Posted by: Rabideye | August 20, 2009

What to do with all that parsley?

Parsley: Upstairs-Downstairs

Parsley: Upstairs-Downstairs

This year, I am growing a lot of Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, by design. This familiar herb will bolt and go to seed the second year only, after having survived the mild local winters (and sometimes even the extreme ones out east), so it makes sense to replant parsley seeds at least every year, to make sure you get your fill.

This year, I have three crops going at once: the seed-bearing ones from last year, the ones I seeded in the spring, and new ones I seeded in mid-summer.So, while the seeds are nicely forming on last year’s plants, I am picking the spring and summer-planted versions.These plants will continue to produce throughout the winter (though less profusely than they are now).

Here are some interesting parsley facts and a recipe for tabboule below!

edited from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsley

Companion plant

Parsley is widely used as a companion plant in gardens. Like many other umbellifers, it attracts predatory insects, including wasps and predatory flies to gardens, which then tend to protect plants nearby. For example, they are especially useful for protecting tomato plants as the wasps that kill tomato hornworms also eat nectar from parsley. While parsley is biennial, not blooming until its second year, even in its first year it is reputed to help cover up the strong scent of the tomato plant, reducing pest attraction.

Preserving Parsley

Parsley is sold dried and you can certainly do this at home with a dehydrator or using your oven at c. 130 degrees for 6-8 hours  BUT I find that washed parsley that is air-dried or with a salad spinner can be stored easily in the freezer. It actually tastes fresh too! Once washed, you may want to cut off the thicker stems and just pop them into a freezer bag, remove the air with a straw and pack away You can also use an old plastic yogurt tub and pack them in tight. Once frozen, you can chip away at the parsley with a fork and it will crumble. DO make sure that the parsley is sufficiently water-free before packing and freezing, though. This same process can be used for basil. But if all you need are small amounts of the green stuff, you can probably get away with just continuing to grow a few plants in a pot or sunny spot outside year-round. Yes, we’re lucky here in the Powell River Region!

Culinary use

In Central and Eastern Europe and in West Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Green parsley is often used as a garnish. The fresh flavor of the green parsley goes extremely well with potato dishes (french fries, boiled buttered potatoes or mashed potato), with rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), with fish, fried chicken, lamb or goose, steaks, meat or vegetable stews[2] (like Beef Bourguignon, Goulash or Chicken paprikash). In Southern and Central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used to flavor stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups like chicken soup, green salads or salads like Salade Olivier, on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés. Parsley is a key ingredient in several West Asian salads, e.g., tabbouleh (the national dish of Lebanon). Persillade is mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley in the French cuisine. Gremolata is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian veal stew, Ossobuco alla milanese, a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.

In addition, the consumption of parsley is thought to contribute to sweet smelling breath.

Parsley seeds forming...

Parsley seeds forming...

Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولة‎; also tabouleh or tabouli) is a Levantine Arab salad dish,[1] often used as part of a mezze. Its primary ingredients are finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, scallion (spring onion), and other herbs with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings, generally including black pepper and sometimes cinnamon and allspice.

In the Levant, tabbouleh is traditionally eaten with a lettuce leaf,[2] but in the United States it is often served with pita bread, or tortilla chips as a dip.

Tabbouleh is popular in Brazil and in the Dominican Republic (where it is known as tipili), due to Middle Eastern emigrants who settled there.

Make it! (from: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1643,152167-248193,00.html)

TABOULE SALAD

3 bunches of parsley
2 med. tomatoes
1/2 onion
1/2 bunch of scallions
2 lemons
1 1/2 oz. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. dried mint
Touch of black pepper
1/4 c. raw bulgar wheat or cracked wheat
First, soak the raw bulgar wheat or cracked wheat in water according to the package directions and set aside for appropriate length of time. Next, you have to take care of the parsley. It should be washed and rinsed carefully, at least three times, to get rid of all sand that may cling to it. Then chop the parsley by hand or food processor. Now chop the other vegetables: tomatoes, onions, and scallions. Squeeze the two lemons to extract the juice.In the summer, you can use fresh mint instead of dried mint (it’s much better!). Now, mix everything together. Place the whole thing in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

Health risks (mostly it’s parsley OIL that can be a problem)

La modération a bien meilleur goût (Moderation tastes much better!)

  • Parsley should not be consumed as a drug or supplement by pregnant women. Parsley as an oil, root, leaf, or seed could lead to uterine stimulation and preterm labor.[3]Parsley is high (1.70% by mass, [1]) in oxalic acid, a compound involved in the formation of kidney stones and nutrient deficiencies.Parsley oil contains furanocoumarins and psoralens which leads to extreme photosensitivity if used orally.[4]Caution: There is some indication that large amounts of Parsley can have toxic effects on the liver and lungs, can irritate the kidneys, and cause skin irritation. While normal, average consumption is safe, please consult a Doctor
  • if you are considering any sort of medicinal use of Parsley. Parsley is “a course in vitamin therapy all by itself”, according to Rodale’s
  • Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. This little herb is packed with Vitamins A,B, Calcium, Iron, and more Vitamin C per volume than an orange. Parsley is a particularly good source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for healthy blood clotting and, recently, a study showed that one form of vitamin K may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Parsley is also a good source of vitamins A and C which have strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. It’s low in calories; 2 tablespoons of this refreshing herb has a paltry 2 calories!
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