Friday, 18 November 2016

Herbs, Spices and Herbalists - part 5: Parsley



Parsley – the world’s most popular herb … provides a large range of valuable nutrients (over 80!) … so some fresh parsley should be in our diet every day … it is packed with vitamins C and K …

Curly leafed Parsley


This workhorse of a herb … and can go in just about any dish … its mild, grassy flavour (fresh, green, woody notes) will bring out other main ingredients, yet enhance the dish and give it a little burst of colour…




Flat Leafed variety


…use flat leaf parsley for cooking, as it stands up better to heat and has more flavour … but curly parsley really is just as good – use the stalks – extra flavour in them.






My favourite … herby bread … lots of chopped parsley, some spring onion greens, a little garlic if liked (or lots!), cayenne sprinkle, lemon juice … butter – mix together …

Herby bread


… cut a baguette in slices (right through) … spread with the butter mix, sandwich together, wrap in foil … and bake – then open packet to crisp top … and serve … an easy addition to any meal, or party snack …


Parsley, a hardy biennial of the Carrot family, only came into Britain in the 16th century … it usually dies after the second season, but the seeds will have spread around and so the garden will retain new plants.


Root Parsley


There is also root parsley (the Hamburg Root Parsley) … this is common in central and eastern European cuisine …




It was greatly venerated by the Greeks and Romans … for a Greek athlete or Roman poet there was no greater distinction than to be awarded a chaplet of parsley.


Nicolas Culpeper
A chaplet is a garland or circlet … or a string of 55 beads – one third of the rosary number – for counting prayers …


Nicholas Culpeper (1616 – 1654), the botanist, herbalist, physician and astrologer, noted that parsley grew plentifully on Hampstead Heath, Hyde Park and Tothill Fields (Westminster Abbey area).





Potatoes with parsley and garlic


There were numerous ‘medicinal’ ideas for the use of parsley – but we will stick with its benefit of being rich in the vitamins C and K …





A bed of curly parsley set off
by some pansies
… at this time of year for colds, or for general good health … check out the various health benefits ascribed to these two vitamins … let alone parsley’s other benefits.


My parents grew beds of parsley for sale after the War … so I guess the Ministry of Ag   (agriculture!) … promoted it as nutritious for its war-ravaged population.



Tabbouleh - Lebanese salad

I have looked up parsley in a book (originally published in the 1800s) and thought you’d be interested in some other snippets:  apparently it is good for animals too, apart from flavour for the meat, it helps to cure foot-rot in sheep …


Ham with white, parsley sauce
… and when chewed it will take away offensive odours of the breath, such as when onions have been eaten, or spirits have been drunk.




Today … it is used in numerous dishes … parsley white sauce, Italian Gremolata (parsley, garlic and lemon zest mix), French Persillade (chopped garlic and parsley), Lebanese Tabbouleh and in many ways as a garnish … mixed in, sprinkled on top, or sprigs to decorate – which so often get munched by family … we do!


Fennel, Celery and parsley salad



Now it’s the dark days of autumn/ winter here … we all need parsley … so let’s remember to add it to our meals … or regularly eat a few stalks …




Fennel, Celery and Parlsey salad, or with salad mixes, including rocket, lamb’s leaves etc … then dress with vinaigrette of your choice, served with shavings of parmesan cheese – sounds delicious to me!




Enjoy protecting yourselves against the evils of winter draughts, bugs et al …



Just remembered this planter marker at Herstmonceux Castle ... not sure the Parsley looks so good - maybe she wants a divorce already?



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

52 comments:

D.G. Hudson said...

Another use for parsley is parsley wine which is good for the digestion. Surprised me. I think the recipe was French, but it could have been Italian. I like curly parsley, not as fond of the flat leaf variety.
I had such a large spice/herbs drawer in my kitchen at our last house and when the kids were little they would open the drawer just to inhale the smells. You need to keep herbs and spices out of the light and away from heat to keep their flavour longer. Love reading these posts.

Elephant's Child said...

I love herbs, but probably make least use of parsley.
Our ancestors definitely knew things about diet which we have forgotten didn't they? And frequently they are proved right, on both the medicinal and dietary fronts.

Ana coelho said...

I love parsley that's one of the herbs that I grow and use the most....

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

I am really enjoying your herby series, Hilary. I didn't know half this stuff - though I did know about the alleged breath-freshener quality - and will look at parsley with fresh respect when I next spot some. Was is Ogden Nash who wrote, "Parley is ghastly"? - which I don't think is true, but has always stuck in my attic of a brain. What will you teach us next??

I see you too get those irritating entirely self-promoting comments from time to time - I had several once trying to advertise a taxi service in Tunbridge Wells - are these people stupid, or what?!

Fil said...

I love my parsley - who'd have thought it was a member of the carrot family - wow great information Hilary.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We use the dried version although I suppose we could grow it fresh.

beste barki said...

I try to use parsley as often as I can. You reminded me that I haven't made 'herby' garlic bread in a while.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ DG - yes there were lots of other choices for recipes I could have chosen - but don't think I came across parsley wine for digestion - makes sense though. I too prefer the curly sort .. seems to have more body ...

And yes that's why the chemists had those coloured bottles to keep the light out and made the ingredients last longer. The spice area always has such wonderful aromas ... thanks and am delighted you enjoy this series ...

@ EC - parsley can go with so many things - and it has a lovely taste. As you say our ancestors knew rather more than perhaps we do ... we are now finding out new aspects of herbs and spices ... I enjoy the gentle research I do ...

@ Ana - thanks - the Portuguese love their herbs ...

@ Mike - thanks so much ... I'd better get on with some more - I get deviated off the beaten track by William the Conqueror, or Bran Tub offerings ... I never know what I'm going to be writing about ... as you'll have gathered.

You were right - except your spelling fell down! Parsley is Gharsley ...

Oh yes ... people who come on and try and advertise - they get taken off pretty quickly ... if they really like what they read - that's fine, but don't worry unless their own blog matches up ...

@ Fil - it does seem strange it's a member of the carrot family ... but the Root parsley looks like a white carrot doesn't it.

@ Alex - I'm afraid ... you probably should be growing it fresh - ?

@ Beste - it is a standard herb isn't it ... I love it. I also love herby bread and often take it to parties, or get asked to make it ... delicious!!

Cheers and thanks so much - just delighted you approve of this series .. have good weekends - Hilary

Karen Walker said...

Very interesting, Hilary. I don't use this herb very much, but now I just might look for ways to incorporate it. Thanks.

Joanne said...

we used parsley in some tasty spaghetti sauce last night - plus plenty of garlic. So, we keep the colds and bugs away (as well as vampires)
Have a great weekend

Elsie Amata said...

I had no idea it had vitamin C in it. Every time I visit I learn something new, every time! So now we need to be on the lookout for those who are driving and chewing on parsley...just in case they're on the way home from the bar? ;)

Anabel Marsh said...

Mmmm, hungry now! That bread.......

A Heron's View said...

Parsley has to be one of my three favourite herbs, the other two being Peppermint and Stinging Nettle.
A neighbour of mine saw how much Parsley was we had growing and said
"That where Parsley grows in abundance, then the woman of the house wears the trousers!"
I have never forgiven him for that one ...

Liz A. said...

Oh, so that is why they put it on plates at restaurants! I just learned to ignore it. I was wrong.

Jacqui said...

That was fascinating. I'm writing about early man, when he had to find all of his nutrients in nature. My guys are in Africa so I will have to see if parsley was native to Africa a couple million years ago.

Out on the prairie said...

I always plant lots. It draws in swallowtails also, their larvae love it.i make a pesto with it to garnish meats

Nilanjana Bose said...

Parsley potatoes, yum! I have always loved parsley, good to know that I can indulge guilt free :) Interesting post as always. Was Nicolas Culpeper from the same family as Thomas Culpeper I wonder?

Have a great weekend!

Patsy said...

There are lots of superstitios about parsley. You must sow on Good Friday or the seed will have to visit the devil 7 times before germination. Selling plants stops your hens laying. It only grows really well where the woman is in charge of the home ...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I cook with a lot of fresh herbs, but use parsley rather sparingly... only in some Italian sauces, and for good ol' parsley potatoes or carrots. But I did NOT realize how nutritious it is! Thanks for the info. I reckon that means I need to start using more of it. :)

Have a fantastic weekend.

Janie Junebug said...

Herbs are the only things I've been successful at growing in my backyard. The soil is too sandy for a garden, and a garden would also draw the rats. I've grown oregano, parsley, and dill.

Love,
Janie

Melissa Sugar said...

I love parsley. I use it all the time when I'm entertaining. I add it to my cheese trays or just about any tray that needs a little something extra to liven it up. I knew that it was supposed to help with offensive breath, but I had no idea of all the other health benefits. My other favorite herb is rosemary. We have a giant rosemary bush in our yard and I put it on everything. My kids love it chicken and French fries.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen – it’s got a lot of benefits for our health … and it’s good used fresh – finely chopped …

@ Joanne – it’d finish off your spaghetti so well – that added touch of freshness … and oh yes garlic too … they both keep the bugs at bay …

@ Elsie – glad I’ve let you know about the Vitamin C … well perhaps re the driving and chewing parsley … I think we’re more sensitive now to aromas … and the traffic officer back then would probably be smoking … so that would not help in identifying that extra beer …

@ Anabel – that bread is so simple to add to a meal, or to a party of snacks as an extra very ‘gungy’ filler!

@ Mel – thanks for that maxim … which Patsy confirmed later on … it’s interesting isn’t it – the sayings that we grow up with … I’m not sure I’d heard of it before. Oh dear – put you in your place did it?! I must look at Peppermint and Stinging Nettle for further along my series …

@ Liz – it’s good for you … so I hope you have a munch on it now – and take some home to use in the kitchen …

@ Jacqui – I’ve no idea about parsley from millennia ago, or millions of years ago – not sure man would be using it back then though … interesting thought …

@ Steve – oh what a good point about the Swallowtail butterflies … didn’t know that – thanks … and yes parsley in pesto is good …

@ Nila – I think parsley potatoes are so good … and yes you can eat as much as you want. The two Culpepers – yes … distant relatives, though I hadn’t realised til you queried it … so thank you for that extra snippet …

@ Patsy – I saw there was definitely more I could put in about Parsley … oh dear poor seedsman being confined to planting on Good Friday … glad it self-seeds! Then selling parsley stopping your hens laying … I wonder if that was why we stopped growing parsley as we had chickens?! And as you mention like Mel … who was in charge of the house when lots of parsley was around … fun –thanks .. .

@ Susan – yes it is very nutritious … so I’m glad you’ll up your intake of it … I love it and use it often … especially when I had it growing …

@ Janie – well done on giving yourself some healthy herbs around your yard – despite the sand … oregano would be really good for your sandy soil … but in pots for the others …

@ Melissa – oh good … and now perhaps it’ll get into your dishes rather more often – re the health benefits. Rosemary is as you say another great herb … good to use for kebabs and on the bbq … glad the family are learning from you …

Cheers to you all – have good weekends - Hilary

Marja said...

Nice parsley We've got lots in the garden. It grows quite fast. We use it on the potatoes as well and in salads

TexWisGirl said...

you had me with herby bread.

Rhodesia said...

As always I have learnt from you yet again. I have never used parsley root but that will now change. I use so many herbs when cooking but never the root of parsley, what took me so long. Thanks for this Diane

Janie Junebug said...

All the herbs I've grown have been in pots. I can't even grow grass in most of my backyard. I've tried all sorts of things to make the soil better.

Love,
Janie

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

My mother grew parsley in her garden when we were children. She made the most delicious recipes. I've always loved parsley. Especially on baked potatoes.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja - yes lovely looking photo of parsley isn't it - not mine sad to say. It is a really lovely herb to have around and use regularly ...

@ Theresa - herby bread ... I think a slice now would be good for me ... but that's comfort food, so not yet.

@ Diane - I'm not sure if it's a different type of parsley ... but I know the parsley roots can fill out. I imagine you enjoy your herbs from the garden ...

@ Janie - yes I guessed they were in pots from your description of the sandy soil ... not easy.

@ Joylene - mothers and parsley ... just gave us kids that little extra vitamin C ... and a flavour to some things ... me too - I love parsley ..

Cheers to you all - thanks for the visits ... Hilary

Rhonda Albom said...

I have parsley growing in my garden and use it in many meat and vegetarian dishes. Tabbouleh, felafel, and beef casserole are the first few that come to mind.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Percy Parsley, such a modest little herb. It doesn't shout flavour like some of its brash cousins - Billy Basil or Delilah Dill for example. Sadly it is underrated and often just there for decoration. But it shouldn't just be a wallflower at the village dance; it has so much more to offer. In my cheffing days, we were great mates!

My latest tale is called The Facidicist

DMS said...

I have always enjoyed parsley, but I really didn't know it had health benefits too. I always thought it was just for flavor and color. So glad I learned more about it! Thanks! :)
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rhonda - I imagine you have parsley growing and use it a lot ... it's so good isn't it ...

@ Keith - I've added a snippet in re a quote I saw at Herstmonceux Castle ... which I forgot to include.

Love your comment ... parsley does seem to be underrated doesn't it ... from the comments here ... but as you mention it livens up so many dishes ... wish I'd known you in your cheffing days ...

@ Jess - thanks ... it's one of the best ingredients around for vitamins - especially C ... so I hope you'll use it a bit more ...

Cheers to the three of you ... parsley - I'm having withdrawal symptoms! I need to buy some ... have good weeks ... Hilary

Robert Bennett said...

Mmm~ Parsley. Although I'm suddenly glad I never decided to grow it in my flower boxes because I didn't realize it had a root like that. haha

Juliet Batten said...

I love parsley and hate to be without it. How interesting that your parents grew it for sale after the war.

Gattina said...

I remember my grandma put parsley in almost all plates ! What I loved very much as a child was white cheese with parsley on a potato !

Christine Rains said...

Another fascinating post! I do wonder if my cat would eat some parsley and help with his feline bad breath. I grew some basil this year and it went well. Maybe next year, I'll try parsley. Have a lovely week, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Robert - oh no the root normally is a cluster of smaller ones - that variety is the European one ... a root type .. so do grow some in your garden or flower boxes ...

@ Juliet - I know it gives us such great bushes of bright green - always cheering. I'm not sure why - but I think I've seen it advocated ... so it was probably a government idea for people to eat more greens after the War ...

@ Gattina - we used to have parsley all the time, sometime as a real accoutrement ... like your white cheese sauce with parsley ...

@ Christine - thanks ... if you look up for your cat's breath .. there are some ideas given ... one of which was a raw carrot after its meal ... have a look ...

Good for you for trying basil ... and hope you give parsley a got next year ...

Thanks for your look in ... cheers Hilary

Lynn said...

I once watched a friend sprinkle parsley over her toddler son's chicken and rice and asked, "Why did you do that?" "Because I can." He seems to be a very discerning eater to this day, probably because his mom started him early.

Nice post - I like the flat leaf variety the most, I think.

cleemckenzie said...

My parsley patch just become must more important. I'm one of those gardeners who grazes between my weeding and cultivating chores. Parsley is one of my favorite things to eat raw. Now that I know it has so many healthy properties, I'm making sure to have a bigger patch next year.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I truly love all the insight and information you share with your followers, Hilary! I love fennel and the salad you describe above with vinaigrette dressing sounds like a unique winner. All the best to you!

Lynda R Young said...

I wish my husband liked parsley but he doesn't and that means I don't get a lot of it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - yes, we can bring our children up eating everything so easily, and then later on they can make their minds up. Just encourage them to eat all things ... clever friend. I'll happily eat parsley - but we tend to have the curly sort here in England.

One of my god-daughters now can't stand parsley ... and it's anathema to her - she's just become a doctor ... should be a 'good' lesson for her! Her mother and her aunt give us really good home-made food ... with parsley - but lots to put her off - I'm not so sure!

@ Lee - oh that's great ... it really is such a beneficial herb ... and now you'll have more to snack on! Wonderful parsley patch coming up in 2017 ..

@ Victoria - many thanks ... I try and make the posts interesting to one and all in some small way - but once I'd spotted the fennel salad with the parmesan topping I had to post it - I hope you make it and enjoy it sometime ...

@ Lynda - oh what a pity that your husband isn't keen on it ... I guess take every opportunity you can ... and enjoy when you get a chance.

Cheers to you all - thanks so much for visiting ... Hilary

mail4rosey said...

You'll have to tell the parsley, "For Better or For Worse." :) I have mainly used it only for garnishing... I'll have to be more liberal with it in my dishes.

Nick Wilford said...

I never knew parsley was quite so vital. I tend to think of it as a garnish but looks like it has all sorts of uses.

Kelly Hashway/Ashelyn Drake said...

In case you don't see my response to your comment on my blog, I wanted to stop by to thank you for your well wishes after my grandfather passed away. The fact that you would think to offer condolences to a perfect stranger says so much about your character. The world needs more people like you, and please know that your kindness brightened my day.

Chrys Fey said...

I've always loved to add parsley to my garlic bread. :)

Karen Lange said...

The Herby bread looks delicious! This post brings back memories. My grandmother used to grow parsley in her garden. She used it in many recipes. Thanks for another informative post, Hilary. Have a good week! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rosey - yes Parsley is always there isn't it. I'd be more liberal - it's such a great healthy herb.

@ Nick - vital's a good word ... and I didn't list up all the uses of parsley, as other commenters have mentioned - vitamins C and K being the important ones.

@ Kelly - thanks for replying .. it's a pleasure and I'm so glad my comment brightened your day and helped you along a little ... take care

@ Chrys - those extra herbs in herby bread make such a difference - so 'gungily' good!

@ Karen - the herby bread is delicious .. mine is usually full of herbs. That's wonderful the post is reminding you of your grandmother and her garden ... and then her using it in many recipes, I expect your mother and you followed her example ...


Thanks so much everyone ... herby bread seems to be the taste of the day ... as long as parsley is included! Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow. Hilary

Susan Scott said...

am going NOW to pluck parsley from the communal veg patch Hilary, thank you - although I think the one there is not one I care for. I like the traditional curly one. Lovely photos - hunger pangs -
And yes, a known odour masker like garlic ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan ... glad the snails hadn't eaten your parsley patch ... pity about the beans - still you weren't expecting to have them - just one of your neighbours. The curly sort I think is the best ... so tasty ...

I'm not sure how well parsley does cover garlic-mouth ... still the concept is there ... perhaps it masks it for a short time: enough to avoid the law ...

Cheers - hope you enjoy your supper with its parsley garnish ... Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Yum! I love parsley.
Unfortunately, I don't like coriander, and sometimes when served it in restaurants, I take a big bite, thinking it's parsley, and then start making faces at my plate :P

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz - yes me too ... and I agree with you re coriander, can't quite get my taste buds around it ... though some friends from my South African days love it and usually have it around when I'm with them. I'll have to write up about it sometime ... and will need to give it a proper try then!

Cheers for now - Hilary