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How I use herbs - Parsley

If I was to encourage you to grow just one herb, whether you have a large garden or only a small balcony, without a doubt it would be parsley (Pertroselinum crispum).  Parsley is incredibly easy to grow and propagate, it goes with nearly every meal and has a number of important medicinal properties.

eight acres: how I grow and use parsley
parsley flowers

How to grow parsley
Depending on your climate parsley may be an annual or biennial (mine is annual in the sub-tropics, it seeds and dies off in the heat of summer).  I can't actually remember where the parsley in my garden first came from originally.  I think I bought a small plant about seven years ago and planted it in the garden.  That small plant grew into a large plant, flowered and set seed.  And ever since then, parsley has popped up in my garden whenever I need it.  I took a couple of plants when we moved house, and the cycle continues.  I do save some seeds from the plants, but I usually just sprinkle them all around the garden, and weed out any extra plants that grow.  I never intentionally plant parsley!

If you do start from seed, be aware that it can take up to six weeks for the seed to germinate.  If you're impatient, then I recommend buying one small plant and allowing it to produce seed.

There are two main types of parsley (apparently there are also many varieties within those two types): curly leaf and flat leaf.  I currently grow the flat leaf type, which is supposed to be hardier.  I did have a curly leaf plant at one stage, but it never went to seed and eventually died off.  And now its the flat leaf that survives and proliferates in my garden today, with very little encouragement from me!

The parsley flowers are not only beautiful, they are also a feed source for beneficial insects in the garden.


eight acres: how I grow and use parsley


How I use parsley
For a start, parsley is high in vitamins A, C and E, and in iron, which are all good reasons to eat it.  Parsley has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It is a diuretic (stimulates urination) and settles an upset stomach.

NOTE: parsley should not be used in large quantities during pregnancy as it is a uterine stimulant (and is also known to be helpful for period pain).  

Parsley has a pleasant fresh taste.  I like to add it to casseroles, soups and salads just prior to serving (it doesn't need to cook for long).  I also use handfuls of it in stock, and in dips and salad dressings.  I love parsley with scrambled eggs.  It would be a good herb to add to juices or green smoothies.  There are plenty of opportunities to use parsley, I use it nearly every day.

You can also grow a different variety of parsley and use the root as a vegetable.

If you end up with excess parsley, you can preserve it by drying it.  I haven't had any success using my dehydrator, but this winter, I found that if I left parsley in a colander for a couple of weeks and it dried slowly, while retaining its green colour.  I was then able to crumble the leaves into a small jar to use later.  Even though I do usually have some parsley in the garden, during a hot dry summer, there isn't always an abundance, so it will be handy to have some dried parsley to use as well.  The other option is persillade, which is a mixture of parsley and oil, I made this for the first time this year.


eight acres: how I grow and use parsley


Do you grow and use parsley?  Any tips?  Which herb would you recommend if you had to choose just one?

See my other herb posts: mintaloe verabasilginger, galangal and turmericcalendula, marigold and winter tarragonsoapwortcomfreynasturtium 



Comments

  1. Great information!
    A silly bit of trivia but parsley is also really good for DOGS! it helps their immune system, oral health and other benefits.
    Just wanted to add a two cents comment to a great blog, really enjoying you writing and being new to the homesteading sphere (JUST starting that journey) this blog will be a nice addition to the colection of wisdom.

    on a seperate note, in your about me section you mention a "folow" button for fellow blogspot bloggers, but I dont see this among the many sidebar options... am I missing it??

    anyway, thanks again,
    be well,
    J

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is great information, my dogs have a policy of not eating anything green, but sometimes I can hide veges in gravy for them :) There should be a follow on blogger button about halfway down the right hand side, but you won't see it if you're looking at my blog on a mobile.

      Delete
  2. I love parsley and have loads of it growing, although most of it is going to seed at the mo. Don't the insects love it when it does? I don't give it much TLC other than the normal seaweed fert or nitrogen tea. I didn't know you could freeze it though, that's a great idea. I use it so much in cooking and it gets thrown into our morning juices too! :)

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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