Chervil

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About

Chervil is a delicate culinary herb that can be grown year round. It is considered to be an essential ingredient in fine cooking, especially for adding flavor to sauces, egg and fish dishes.

The fresh leaves of Chervil are usually added at the end of cooking, because cooking and drying tend to cause this herb to lose its flavor.

Chervil is a nutrient rich herb, providing vitamin C and minerals that are essential for the body. This herb also acts as a diuretic, aids digestion and the purification of blood in the body.

Information

Other names: Anthriscus Cerefolium
Translations: Kārvele, Daržinis builis, Asmăţui, Trstika, Rau mùi, Trybula, Kervel, केरविल, Cerefólio, Кервель, Σκαντζίκι, البقدونس الإفرنجي, 차빌, Kerblík, Cervil, Tsewil, 细叶芹, Cerfull, Krebuljico, Trebuľka, Cerfoglio, צ 'רביל, Körvel, Трстика, チャービル, Cerfeuil, Kerbel, Kørvel, Kjørvel, Perifollo, Кервель, Kirveli, Кервел

Physical Description

Chervil has fern like leaves and looks a little like French parsley. It has clusters of small white flowers and a spicy flavour.

The plants grow to 40-70 cm, with tripinnate leaves that may be curly. The small white flowers form small umbels, 2.5-5 cm across. The fruit is about 1 cm long, oblong-ovoid with a slender, ridged beak.

Colors: green and brown

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet,
Mouthfeel: Herbal, Delicate
Food complements: Used to season poultry, Seafood and young vegetables
Substitutes: Parsley, Tarragon, Fennel leaves, Fine herbs, Cicely, Dried parsley, Dried chervil

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: When you are buying dried Chervil, choose dried Chervil that is still a dark green: light green or yellow is old and has been exposed to light too long. Freeze-dried or frozen Chervil will have better flavour.
Buying: You can get dried Chervil from the local market.
Procuring: Chervil is best grown seeded in place - transplanting can be difficult, due to the long taproot. It prefers a cool and moist location, otherwise it rapidly goes to seed (also known as bolting). Regular harvesting of leaves also helps to prevent bolting. If plants bolt despite precautions, the plant can be periodically re-sown through the growing season, thus producing fresh plants as older plants bolt and go out of production.

Conserving and Storing

option 1:
If you want to get the most out of your chervil, one of the things that you can do is to simply put the herbs in the fridge. There are no special techniques to be used here. All you need to do is to take the leaves (cut off the branches if you want), and put them inside a bowl full of water (the water must be cool, not too cold). Put these in the refrigerator, and keep it there until the need to utilize them arises.

option 2:
This is another way that you can preserve the flavor of the herb. If you are used to growing and tending plants, the technique will be very familiar, but if not the process involves fastening the branches together and consigning it to a place in the house that is dry and with no moisture (a drawer, for example).

After the drying process, you can remove the branches and roll the leaves in your hand, preparing it for use in cooking.

Option 3:
If you need to keep the chervil around for a couple of weeks, keeping the herbs in a chilly environment is the perfect solution. To prepare the plant for cold storage, first it is necessary to remove the twigs. After discarding them, prepare a plastic container to hold the leaves. You can keep the leaves as is, or you may crush them.

Social/Political

Chervil is also linked to the Easter celebration in parts of Europe, where it is eaten as part of the ceremony for Holy Thursday. Chervil is associated with Easter because its aroma is similar to that of myrrh (one of the gifts to the baby Jesus from the three wise men) and because of its early spring sprouting symbolizes renewal.

History: These tender young leaves have been used in spring tonics for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Dandelion, watercress and chervil were combined to combat the nutritive deficiency brought on by winter (and lack of fresh greens). This combination of greens with all their vitamins and minerals were thought to rejuvenate the body. Even today European herbalists recommend this tonic. In Norway and France bowls of minced fresh chervil leaves often accompany meals. People liberally sprinkle this on salads, soups and stews.

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