Preparation / Directions:
Umbelliferae family Language and mythology: Parsley is thought to have originated in Sardinia, but the plant has been altered significantly by cultivation. In mythology, parsley was believed to have sprung from a Greek hero, Archemorous, the forerunner of death. Greeks crowned winners at the Isthmian games with parsley, and warriors fed the leaves to their horses. Description: Parsley has thin, spindle-shaped roots, which produce erect, grooved, glabrous, angular stems. The lower leaves are bi- or triternately divided. The dark green upper leaves are divided pinnately into featherlike sections and can be flat or curled, depending on the variety. The small greenish yellow flowers have five petals on compound umbels. Plant type and hardiness: Biennial; hardiness zone 9. Height and width: Height 18 to 24 inches; width 8 to 16 inches. Light and soil: Full sun to partial shade; rich, moist soil with a pH of 6. Pests and disease: Crown rot, carrot weevils, parsley worms, and nematodes. Cultivation: Sow seeds outside in spring. Place seeds in drills 1/2 inch deep and cover with soil. Thin to about 3 inches apart. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Companion planting: Parsley helps the growth of roses and tomatoes. Propagation method: Seeds. Bloom time and color: June to August; greenish yellow. Harvesting: Parsley is best if used fresh; cut as needed. To dry, place sprigs on a tray in an oven preheated to 120C (250F). The oven should be turned off before the trays are placed in it. Leave sprigs in the oven for 15 minutes, flipping several times. Store in airtight containers away from light. Parsley also can be frozen with a little bit of water in ice cube trays or wrapped in foil and frozen. Parsley butter also can be frozen. Herbal uses: Cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal. Parsley is added to bath water to sooth and cleanse. It also is used in shampoo, perfume, soap, and lotion. It flavors sautes, grilled meat, poultry, soups, and salads. It may be used in herbal butters and vinegars or as a garnish. Parsley can be used to make golden green or yellow dyes. It also can be grown in containers. It is said to have some medicinal qualities.