For me there’s nothing more delicious than a beautifully prepared meal using simple, high quality, fresh ingredients. This includes glorious fresh herbs, in all their light, clean, fresh glory.
The Romans were the first to make culinary use of parsley and had a custom of placing a sprig of it on their plates to guard against poison and food spoilage. It was also thought to stimulate the appetite and put you in a good mood, not to mention freshen your breath!
As the mainstay of the culinary herb world, no kitchen should be without fresh parsley. It’s mild, savory, slightly peppery and grassy flavor goes with just about every dish you cook and still allows the flavors of other ingredients to come through. It’s also great for adding a burst of color and freshness to any dish when added at the end of cooking. Plus, it’s one of the herbs that is available year round in practically every grocery store around.
Flat leaf Italian parsley is preferable for cooking, as it stands up well to heat and has a stronger flavor than curly parsley, which is less assertive and often used for decorative garnishing. Unfortunately, dried parsley makes for a poor substitute for either.
- Just 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley provides us with 153% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K – great news for bone health.
- It’s loaded with vitamins A and C, plus iron and a number of flavonoid compounds (such as luteolin and apigenin, which have an antioxidant effect and eradicate free radicals).
- The chlorophyll and essential oils in parsley freshen the breath and are thought to have an antibacterial effect as well as cleansing and oxygenating the blood.
- Parsley acts as a diuretic which stimulates the bladder, liver, kidney, digestive system, thyroid and stomach to work efficiently.
- Incredibly alkalinizing, parsley has detoxifying benefits that help leave you feel energized and refreshed.
PARSLEY DETOX SHAKE
The parsley, cucumber and celery work as a diuretic, and the lemon and ginger are powerful anti-inflammatories, plus add a little zing.
Yields 1 large shake.
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup cucumber, chopped
1 celery stick
1 small apple, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup water
1. Blend all ingredients in a blender on high until smooth.
Parsley stems can also be used in cooking – they have a more intense flavor than the leaves, and therefore are often used as a basis in cooking fresh stocks, as well as soups and stews – go ahead use the whole frond, just remove before serving. In Europe, parsley root, similar looking to parsnip, with its nutty, celery-like flavor is also often used in soups and stews; just use it the same way you would use other root vegetables.
Parsley is fabulous with about anything, whether it’s pasta, potatoes, soups, vegetable dishes, poultry or fish. It blends well with other herbs and is perfect as a garnish, especially sprinkled chopped over any dish that needs to be pepped up with a bit of color. A simple and quick way to chop the leaves is to use kitchen scissors. Voila!
Fresh parsley can be stored, bouquet-style, with the stems down, in a jar or glass of water in the fridge door. To keep it freshest, change the water every other day. This way, it will keep for up to a week, or even longer. Alternatively, loosely wrap the parsley in a damp paper towel, then seal in a zip-top plastic bag filled with air. Refrigerate for up to five days.