Parsley is a leafy herb that grows like a small shrub, up to roughly one foot in height. It has light green stems with multiple pairs of closely ruffled leaves growing at the ends. The curly variety is more fragile than the common flat-leafed variety, making it easy to shred or finely chop the herb for culinary applications. Parsley has a fresh, green aroma and flavor that is a combination of citrus, clove, and nutmeg, creating a unique taste. Parsley will flower in its second year, with circular clusters of white flowers sitting atop thin stems. Parsley, or Curly parsley, is a commonly known herb, most often associated with being a garnish.
Despite often being relegated to garnish status, Parsley is nutrient-rich and contains minerals that are beneficial for good health. Fun Fact: Chewing parsley after a meal can help freshen breath.
- Vitamin K important for blood clotting
- Vitamin A good for vision
- Folate important for preventing neural tube defects and may help prevent cancer
- Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
- Potassium helps lower blood pressure and helps muscles contract
- Iron & Copper important in red blood cell formation
How to Shop
Look for bunches of perky, vibrantly green parsley, and steer clear of any that are yellowed or wilting.
How to Grow
Parsley seeds can be started indoors or sown directly in the garden. The taproot of parsley plants is delicate, so take extra care if transplanting. For a head start, plant seeds in individual pots indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost date. Sow seeds outdoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost. The germination rate of parsley seeds tends to be low, so consider soaking the seeds overnight to improve your chances of success. For the best germination, soil should be around 70ºF (21°C), though parsley seeds will germinate in colder temperatures, too.
How to Store
Treat parsley like a bouquet of flowers and store it in a glass of fresh water. Keeping your parsley wrapped in a damp paper or kitchen towel in the refrigerator will keep it fresh for a few days.