Parsley, from the Umbellliferae plant family, is a very nutritious herb providing a good source of vitamins A, K, and C.
The fragrant oil from this herb is also used to make perfumes.
Selecting and Buying
Plant your seeds in the early spring, summer or autumn. Place the tiny seeds on top of the soil and keep moist until germination, which is 2 to 3 weeks. Thin the seedlings to about 3 inches apart. Planting is required yearly in most areas, but it is a biennial in warmer climates.
Water your parsley deeply at least once a week and don't allow the soil to dry out between watering. Light mulch helps retain moisture and keeps weeds under control.
Fertilize the plants in the garden once during the growing season, using a general purpose fertilizer and every 6 weeks if you have it potted indoors
Harvest by clipping the stalks close to the base, starting with the larger ones. This encourages new growth all during the growing season. If you just pinch the leaves off, your parsley will be less productive. Dry or freeze the leaves and use them within a year for optimum color and freshness
Preparation and Use
It is a widely used culinary herb that is most often used to garnish food but can also be added to food to impart a mild flavor. Eating parsley leaves is thought to freshen the breath and help with digestion.
In some countries certain types of parsley are used as garnish for plated dishes.
In India it is known as ajmoda and is used in soups, vegetable curries, and chutneys.
Sprinkle water on the paper towels and place them in a sealable plastic bag. Store this bag in the vegetable bin in your fridge.
Conserving and Storing
Using old parsley in recipes can ruin the entire dish, since parsley loses flavor when it is not fresh. In order for your recipes to turn out the way you expect them to, you must use the freshest ingredients. Wilted and dying parsley may lend less parsley flavor than you wanted. Buying cut herbs at the market can be very expensive, so keeping your parsley fresh is critical.
Be sure to purchase fresh parsley to start with. Look for brown or wilting leaves, and choose only the greenest, freshest-smelling parsley.
Store your rinsed parsley in a "green" bag as an alternative to the above Steps. Make sure all moisture is removed from the cut parsley and store in the "green" bags for a couple of weeks (see Resources below). These bags keep produce fresh for over 2 weeks. Keep this bag of parsley in your fridge.