meet italian parsley
Italian parsley is usually underestimated, and I am doing my part to change that! I always choose Italian parsley over the curly variety! Why? Because it provides:
- great fresh flavor, no bitterness like the curly kind
- more essential oils in the leaves, providing a peppery flavor
- nice ‘mouthfeel,’ compared to the curly stuff
- high concentration of antioxidants
- one cup has more beta carotene than large carrot
- as much vitamin C as an orange
- nearly as much calcium as 1/2 cup milk
- four times as much iron as spinach
When you buy flat-leaf parsley at the grocery store, look for deep green leaves without brown or yellow spots. Yellowing parsley is past its use-by date.
To wash particularly sandy herbs such as basil, parsley, or cilantro, fill a bowl with cool water, swish the herb around in it to let the sand sink to the bottom, remove the herbs, and pour out the bowl of water. Rinse the bowl to remove any excess sand and repeat until you’re certain that it’s clean. Dry the parsley between paper towels or in a salad spinner, or trim off the bottoms and store it in a container of water, like flowers. Allow the parsley to dry naturally. It will keep a few days on the counter, or cover the dry parsley with a plastic bag and refrigerate. If you wait for it to dry and them chop the entire bunch, store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or so! Always ready to use — I LOVE that!
fast and easy way to chop parsley
Watch our video about dealing with parsley!
when to use parsley
Delicate fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, chives, dill, coriander, etc. are generally chopped, snipped, or torn and added at the end of cooking to maximize their flavor impact. We use the stems (yes, just the stems!) as part of a “bouquet garni” in soups, stocks and sauces to add flavor. These go in early in the cooking process.
Italian parsley plants are easy to grow in our Northwest climate, although they tend to go to seed after a year or two. Take my advice and stop by your local nursery to pick up a couple of plants. Parsley is notoriously difficult to start from seed, but if you water it, you will have a hard time killing an established plant.
And now, I offer up
an italian parsley haiku
by Beth Flaherty, caterer
O unremarked herb,
Intense, leafy, flat; you need
Basil’s press agent.