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I am coming to the end of my reviews of the herbs that we grow in our garden, that even I can get involved in, and I am not green fingered in the slightest. One herb that we have had every year, and in fact although it doesn't keep all year round outside, can be frozen and therefore used all year round, is parsley.
Parsley can easily be grown in either a pot of in the ground. We have always grown it in a pot with great success. This is a herb that doesn't come every year like some others, and therefore it is necessary to either get a new herb plant on a yearly basis, or go for the much cheaper option of growing your own from seed, which we do. Sowing parsley is usually down around Spring time, with it being able to be used around the start of the summer, although this year has been so poor weather wise that are plant isn't quite ready yet, but should be in the next couple of weeks. The great thing about the parsley is that is lasts right through the Autumn, when you can then chuck it in the compost heap. Some people keep their parsley on their windowsill, thus extending its life into the harsh winter months.
Parsley, like most of the other herbs that we grow in our garden does not require much work, which is why I can get involved as well! Regular watering and some liquid plant food is ample to keep it in its prime. Ensure you soil is rich and there really shouldn't be many difficulties growing it. Sometimes you will notice a few of the leaves getting a little yellow, and these should be discarded rather than being used.
There are a couple of varities of parsley, however the one that we have always grown is the 'moss curled' variety, which is easily recognised by its frilly looking leaves. You also get a flat leaved non frilly variety called 'plain leaved'.
Unlike some herbs that we grow Parsely is not really one that dries well, and so we always take in handfuls, chop it up finely using special herb scissors, cross cut using ordinary scissors, or even use a pestle and mortar and then put it into little freezer bags to keep us going through the months when we don't have it fresh in the gardeb - thus we end up with a supply of parsley all year round, never having to buy it. Last summer, for the first time, I also tried (with success) making some parsely butter and freezing it. I found this exceptionally useful, when I could just take it out of the freezer and leave it to melt over some freshly boiled baby potatoes - yum yum. We don't have a huge freezer though, and one of the our trays is usually completely full of parsley, so if you want a year round supply make sure you have the room to store it!
I find parsley to be a particularly useful herb. I use it, as I said, over baby potatoes with butter, I use it in sauces, in risotto dishes and very often in soups.
All in all, again if you are wanting to get in on the 'grow your own' culture that seems to be thriving in these economically challenging times, then growing your own herbs such as parsley is a great way to get started.
Used more times in recipes than Gordon Ramsay can add naughty words in to one sentence (that's quite a few!), parsley is recommended to be home grown for anyone who has a plant pot, a windowsill and who likes to cook from scratch. I'm against the shop bought pots of parsley with an obscene amount of plants in a small space no bigger than a yoghurt pot, they tend to die after a few days if you haven't thinned them out and also due to the way their growth is "forced" in artificial conditions, I find that parsley grown in this manner doesn't taste as good as the type you can lovingly nurture on your kitchen windowsill.
I'll try to break the review down into sections, each section containing some facts which you may find useful about parsley. I'll be using the "packet to plate" cycle to describe parsley from growing it from seed to using it as an ingredient and also covering some of the more slightly unconventional uses parsley has.
I've managed to grow curly and flat leafed parsley indoors all year round in fairly typical potting compost sowed at a shallow depth in windowsill based yoghurt pots - I put two seeds in per pot. It takes a week or so for green shoots to be visible above the compost, always an exciting moment! (I know, I need to get out more, don't feel sorry for me - its my wife that deserves the sympathy for putting up with a man that gets giddy when the seeds sprout). You can pick up a pack of parsley seeds (try saying that after a glass of parsley and elderflower wine!) for as cheap as 76p, and with a few hundred seeds in most packs - that's a lot of parsley over a potentially long time.
Parsley is a biennial, in layman's terms this means it will last for two years and goes to seed in it's second year.
Parsley seeds can be sown outside around mid-spring time, give them a helping hand by soaking the seeds overnight first in tepid water to help them "sprout". If you think you have perhaps planted too much parsley and have more than you can eat, dry, preserve etc, then fear not as curly leafed parsley is quite an attractive "architectural" plant and looks good interspersed amongst the rest of the garden. My eldest daughter remarked that it looks like green zombie brains, quite a worry as she is only five and little girls are supposed to be into daisy chains and butterflies - or I am just old fashioned? Actually, I found it hard to disagree with her!
CARING FOR PARSLEY
Parsley is fairly hardy and should survive most of the worst our winters can throw at it. It prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade and likes a fairly rich and well drained soil. My "outside" batch of parsley which was planted in April has been given a couple of top dressings of home made compost up to now and seems to respond well to this by giving me extra growth flourishes. Every now and again I will trim off the odd dead stalk or leaf just to prevent disease from taking hold on these weakened "entry points" of the plant.
USING PARSLEY - CULLINARY
There isn't much you can't add parsley to - soups, stews, vegetables, meats, casseroles - its such a versatile herb. Next time you have a pub lunch, I bet 0.00000001 % of my Dooyoo miles that parsley will feature in the meal somewhere, either as a garnish or more integrally with the meal. Parsley loses some of its strength when dried, but takes to drying well and also being stored frozen. Top tip - chop up fresh parsley, add to the compartments in an ice cube tray with some water to make frozen parsley ice cubes, then when you next need to add some parsley into a stew or soup etc you can pop out an ice cube and add to the cooking pot which will melt and release the parsley.
Also, please bear in mind that the Italian style flat leafed parsley is quite stronger than it's green zombie brained counterpart, especially if using fresh leaves, flat leafed has quite a kick and can be potent if over-used!
USING PARSLEY - OTHER USES
Apparently, parsley intake can aid with menstrual problems (I won't elaborate on these as I'm easily embarrassed), indigestion troubles and can be used as breath freshener. Also, I believe that parsley, or an extract of parsley, can be given to women after birth to help breast milk to form and assist the uterus to contract back down to normal size. As with all things medicinal though, please don't take the word of this garden obsessed fool on Dooyoo before taking parsley medicinally - always check with your doctor or a health professional.
Overall, parsley is a fairly easy plant to grow and maintain and considering the huge amount of recipes its flavours make a welcome addition to, I can thoroughly recommend you grab a pack of seeds and get sowing!
I really enjoy cooking and like to use a variety of herbs and spices in my recipes. One herb I would not be without is Parsley. Parsley can be used in numerous ways, is great for your health and looks attractive too. I grow Parsley in my garden so have a ready supply all summer. In the winter I buy parsley in pots to grow on my kitchen windowsill.
There are two main varieties of Parsley, curly leaf and flat leaf. Flat leaf Parsley has a much stronger flavour and is usually used in Italian cooking. Both varieties can be used in recipes that call for Parsley. The shape of the leaves differs with curly leaf having curly leaves, as the name suggests, and flat leaf Parsley having more of a serrated edge leaf.
It is possible to grow Parsley from seed although it can be difficult. There is an old English folk law that says that only Witches can grow Parsley, probably as getting the seeds to germinate is not easy! If you want to grow from seed, then you will need to soak your seeds first before sowing in pots. The seeds will need a constant really warm temperature. Once the seedlings are a few inches high they should be thinned out. The seedlings can be planted outside from about March. The plants like well watererd, rich soil .They like to grown in full sun but will do well in partial shade as long as they have good, rich soil.
If you prefer then you can buy well established plants from a nursery. I chose to buy my plants in this way. Parsley does like rich soil so I recommend you dig the soil well and add some fertilizer before planting. Once planted Parsley is very low maintenance. I only water if the weather is very dry; otherwise I just weed around my plants as needed. I love the bright green leaves of Parsley and think there is something very pleasing about the shape of their leaves, whichever variety you choose to grow.
Parsley plants are available from supermarkets all year and the plants grow well on a kitchen windowsill. Parsley growing in pots will need to be kept well watered. During the winter I buy my Parsley in this way so I always have a fresh supply.
What can Parsley be used for?
Most people will be aware that Parsley goes well with fish or in Parsley sauce. However it has so many more uses and benefits!
Parsley is actually a native of the southern Mediterranean regions where it has been cultivated for over 2000 years. The ancient Greeks used to use Parsley to make crowns to award to the winners of their sports games. The Greeks also believed that Parsley was sacred and would use it to decorate tombs. However it was the Romans who probably used Parsley to garnish their food.
Parsley can be used in sauce and goes well with fish. If you don't want your white sauce to turn green then you should just use the stalks instead of the leaves. I actually like the green colour!
Parsley is an important ingredient in Tabouleh, a dish that is really good for you as well as tasty! The flat leaf variety is the best to use in this dish with its stronger, sweeter flavour.
Parsley can also be chopped finely and mixed with butter. Parsley butter goes well with fish dishes. I also like to mix chopped Parsley with finely crushed garlic and use it to make my own garlic bread. Simply take a baguette and make slits along its length. Spread the butter into each slit, wrap in foil and bake in a hot oven.
I also like to add Parsley leaves to my green salads. This not only gives a lovely colour but the peppery, earthy taste goes well with other salad leaves and tomatoes.
Parsley taste good in omlettes as well as scrambled eggs, risottos and pasta salad. In fact the list of uses for this common herb is endless! I love the fresh earthy taste of Parsley as well as its bright green colour.
Parsley can also be used as a vegetable and taste god when deep fried. It goes particularly well with roast chicken.
Parsley not only tastes and looks good but it is good for you too! It is best to eat Parsley that has just been picked to get the optimum nutrients .Once picked Parsley should be handled with care and washed in a bowl of cold water to get rid of any dirt. It should then be chopped and used as required. Both the leaves and stalks can be used, with the stalks having a lot of flavour.
Parsley is a rich source of both vitamin A and C. It is also a good source of folic acid, important to keep your heart healthy. Not only does it contain essential vitamins but also an oil that is very beneficial in helping to combat carcinogens in the atmosphere. So when you next sit next to a barbeque with all that smoke eat a bit of Parsley to keep you healthy! Parsley also contains vitamin K, iron and calcium. In fact this humble little herb is a real storehouse of nutrients!
Overall I really recommend using Parsley whenever you can. It will enhance the taste of your food; give colour as well giving you some very important health benefits!
Parsley is probably the most popular herb in the world. It can be used fresh or dried, as garnish or as a key ingredient, and has become ubiquitous in cooking.
Parsley is a biennial plant, meaning it has a 2 year lifespan.
It is native to Southern Europe, and while it has been cultivated for over 2000 years as food, it was already used for medicinal purposes well before that.
It is not known for sure when parsley was introduced as seasoning, but it is believed it happened in Europe, around the Middle Ages.
Parsley is a bright green herb.
Although there are over 30 varieties of parsley, the two most commonly consumed as food are curly leaf parsley and flat leaf (italian) parsley. Flat leaf parsley has a stronger but less bitter taste than curly leaf parsley.
---- Health ----
Parsley is considered to have various health benefits due to its unusual nutrients:
- volatile oil components (limonene, eugenol, myristicin, etc)
- flavonoids (apigenin, crisoeliol, luteolin, etc)
The flavonoids (especially luteolin) have been found to act as antioxidants, preventing oxigen-based damage to cells.
Volatile oils (especially myristicin) have been found to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and to help neutralise some carcinogens, like benzopyrenes.
Parsley is also very rich in vitamins A and C, and is a good source of folic acid.
On the other hand, parsley also contains significant amounts of oxalates, so individuals with kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid it.
---- Culinary Usage ----
Fresh green parsley is commonly used sprinkled on top of food: soups, boiled buttered potatoes, french fries, sandwiches, salads, etc...
Personally, I don't use it as garnish, but incorporate it into my everyday cooking in meat dishes, pasta, casseroules, and as an integral part of any tomato sauce I prepare.
Apart from putting it in tomato sauce, I usually add fresh green parsley at the end of cooking, to preserve its flavour and nutritional value.
Parsley tastes better when fresh, so it is a useful herb to cultivate in order to have all year round.
---- Cultivating ----
Cultivating parsley is not as difficult as some of the information out there may lead you to believe, although it does not germinate as easily and evenly as some other herbs.
In order to give it the best chance of germinating, the seeds should be sown in a rich soil that is not too dry. Make sure you add enough compost.
Parsley also requires high temperatures, preferably full sun, but if the soil is good of quality, it will do ok in partial shade.
If it's too cold outside, you can grow it on pots indoors.
Parsley seeds should be sown around March, although they can be sown later. Parsley can take up to 6 weeks to germinate, so parsley sown in March will be ready to be harvested from July to July of the following year.
At that point it will start to produce seeds and come to the end of its lifecycle.
We've been growing parsley for some time now, and with much success. A packet of seeds can be picked up cheaply in the supermarket, and you don't need a garden, a windowbox or balcony will do fine. It's nice to take a spring or two whenever cooking something, and you can also freeze it in for later use.
Anybody can grow parsley, it's not particularly hard to get a good crop if you follows some basic rules.
First germinate the seeds before planting, keeping them moist for a few days. Afterwards, plant them a few inches apart in drills, as far apart as you can get them - they like their space. Plant no more than 1/2 inch deep in good soil. Put them in a partly shady area if possible. It may be 3 or 4 weeks before you start to see anything much happening, but once they've popped out, growth is quite rapid. You may need to thin them out a little if you have planted them too close.
You can be quite liberal with water, especially in the hot summer montbs. I tend to water every day, to keep the moisture in the soil. Normal rain or tap water is fine, no need to spoil them with the bottled variety! If the summer is really hot, make sure the leaves do not burn.
Once the plants are of reasonable size, start taking the leaves for use in your dinner, or to store either dried or frozen. I tend to freeze in an early batch, ready chopped, sometimes in ice cube containers, sometimes in plastic bags. Removing the leaves encourages new leaf growth, and you'll find you get a good supply from each plant. Take the leaves when they are still nice and green, and not turned yellow.
Onc the season is over, you can expect another crop again the following year, just remember to remove any flowers promptly and you'll get another good harvest.
Parlsey is a great herb for use in the kitchen, and can be used in all sorts of sauces, soups and dishes. It's great as a garnish too, particularly over potatoes and salads. Mached potatoes take on a new life with some fresh chopped parsley added. Roast chicken, stuffed with parsley gives it a lovely flavour. You can find many recipes using parsley on the internet by typing in "Parsley Recipes" into your favourite search engine.
There are lots of known medicinal reasons to use parsley too, many of which you can look up on the internet - I can't say I've noticed any health benefits myself, but then again I don't really fancy parsley tea in the morning.
While its easy enough to get dried herbs, fresh ones are better and they aren't hard to grow. You can get parsley plants from most decent plant shops. They aren't fussy and will grow anywhere - on a kitchen window sill or in your garden. They spread like wildfire however, so if you don't want to be forever weeding them out, plant in a large tub. Parsley is great for sauces - anything with fish, you can eat it raw or cook it in with almost anything. Its got a really versatile flavour and I have yet to find something savoury that it doesn't really go with. If you want to try you hand at herb growing, start with this one - its really easy to grow and really easy to use.
I don’t know why I did not do my first opinion on Parsley as its probably one of the best known of all herbs, probably one of the oldest and longest used herbs known to man. I believe it originally came from the Mediterranean area but does not get seen wild much more. Parsley is very hardy and is normally sown outside around this time of the year i.e. March. If sown later in the year when the grown is more dry it will germinate a lot faster although my Great Grandmother when sowing this time of year used to put hot water down the seed hole which I guess says it all. The earth that it is sown into needs to be moist and fertile with access to the sun as it does not thrive in shelter. The plant will grow to about 40 cm in height and can spread quite a lot. The flowers grow around August time and are yellow, quite colourful. Parsley is used mainly for garnish on salads, potatoes and soups but also is said to be very rich in Vitamin C. I’m also told that its very good for the kidneys and takes away the taste of garlic on your breath. In olden days it was used as a dye and is very aromatic when freshly cut. Its said to also get rid of freckles but I find that one difficult to believe. A typical Bouquet Garni is as below: - Two pieces of parsley, Two pieces of Thyme, 1 bay leaf, Tie these together and use them in casseroles and stews
I bet your thinking that why on earth is someone writing an opinion about parsley. Well let me explain my actions. When I first wrote on Dooyoo the idea was to improve my writing skills and I wrote mainly about certain subjects that were of interest to me. This time I decided to take a different angle and write about a product that has never interested me before but I would research the subject and try and write a long and detailed opinion. I should at this point say that instead of dropping off to sleep with boredom doing my research I actually got quite interested and was really surprised what properties parsley had to offer. I guarantee that after you have read this you will be buying parsley either fresh or dried. Now let me begin before you get too bored. ~~ Originated ~~ It is native to the Mediterranean area. It is thought that parsley may have been brought to North America by the Vikings by dropping seeds from their pockets. The Greeks also used parsley to make garlands and wreaths for award winning Olympic athletes. ~~ Parsley – Latin name: - Petroselinum Crispum ~~ Parsley is one of the best known and most widely used herbs. It is in fact a member of the carrot family. (See something new you learn everyday!) It’s actually a biennial but usually cultivated as an annual because the first year leaves have the best flavour. Parsley is most often found in fresh salads or as an uneaten garnish. There are four varieties of parsley:- Neapolitan – This is grown for its stalks. Curly Leaf - Mostly for garnishing. Flat leaf – This has a stronger flavour than the other varieties. Hamburg – This is grown for an enlarged edible root. ~~ Planting ~~ Prefers full sun and plant in rich well-drained soil with a mixture of manure or compost. Sow 15 – 20 seeds/foot in the early spring. The spacing between the r
ows should be 18” and plant 0.25” deep. Germination takes 6-8 weeks and the leaves are ready for use in approximately 3 months after seeding. To quicken up the process soak the seeds in lukewarm water for 24 hours before planting. ~~ Healing Properties ~~ Parsley is used in classical folk medicines for over 2,000 years. The seeds have been used to relieve gas and stimulate the digestive action. The root and leaves can help to increase urine output and rid the body of excess fluids, thus helping to treat urinary infections and the entire plant is claimed to stimulate digestion and act as an expectorant to aid in the elimination of mucus. It can also treat all the following:- Weight loss and slimming Flushing kidneys and bladder Rheumatism Gout Arthritis Menstrual pain and irregularity Acts as a detoxifer. Apparently it’s a great breath freshener due to its high chlorophyll content. It’s a good source of iron, calcium, beta-carotene, potassium, niacin and vitamins B1 B2 and C. The essential oils extracted from parsley have been shown to lower blood pressure and act as a mild sedative. Volatile oils contained in parsley seeds should never be given to pregnant women. ~~ Herbal Tea ~~ Pour some boiling water over the leaves and let it stand for 5 minutes, then strain and drink. Only use the leaves, as the seeds can become toxic in too higher a dose. Now I have told you how it’s done we should all give it a try. Personally I do not fancy the idea as I have chewed on a piece of parsley before and it really was not pleasurable. Now let me finish off by saying that I hope you learnt something about this herb that you did not know before and I hope it made interesting reading. You can wake up now I’ve finished.
Petroselinum crispum is a bright green, biennial herb, also used as spice. It is very common in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Parsley is used for its leaf in much the same way as coriander (which is also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro), although it has a milder flavor. Two forms of parsley are used as herbs: curly leaf and Italian, or flat leaf (P. neapolitanum). Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. Many people think flat leaf parsley has a stronger flavor, and this opinion is backed by chemical analysis which finds much higher levels of essential oil in the flat-leaved cultivars. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. Another type of parsley is grown as a root vegetable. This type of parsley produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. Although little known in Britain and the United States, root parsley is very common in Central and Eastern European cuisine, where it is used in most soups or stews. Though it looks similar to parsnip it tastes quite different.