Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). The delicious and vibrant taste and wonderful healing properties of parsley are often ignored in its popular role as a table garnish. Highly nutritious, parsley can be found year round in your local supermarket.
The two main groups of parsley used as herbs are curly leaf and Italian. Italian parsley is favored by cooks for its slightly peppery flavor. Considered a beneficial/medicinal herb as well as an attractive garnish, Italian Parsley works well when combined with a variety of fresh vegetables including beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and turnips.
Parsley has proven anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to boost the immune system. It is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A. It is also a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. While it plays numerous roles in the body, one of the main roles is promoting cardiovascular health. It is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division making it vitally important for cancer-prevention in the colon, and in women, the cervix.
Whenever possible, choose fresh parsley over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Choose fresh parsley that is deep green in color and looks fresh and crisp. Avoid bunches that have leaves that are wilted or yellow.
Fresh parsley should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and washed right before use. The best way to clean it is to place it in a bowl of cold water and swish it around with your hands, allowing any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.
Add it to your favorite pasta dish or salad or sprinkle it over fresh fish or mashed potatoes. Or give it a try in sauces, dressings or your favorite compound butter. It is versatile, tasty, and healthy, making it a perfect ingredient!