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Petroselinum sativum

Parsley

Its name derives from Latin “petroselion” which means “rocky celery” because you can find it growing wild close to rocks and walls.
However, Romans appreciated its aromatic and healthy properties and since roman times it became a vegetable garden plant; nowadays it is grown everywhere in Italy.

Harvest and preservation

Leaves are gradually harvested, when needed, by cutting them with the whole stalk and the closest to the ground, avoiding to damage central sprout.
It is a very fast growing plant; when cut it forms immediately new stalks.
Leaves can be used fresh or frozen but not dried, in order not to lose its perfume. For the same reason, it must be added at the end of cooking. A way of preserving it is to put stalks in water: in this way it can last for 1-3 days. It can also be put in the refrigerator, washed and in a perforated plastic bags, loose or wrapped in a towel.
When you wash it, don’t wipe it completely; when parched, dampen before put into the refrigerator.
Minced parsley can be frozen; when defrosted you can’t use it raw but you have to use it during cooking.

Therapeutic properties and benefits

Parsley is used as diuretic, depurative, antiseptic and antispasmodic and it is also used as decoction or infusion. Hair rinsed with parsley infusion are shining.
Leaves poultice is useful against contusions, bruises and insects’ bites.
Vitamin C has an antioxidant capacity and it is largely found in parsley as a fighter against free radicals; recent studies show that people who regularly assume Vitamin C have a lower chance to get ill with diabetes, arteriosclerosis and asthma.
An overuse, especially in pregnant women, may cause harms and diseases.

Curiosities

Parsley is popular both for its perfume and for its therapeutic properties. In the Middle Ages, Charles the Great had been the first to employ it as an aromatic herb.
Romans and Greeks used it mainly as a decorative element. Greeks decorated with parsley graves and flowerbeds; they also wore it on the head during banquets: they thought it gave happiness and whetted appetite.
Both Greeks and Romans used it to crown games’ winners or used it interlaced in wreaths, offered to guests. Greeks used it for its therapeutic powers, also: it was a real good remedy for toothache.
In Italian idiomatic expression “be like parsley” means to be always there, turning up everywhere, to be intrusive (it is similar to the English “to have a finger in every pie”): this is because parsley it is used in a lot of dish preparation, both as an ingredient and as a decorative element of plates.
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Varieties

Curled parsley
Curled parsley
Petroselinum crispum, with curled and deep green leaves.
Flat parsley
Flat parsley
Petroselinum sativum, with flat and ragged leaves, and a taste similar to celery. It is more perfumed and less bitter than curled one.
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Cooking tips

Its main characteristic is it can be used everywhere, both to flavour food and to decorate plates. It also intensifies other herbs taste; it is used in starters, sauces, pasta, soups, cheese, meat but especially seafood. Just one tip: use it raw to keep its taste (and to help digestion); in warm dishes it must be added at the end of cooking.
Minced it flavours herbs butter, sauces, gravies, eggs and mushrooms dishes.

Calories

There are about 36 calories in 100 gr parsley.
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Recipes