Also known as curled or curly parsley, flat leaf parsley and Italian parsley. It is readily available in dried leaves and fresh leaves. Store dried leaves in a cool, dry, dark place. Store fresh in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Parsley is a great all around herb. It quickly adds a touch of color and texture to any recipe. The aroma and taste of parsley is very distinctive for a herb that is generally described as being mild and non obtrusive.
Use fresh or dried parsley in any recipe. Especially good in omelets, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, pasta and vegetable dishes as well as sauces to go with fish, poultry, veal and pork. Use fresh leaves as garnish.
Parsley has a delicate favor that combines well with other herbs like basil, bay leaves, chives, dill weed, garlic, marjoram, mint, oregano and thyme.
Flat leaf or Italian is used primarily in cooking because of its more robust flavor and curly parsley is used primarily for garnish (flat leaf Italian parsley pictured above left - curly parsley on the right). Add at the end of cooking for better flavor.
Cultivation of Parsley
Site: Parsley likes full sun or light shade. Plant in a rich moist and deeply dug soil. Water during dry weather.
Propagation: Although germination is notoriously slow, seed propagation is the easiest way to start plants. The rate of germination can range from 2 - 5 weeks. To help hasten the process, soak the seeds in warm water twenty-four hours prior to planting. Seeds can be started indoors in the late winter approximately 6 - 8 weeks ahead of time for outdoor planting. Seeds can also be sown directly in the ground where they are to be grown, after danger of spring frosts has passed. Sow evenly, covering seeds with 1/8 inch of soil and keep them moist.
Growing: Thin or transplant plants to 9 inches apart. Parsley must be protected in cold weather by covering with cloches or straw. Parsley can also be grown well indoors.
Harvesting: Pick leaves for continued regrowth. Remove flowering stems as they appear, but a few can be left in the second season to provide seeds for self sowing.
Culinary Uses: Curly leaf varieties are probably the most attractive for garnishes but the most flavorful are the Italian or flat leaf varieties. Parsley leaves have mild flavoring and can be added raw to salads. Finely chop and sprinkle over sandwiches, egg dishes, vegetable soups, fish and boiled potatoes. Add to spreads and sauces or cook to enhance other flavors. Always add toward the end of cooking time.