I truly believe that if we knew more about this powerful herb, we would use it a lot more than just for garnish! Parsley is a versatile herb that is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, it contributes to good bone and eye health, it's packed with antioxidants, and is a natural breath freshener and diuretic! Plus, it's delicious!
The health benefits alone make parsley an herb worth adding to our diets!
There are 3 major varieties of parsley available for growing or buying from a market. What's interesting is that they don't taste the same and they have unique traits that make them suitable for different culinary applications!
- Curled Leaf Parsley - This parsley has a much milder flavor than the flat-leaf variety and has a bright green, ruffled leaf which lends itself to use as a garnish! But it is also delicious fried in olive oil or butter with a little coarse salt and can be used to add nutrients and color to sauces, smoothies, and even green mayonnaise!
- Flat Leaf Italian Parsley - The flat-leaf parsley has a pronounced celery-lemon-like flavor that particularly shines in Mediterranean and Italian dishes like tabouli salad and pesto. It is also the star ingredient in chimichurri sauces along with its relative, cilantro! I also have a Japanese parsley that I was lucky to find that is a popular herb flavoring in Japanese cuisine.
- Parsley Root - This is the least known of the parsley varieties. The parsley root has a white taproot that tastes like a cross between celery and carrots and is delicious roasted with other root vegetables!
All parsley varieties need the same growing conditions. Plant some curly leaf parsley and let us know how it grows.
- Plant parsley in the ground or outdoors in containers in the spring after the frost has passed.
- Parsley does well in full sun or partly shaded exposure. Our raised garden bed is filled with well-draining soil mixed with compost to supply nutrients to grow rich green leaves!
- Space the curly leaf parsley plants 6 to 8 inches apart and make sure that they are straight because i like to create a "parsley hedge" in the herb garden. Isn't this a pretty edging?
- Dig a hole that will allow the top of the parsley plant to sit level with the top of the soil.
- Water the plants well after planting and check the soil moisture regularly. Maintain moist (but not soggy soil) throughout the growing season.
Harvesting and Storing Tips
- Cut the parsley stems at the base of the plant but never take more than a third of the plant at one time. That's why it's good to grow more than one plant, or a bunch as a decorative hedge like this for a steady supply!
- Rinse and clean parsley and place the parsley stems in a glass of water and place it on your counter out of direct sunlight.
- Change the water every two days and it will stay fresh for two weeks!
Parsley lives for about 2 years. The first year it gives a strong flush of leaves and in 2nd year, there are less leaves but flowers bloom signally the end of its life cycle!