Posted by: briellethefirst | August 28, 2011


Ah, Petroselinum crispum. All too familiar garnish in both dining room and garden. It’s so easy to think of this as that boring old green thing we have on hand just out of habit, but it’s so much more. Let’s start with the joys of Parsley in the garden. It grows about 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall and you generally have a couple of varieties to choose from, plain flat Italian and the more familiar curly variety as well as a variety grown for its root. Depending on where you live it’ll be either an annual or biennial. Some places let it grow long enough to make flowers the 1st year and some places it goes dormant for the winter and sends up flowers the next season. It is related to carrots, fennel, coriander and dill so when it flowers it’ll look like them with yellow flowers in an umbrella-shaped spray. Mine has been re-seeding itself for years now, taking over more or less of the little garden in front of the bedroom window.

You can buy transplants, and if you look closely you’ll probably see that what at first looks like a single plant is actually a few seeds that germinated together. If you’re careful you should be able to separate them before you transplant them if the potting soil is dry enough but not too dry. They seem to get off to a slow start but you can spread them out to get more mileage out of them. Starting them out from seed can take a while, so long in fact that there is an old legend saying that the seeds need to travel to Hell and back seven times before sprouting. It’s really nice as a border for an herb or flower garden and as an added bonus it’s a good companion plant and hosts beneficial insects that prey on things like tomato horn worm. If you let it re-seed itself it isn’t hard to pull it out of the places you don’t want it and transplant to the places you do. If you don’t need transplants you can use it in the kitchen or feed it to the chickens or hamsters.

In the kitchen parsley is a standard addition to soups, stews, roasts and such, so common it’s easy to overlook and forget. Time to get re-acquainted. It’s slightly bitter and tastes fresh and green. The flat Italian variety is less bitter and many think more flavorful. Get a plant or two for the windowsill or garden and nibble a bit, then add some (un-nibbled) bits to your cooking. By the way, it’s supposed to freshen your breath and be packed with nutrients. You can buy dried parsley but it’s much better fresh-cut, even if you have to get it from the produce department. Try growing it, you’ll be much happier.

Parsley has been cultivated for over 2,000 years and in that time has not only been used in kitchens but also to adorn victorious athletes and to decorate the tombs of the deceased. It plays an important part in the Hebrew Passover celebration.

Parsley gone wild

Parsley gone wild

It was believed that when the Greek hero Archemorus was eaten by serpents parsley sprang from his blood where it fell to the ground. Until my next generation of parsley makes its final trip back from Hades this picture will have to do. It gets a bit feathery right before it flowers.



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  2. I love this blog! It looks wonderful!

    • Thanks! It’s been fun going over my old herb sheets and re-writing them. Sometimes the challenge is finding a picture from all the shots I’ve taken in my garden.

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