Parsley

Is gharsley.

Ogden Nash

Myself, I prefer coriander...

One of the most popular and widely available of all culinary herbs, parsley is a common ingredient in many cuisines around the world.

There are two main varieties of parsley that are of interest to the cook, curled parsley and flat leaf parsley.

  • Curled parsley Petroselinum crispum is a small annual plant that grows to a height of 30 cm (12 in). It has a dense abundance of tightly furled, bright green leaves that have a distinctive ruffled edge to the leaves. This is the variety that you will most likely encounter at the greengrocers as well as on a plate used as a garnish. It has a milder flavour than flat leaf parsley.

  • Flat leaf or Italian parsley P. crispum neapolitanum grows to the slightly greater height of 40 cm (16 in). It's foliage is comparatively sparser than curled parsley and has, as you would expect, flattened leaves that are arranged into 3 segments. The colour of flat leaf parsley is deep green. This variety tends to be sought out by chefs as it has a more intense flavour.
  • Parsley is native to the Eastern Mediterranean and was known to the classical Greeks, not as a culinary herb, but used symbolically for funeral ceremonies. The herb's well known property as a breath freshener was used by the Romans as early as the second century AD to cover the tell tale aroma of indulging in too much wine.

    In the kitchen parsley has a myriad of uses, as its flavour is complimentary to so many ingredients. It is an essential component in the French melange of herbs, fines herbes. It is one of the major ingredients in the famous Middle Eastern salad tabouleh, it is used in all manner of herb based sauces such as salsa verde and agresto sauce. It can also enliven a whole range of savoury dishes by using as a scatter garnish, either in the classic Italian combination, gremolata, or simply on its own.

    Parsley - Petroselinum sativum

    Parsley is a biennial or perennial herb with a thin white spindle-shaped root and a grooved, glabrous, angular stem. The lower leaves are bi- or tri-ternately divided, while the upper leaves are three-cleft. The leaves are dark green and shiny adn the white or greenish-yellow flowers appear in June to August.

    It is perhaps the most widely used culinary garnish, enhancing the presentation of a vast array of dishes.

    However, it may also be used for it's lesser known medicinal properties. Parsley contains very high levels of vitamins A and C, and as such will soothe, cleanse and heal the skin where irritation and inflamation are present.

    A parsley infusion or tincture can be substituted for water in recipes for skin creams and balms. It will be extremely effective if combined with rose, chickweed, lavender or chamomile.

    Parsley is one of the preferred foods of the swallowtail butterfly larvae, along with fennel.

    I have a 6 or 7 year old perpetual parsley patch under my butterfly bush and another patch 2 or 3 years old in my cutting garden. This was accomplished by allowing some of the second year plants (it is a biennial) to go to seed and they replant for the next years first year plants on their own.

    It makes a lovely ground cover and provides food for the caterpillars, rabbits and me. It is winter hardy and although it will lie down and look dead in a deep freeze it perks up again with a bit of a warm day. I harvest and use it year round.

    Normally parsley is considered difficult to propagate because germination of the seeds takes so long but in this manner I let Mother Nature take care of it all.


    Update: 6/15/03
    Parsley essence by sneff is THE BEST. I made it but I'm no chef so I don't have sea salt or fish sauce. I used canned broth and Morton's salt but my own freshly picked parsley and it is good enough to eat with a spoon! I'll get fish sauce and try that but let me tell you, this stuff is good even the simple way.

    I froze it in a zip lock bag (not having a restaurant full of patrons to serve it to) laid flat so I can break off bits as needed to use in the deep dark winter! See freezing fresh herbs.

    It is a lovely forest green.

    Pars"ley (?), n. [OE. persely, persil, F. persil, L. petroselinum rock parsley, Gr. ; stone + parsley. Cf. Celery.] Bot.

    An aromatic umbelliferous herb (Carum Petroselinum), having finely divided leaves which are used in cookery and as a garnish.

    As she went to the garden for parsley, to stuff a rabbit. Shak.

    Fool's parsley. See under Fool. -- Hedge parsley, Milk parsley, Stone parsley, names given to various weeds of similar appearance to the parsley. -- Parsley fern Bot., a small fern with leaves resembling parsley (Cryptogramme crispa). -- Parsley piert Bot., a small herb (Alchemilla arvensis) formerly used as a remedy for calculus.

     

    © Webster 1913.

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