The world’s most popular culinary herb, also known as “rock celery!”
Plant a Patch of Parsley for an abundant supply.
Rub your seeds between fine to medium sandpaper or place between pieces of paper and ‘massage’ them with a rolling pin! Soak 24 hours for faster germination, 2 Cups H2O, ½ cup vinegar. Parsley seed has a chemical in the seed coat that inhibits germination. Soaking the seeds, then discarding that water, removes enough of the inhibitor to get things going. Put the seeds on a paper towel to drain so when your pick them up they don’t stick to your fingers in clumps. Another way, if you have the courage, is to freeze then soak the seeds, plant, pour a teakettle of boiling water down the row! I like the freezing part ok, but the boiling water would kill all the soil organisms, at least temporarily.
Parsley seeds need to be planted 1/8” deep, very at the surface, like lettuce seeds. Barely cover, or simply sprinkle on top of your soil, press in with the back of your hand. Parsley doesn’t germinate in the light! So cover it, maybe a piece of heavy black plastic. Keep watch; remove the cover when they have germinated. Seed packets say it takes 21 to 28 days to germinate, but soaking and covering will half that time! Some people get ‘em in 3 – 4 days!
Parsley is a bit particular. It likes moist but not mushy soil, has a tap root, so make your bed about 10” deep with rich soil. It likes regular deep water. Once it wilts, it usually doesn’t recover. The first year, it’s a biennial, you get abundant leaves! If you let it go to seed in its 2nd year, it’s pretty little yellow flowers are a host for swallowtail butterflies, and you have next year’s seeds!
Types of Parsley
Most popular are curly and Italian flat leaf. Both related to celery, the Italian is more fragrant, sweeter. Turnip-rooted, Hamburg, is grown for its roots, resembling salsify and burdock. Chinese parsley is actually cilantro!
More than a pretty face!
When I Googled ‘benefits of parsley,’ I was surprised at my options! Tea, juice, root, for dogs, leaves, oil, herb, and garlic, supplements! Most of us know it as the pretty sprig on your restaurant plate to cleanse your palate and breath at the end of your meal. More than that, parsley is high in vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C. It is one of the best reliefs for edema, helping when other remedies have failed; parsley is a reliable diuretic. Parsley’s volatile oils can help neutralize particular carcinogens that are part of cigarette and charcoal grill smoke! The Alpha & Omega oils in parsley are good for you because their short unsaturated molecules can most easily break up bigger fat molecules, allowing these bigger molecules to be more easily burned by the body. In short, you burn fat, lose weight! Not bad for such a small investment!
Parsley root tea makes stiff and unmanageable fingers work again. It’s easy to make! Pour a quart of boiling water over a cup of firmly packed fresh parsley and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and then refrigerate. Raw parsley juice is a most potent juice and should never be taken alone in quantities of more than one or two ounces at a time unless it is mixed into a sufficient quantity of carrot or other juices. Parsley can help with expelling watery poisons, excess mucus, flatulence (gas), and reducing swollen or enlarged glands.
Use parsley chopped with bulgur wheat, chopped green onions (scallions), mint leaves, lemon juice and olive oil to make the Middle Eastern classic dish, tabouli. Add parsley to pesto, as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef. Tasty in soups and tomato sauces. Serve a colorful salad of fennel, orange, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and parsley leaves. Chopped sprinkled on salads, vegetable sautés and grilled fish. Slide some into your sandwich! Bon appetit!
Avoid large amounts of parsley if you are pregnant, or if you have kidney or gallbladder problems. And, always, always, check with a qualified physician or health care professional before starting any herbal regime! Herbs are potent!