Petroselinum crispum- Curled Leaf Parsley
Petroselinum neapolitanum- Italian Flat-leaf Parsley
Petroselinum tuberosum- Hamburg Parsley
Curled Parsley: The most common and recognizable Parsley variety and is one of the most familiar of all herbs. It is most commonly used for both garnishing and to a lesser degree flavoring.
Italian Parsley: Is by far the most flavorful Parsley variety and is popular because of its much-divided, sometimes curly leaves which have a characteristic flavor and aroma. Parsley is relatively high in vitamins A and C and iron.
Hamburg Parsley : Grown for its fleshy, white roots primarily used as a flavoring for soups. The parsley root is strong and may be boiled and eaten like parsnips, or added to soups and stews.
Parsley is easy to grow and may also be used to enhance general health and well-being. Parsley is a member of the Umbelliferae which includes carrots, dill and fennel.
Parsley is native to the Mediterranean and today is grown in vegetable and herb gardens around the world, indoors and outdoors alike.
Parsley roots and leaves are used as culinary herbs, but the roots, leaves and parsley seeds are used for medicinal purposes. The flowers are edible seldom used.
Parsley is a hardy biennial that is usually treated as an annual.
Depending on winter conditions parsley may re-sprout in the second season, producing a more bitter tasting foliage than the previous year's crop. Later in the second season Parsley will go to seed and then die off, completing its biennial life cycle.
To keep a ready supply of Parsley on hand, grow parsley as a garden herb or a potted herb as a house plant.
Growing Parsley from seed is the only viable method of propagation.
Parsley seed germination is generally slow, taking from 2-5 weeks. Always use the freshest Parsley seed available. The fresher the Parsley seed, the faster parsley seed will germinate.
To speed the germination of your Parsley Seed, pour hot water over the seeds and/or soak the parsley seeds overnight before planting. The parsley seed should sprout in 1-2 weeks.
Plant fresh parsley seeds directly in the garden where they will receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Carefully mark the rows to keep track of them during the slow germination. Cover seeds with garden soil at least twice the thickness of the seed and keep moist.
Thin Parsley seedlings when they are 2-3 inches high, to a distance of 12 inches (30 cm) between plants.
Extreme care should be taken when transplanting parsley seedlings from nursery pots to the garden due to the very sensitive tap root. Digging parsley from the garden to transplant to another location is not recommended.
Water the Parsley plants deeply each week to ensure moisture to the deep tap root. Fertilize the Parsley plants during the growing season with a general purpose garden fertilizer following label directions.
Parsley is best cut after the leaves are of suitable size. Never harvest more than 1/3 of the Parsley herb at any one time. Following the Parsley harvest, leaves can be used fresh, dried or frozen.
How to dry Parsley: Parsley does not dry well; drying parsley is last choice method recommended for long-term preservation of parsley.
Freezing Parsley: The method of choice to preserve parsley leaves is to clip the leaf, place in an ice cube tray or zip-lock plastic bag and cover with water. Freeze the parsley leaves immediately.
Medicinally, parsley is considered a diuretic helpful in treating stomach aches, urinary infections and gout. Parsley is also considered a good source of Vitamin C and iron, and strengthens digestion. Infusions of parsley leaves and stems are said to be soothing and cleansing in bathwater. The oil is also used in shampoos, soaps, creams, lotions, perfumes and cosmetics.
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried parsley leaves or 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley leaves. Steep for 10-15 minutes and strain into a cup or pot. Sprinkle the parsley tea with a dash of garlic or onion powder. Sip one cup of parsley tea up to three times per day.
The parsley tea can have a diuretic action that flushes the urinary tract during an infection or when kidney stones are present. It relieves water retention and the parsley seeds and leaves can improve your appetite and promote better digestion.
Do not cook parsley: Heat destroys the valuable vitamins and minerals in Parsley.
Use flat-leaf, aka: Italian Parsley: It has more flavor and nutrients than curled parsley. Chop the herb just before serving and sprinkle it on the dish.
Keep Parsley fresh: Sprinkle parsley with water, wrap it in a paper towel and refrigerate it in a plastic bag; Put the parsley stems in a glass of water and refrigerate.
For peak flavor, avoid Dried Parsley: If you must dry parsley, dry the flat-leaf variety. It will retain more flavor although flavor and aroma will be diminished.