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Today, parsley is used in many recipes and not only as a garnish to enhance the looks of a dish. I love using it both ways. I remember being in a restaurant with a friend years ago and he said, “The best salesman in the world must sell this stuff because it’s just for looks.”
Parsley originated in Greece over 2,000 years ago and was originally used in medicine. The word “parsley” is Greek for rock celery. The two most common kinds today are Italian flat leaf and curly leaf parsley. The Italian flat leaf is used more in recipes and the curly is used more as a garnish. Between the two types, the flat leaf has a fragrant and less bitter taste. This is why it is preferred in cooking. The stems have a stronger flavor than the leaves and can be used in recipes along with the leaves.
You can usually find fresh parsley in the grocery stores year round and it is not expensive. It will keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for a week and I freeze it, too. You can chop it and freeze in ice cubes or just put it in a freezer bag. The frozen does not do well as a garnish. Parsley will grow indoors or outdoors. I grow it in a pot on my windowsill all year. I love having it right in my kitchen where I can just trim off what I need. It makes a great garnish for fish, rice, chicken and vegetables and makes your dishes look so pretty. I use it in lots of recipes like soups, stews, sauces and salads. Parsley gives these dishes a fresher, stronger flavor and sort of tastes like celery. I prefer the fresh parsley over the dried but both work. One teaspoon of dried parsley is equal to 1 tablespoon of fresh in recipes and 1/2 cup of parsley is only 11 calories.
Parsley is a good source of calcium and potassium. It is high in iron and vitamins A, B, C and K. It has been known to be good for rheumatoid arthritis, heart health, digestion and lowering blood sugar in diabetics. It is also a breath freshener if you chew it. This may be one reason it was used as a garnish in many restaurants for years. It has been used for insect bites (just rub it on the bite) and in medicine for urinary tract infections. Parsley adds antioxidants to your diet.
If you follow my site, you know I use a lot of herbs and spices in my recipes. I love them all and think they are good for you. Go out and buy some parsley seeds and plant them in a pot or in the garden. I love having my herbs in my kitchen. Any sunny spot is good and they need to be watered frequently. There are several ways to dry parsley. You can do it in the oven on a baking sheet and very low heat for several hours, in the microwave or air dry it. . I hope you have learned something you didn’t know about this great herb and will use it often.
Check out other tips from our site here: Tips From The Southern Lady Cooks.
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