Petroselinum crispum: Parsley

Family: Apiaceae
Common name: Parsley

Used as a vegetable, herb, or garnish – Parsley is a versatile plant that can be easily grown in kitchen gardens and used in a variety of dishes. They can be used in salads, soups, stir-fries, egg, chicken, or fish and adds a beautiful peppery flavor to the dish.

Parsley plants grow to a height of half a meter with beautiful rosettes of tripinnate leaves on long, green stems. The leaves are about 20 cms long and the small leaflets are 1-3 cms long.

Each leaf has 3 beautiful, crinkled leaflets in a triangular shape. But the leaves are so close to each other, that they look like one green bouquet, and it is difficult to distinguish the leaflets unless you look closer.

They are biennials that produce only leaves in the first year of growth but produce yellow flowers on long stalks during the second year of growth. They also produce tiny 2-4 mm long fruits which are initially green, and later turns brown.

There are primarily 3 types of parsley; Petroselinum crispum var. crispum or Curly leaf parsley which is the most commonly used one; Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum or Flat leaf parsley which has a sweeter and smoother flavor; Petroselinum crispum var. tuberosum or Humburg parsley which is primarily grown for its roots, which resembles parsnip, but is very different in taste.

In addition to being used as garnishes; parsley leaves are used for making tea, which is a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Parsley is used in risottos, potato dishes, steaks, stews, baked meat, beans, condiments, bread, pizza, marinades, soups, stocks, and sauces.

Parsley leaves have antibacterial properties and help in improving immunity, liver and bone health. It is said to help in the treatment of diabetes and kidney stones.

Propagation is through seeds, which takes 4-6 weeks for germination.