Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a biennial herb but mostly treated as an Annual in the UK. It’s easy to grow and tastes wonderful with my Crispy Bagel Bites! Here’s how I grow mine…
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What Is Parsley?
Parsley belongs to the Apiaceae family, otherwise known as the carrot family. It can grow as tall as 80cm and forms full rosettes of dark green leaves.
Parsley leaves have a fragrant, slightly spicy aroma and have a subtle tangy-sweet taste. Parsley can add a fresh flavour to salsas, pestos, stews, soups and sauces and can be even used as a garnish for vegetables, fish and eggs.
Types of Parsley
The two Main types of Parsley are Italian (flat-leaf) parsley and Curled Parsley. Flat Leaf is known for its stronger, more robust flavour. While Curled parsley has a fainter, more subtle flavour. It’s all about personal taste…my favourite is curled leaf Parsley!
A Little Parsley history!
Parsley originated in the eastern Mediterranean and has been cultivated for more than 2000 years! It first became popular in Europe during the middle ages and was mostly grown in monasteries and Royal Gardens. Soon after this wonderous herb spread to the masses and became a useful herb for adding flavour to broths and soups.
Parsley In Mythology
The ancient Greeks associated the aromatic herb with Archemorus, the herald of Death. According to legend, parsley sprang from the ground where the blood of the great warrior Archemorus was spilled. To honour his sacrifice, the ancient greeks would cover their tombs with wreaths of parsley as a means of remembrance and respect.
The healthy Herb
Parsley is Packed with vitamin C, K, and A, magnesium and Iron. Parsley also contains a flavonoid called “apigenin”. Apigenin is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce anxiety, support immune health, and modulate hormones, it’s also pretty useful in reducing the occurrence of allergic reactions.
How to grow parsley
Direct sow Outdoors
- Sow parsley seeds outdoors from March to July.
- Grow parsley in a in full sun or partial shade position.
- Sow seeds thinly at a depth of around 1 cm in drills roughly 30cm apart.
- Parsley seeds can take their time to germinate, you may be waiting as long as 28 days before germination occurs
- Parsley Seeds can be sown indoors or under glass from August – February for fresh leaves all year round.
- Sow 1/2 cm deep into pots of free-draining, good quality compost, and place on a warm windowsill. Cover with a propagator lid or Cellophane bag until germination occurs.
- When large enough to handle, pot on into larger individual pots.
- Let them grow on the windowsill for an indoor herb garden, or you can plant them out once all risk of frost has passed ** Be sure to harden off indoor raised seedlings first.
What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently. This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.
How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks.
Harvesting and storing parsley
Parsley leaves are best enjoyed fresh, but did you know you can also freeze Parsley? Yep! Parsley freezes very well and retains its flavour too!
Here are 2 ways to freeze Parsley…
1. In a Bag
Super simple, just double-bag stems of Parsley, then push out as much air from the bags as possible then pop it in the freezer. When you want to use them, simply snap of a handful and use as required. Great for adding to stews or mashed potatoes!
2. In Ice Cubes
Place parsley leaves (not stems) in a food processor, add a little water or olive oil and make a thick puree. Place the puree into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen remove the parsley cubes from the trays and place in a freezer bag and store in the freezer.
When you want to use the parsley, simply add a cube to your soups or stews
How To Dry parsley
To dry Parsley you can do it the quick way by using a dehydrator-simply add fresh parsley leaves to the dehydrator and set on the lowest speed for around 6 hours
Or you can air dry parsley, by hanging them in bunches in a well ventilated area for around a week. Avoid any areas with direct sun as it will cause the leaves to lose their colour and flavour
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