High in nutritional and medicinal value, parsley is so much more than mere garnish.

December 7, 2010

Parsley really has a lot more to offer than just being the token garnish on a plate of steak or fish. This herb is an excellent addition to most recipes, is rich in vitamins and minerals (A, C, calcium, and iron), and fights bad breath. Parsley is a biennial grown as an annual; it will grow in Zones 5 through 9. You can choose from two parsley varieties: curly leaf and flat-leaved.

Growing Guide

  • Soil preparation: Parsley grows best in rich, moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.
  • Planting: Sow seeds outdoors when the soil temperature averages 50°F. You'll need some patience because parsley seed germinates extremely slowly, often requiring 6 weeks before the seedlings poke up through the soil. (You can speed germination by soaking the seeds in water overnight before planting.)
  • Spacing: Once the seedlings pop up, thin them to 8 to 10 inches apart.

You can begin harvesting parsley as soon as the plants are growing vigorously. Snip individual outer stems from the plants; they'll continue to produce new growth all season long. Parsley dries and freezes well. If you dry it, crush it by hand after it's completely dry and store it in an airtight container.

Trivia Tidbits
In ancient Greece, parsley was used in funeral ceremonies and to make wreaths for graves. Parsley was also placed in wreaths given to winning athletes because the Greeks believed that the god Hercules had chosen parsley for his garlands.