, there is another view that in the Tang Dynasty, dill was introduced into China again from Indonesia and other Southeast Asian regions. Its most direct basis is the tang Dynasty traditional Chinese medicine scholar Chen Zang in “the collection of Materia Medica” in the book recorded content: “Dill born Buddha oath country, as the Horse qinzi, spicy.” The book mentioned the Buddhist oath of the kingdom should be the death of Sri Buddha, it is located in the 7th – 13th century Sumatra Island, Indonesia, an ancient country.
In his book “Tujing Materia Medica” written by Su Song, a pharmacologist in the Northern Song Dynasty, there is such a record about dill: “It is found in both lingnan and short routes today. March, April seedling, flower real big snake bed and clusters, spicy, June, July to pick. Today people multi-purpose and five flavor, do not smell medicine.” This shows that after dill was introduced into south China from Southeast Asia, it was once widely popularized in Lingnan region. However, at that time, people still regarded dill as a condiment and did not realize its medicinal value.

Indeed, dill has been used as a condiment since its introduction to China. There is no detailed description of how this spice worked in cooking in the literature before the Northern Song Dynasty. It was not until the emergence of a gourmand named Lin Hong in the Southern Song Dynasty that he gave a specific record of the application of dill in cuisine cooking in his work “Shan Jia Qing Pu”. Shan Jia Qing Pu contains 104 recipes, including “Yu Guan Lung” and “Man Shan Xiang”, both of which use dill as seasoning. The practice is believed to have come from the imperial kitchen, and is a vegetarian version of the popular “goat lung-filling”. The recipe of “fragrant mountain” comes from Zheng Weibin, a good friend of Lin Hong. The specific method is: at the last step of cooking the soup, put the dill powder, ginger powder, pepper powder, fennel powder, oil and sauce together, then cover the pot and stew, and you can get the effect of fragrant mountain.

In the Yuan Dynasty, the application of dill in gourmet cooking reached an unprecedented height. At the time of an anonymous books home will head kind of corpora, includes the practice of more than 400 food, there are 26 way using dill, sauces, pickling, bacon, meat products, hun vegetable Zha, salad, etc all kinds of practice, even at the end of a compound called “wait TianChu aniseed content” spices formula, also appeared the figure of dill.
Good medicine for invigorating the stomach and calming the nerves

Dill is not only a special seasoning, but also a good medicine with special effects, which is widely used in the medical field. Westerners’ understanding of the medicinal value of dill was obviously much earlier than ours. As early as 1500 BC, the ancient Egyptians already knew the use of dill as a preservative; They also added dill to their prescription for painkillers. The ancient Greeks also recognized the sedative effect of dill, so they liked to cover their eyes with the leaves of dill before sleeping, in order to enable them to sleep peacefully.

As an exotic plant, although dill joined the ranks of Chinese medicinal materials relatively late, Chinese medicine has a thorough understanding of its medicinal value. In the pharmaceutical literature of the Five Dynasties period, Rihua Zi Zhujia Materia Medica, dill has been “invigorating the spleen, appetizing qi, warming intestines, killing fish poison. Replenishing dirty water and strengthening muscles and bones, treating kidney qi “records. Li Xun, a Persian herbologist of the five Dynasties in the late Tang Dynasty, also recorded the effect of dill in “Sea Medicine Materia Medica” as “the main qi, digestion, stomach warming, good taste, more food without damage”. However, the means of information communication in ancient times were relatively backward, so that in the Northern Song Dynasty, pharmacologists like Su Song still believed that people’s understanding of the application value of dill was limited to “multi-use and five-flavor, not smelling medicine”.
When Ming dynasty, a famous medical experts li shizhen through a large number of references predecessors’ account, in the compendium of materia medica of dill medicinal value is comprehensive and detailed records, points out that the fruit of dill, sheen in taste and warm in property, with appetizers spleen, cold pain, insecticidal xiaoshi, gas anti-nausea effect, can set the waist of the tooth ache, poison of the fish, Make this kind of foreign Chinese medicinal material get due attention. After Li Shizhen, descriptions of dill began to appear frequently in many pharmaceutical literatures of Ming and Qing Dynasties.
In our country folk, dill is commonly used for breastfeeding women, or for the treatment of gastrointestinal discomfort in children. A little more elegant, but also the seeds of dill fried after grinding, with warm yellow rice wine into paste, while the hot compress in the pain place, three times a day, the same day can effectively relieve the symptoms. In addition, with warm wine to serve fried dill fruit, can treat waist sprain pain. Uygur people in Xinjiang also commonly use dill seed to treat a variety of diseases.
Modern medicine has proved that the refined dill essential oil has soothing and astringent properties as well as anti-spasticity properties. It can be used to treat a variety of diseases, and can effectively eliminate tension, calm emotions, relieve headaches and dizziness, and relieve the phenomenon of constant sweating caused by excessive tension. It is important to note that dill oil should be avoided directly on pregnant women and infants due to its irritating chemicals.