The humble parsley herbs have been around for centuries. The Greeks planted the parsley herb as a border for their gardens. They also used the parsley herb to crown winners at competitions and to decorate tombs. The Romans believed that the herb parsley could prevent intoxication. They used it in great quantities. It can be used as an herb parsley tea which many say is useful in curbing a stubborn cough. Parsley herbs are used to make herbal remedies.
The parsley herb is a biennial, which means it will last two years after which the parsley must be replanted. The parsley herb will produce an umbrella of small yellow flowers. The first year of the parsley herb will have a more delicate flavor.
Curly parsley, the most commonly grown, is very pretty as a border around an herb garden. Parsley produces crisp, curly, bright green leaves. Parsley is one of the most nutritious herbs around containing potassium, calcium, vitamins A and C and many other needed minerals. It is also the most widely used herb in the kitchen. It can be used in virtually every recipe, salads, meats, soups, stews, even parsley sauce or an herbal parsley tea.
The flavor of the herb parsley is mild and savory. Parsley is good at masking other harsher flavors. Parsley is said to sweeten the breath after eating garlic. The parsley herb is good for the circulation and the digestive system. The parsley plant can be used to make herbal remedies. It is a diuretic. It is thought to be an herbal remedy for the kidneys, removing excess water from the body. For this reason many think that is a slimming herb. The herb parsley is a detoxifier and helps with rheumatism, gout and arthritis. Many women believe it aides in menstrual pain and period irregularity.
To grow the herb parsley, plant the seeds gradually through the warmer months. There are two ways to speed the germination of the parsley herb. You can either soak them in warm water for 24 hours or you can pour boiling water over them just before you plan to plant the parsley herb. It will take about eight weeks before the parsley herb can be planted in the garden or in a container garden. After the seedlings have grown several leaves on it, plant them about 10 inches apart.
If you live in a tropical area it will be necessary to provide shade for the parsley herb. If you live in a colder climate, dig up the parsley and pot it for inside growth and year round harvesting. It enjoys a well drained but moist soil that has enriched with fertilizers. The parsley herb will ward off pests and disease if it is planted near roses or tomatoes. Parsley also attracts bees.
The herb parsley can be planted inside on a sunny windowsill or greenhouse. When you buy the pot for the herb parsley, be sure you have a depth of at least eight inches which will allow the roots space to grow.
The other popular variety of the herb parsley is the flat leaf or Italian parsley herb. This parsley has a slightly stronger taste. Grow both varieties for some interesting textures when using in your recipes.
You can use either fresh or dried parsley to make an herbal parsley tea. When using the parsley herb fresh, use one quarter of a cup of the herb. Pour boiling water in the cup and let steep for 5 minutes. Cover the cup to keep the steam in. Strain the tea and drink it. If using dried parsley, use two teaspoons per cup of water. Sweeten with honey. For relieving bug bites and stings, pulp the parsley and apply to afflicted are to heal and soothe.
Think about planting the herb parsley. There are so many uses for it. It will be a healthy addition to your garden and your kitchen.
Here’s a recipe for Parsley Sauce to help you use your parsley herb crop in a tasty way:
- 1 pint Milk, warmed
- 1½ oz Flour
- 1½ oz Butter
- 4 tbsp Parsley, chopped
- Salt and Pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.
Stir in the flour and cook gently for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Bring to the boil, still stirring, simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once it’s smooth and creamy, remove from the heat; throw in the chopped parsley and season to taste. Serve it hot with fish, poultry or vegetables.
Here’s to Good Eating and Happy Gardening!
Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.
Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round.
Photo. Wolfgang Eckert