In a corner of the garden, we have planted a parsley bush that provides us with enough harvest for our own consumption and to give to other people. Today we know how to grow parsley.
“It is the parsley of all sauces,” said the grandmother to refer to the person who meddles in everything, who was always present and as the protagonist.
Petroselinum sativum is a herbaceous plant of the Apiaceae family that is cultivated as a vegetable. There are three types of parsley, the one with curly leaves (var. Crispum), the one with smooth and larger leaves (var. latifolium or giant from Italy) and there is another type of parsley (var. Tuberosum) from which its roots take advantage.
We grow the medium-sized, curly-leaved variety that is also known as garden parsley. Plants reach between 20 and 50 cm. They have an erect, compact, striated, glabrous (hairless) stem with ramifications from the base.
The leaves are bright dark green. They are compound leaves, petiolate and with triangular, jagged and curly follicles that arise from a central axis (pinnatisect).
It blooms in summer. The flowers are compound, greenish-white. The fruits are ribbed and ovoid achenes that are used as seed.
How to grow parsley
Parsley prefers temperate climates but resists the cold, it develops well in deep soils, rich in organic matter and with a neutral or slightly acidic pH.
A farmer from the town gave us some parsley seeds. In the month of June, we chose a small marginal area of the garden (half a square meter) well sunny, sheltered and that we do not till annually. We dig it with the hoe to eliminate weeds and aerate the earth, so it will be loose, without lumps and fluffy. Water with the watering can. We practice with the hand a few longitudinal grooves and there we place the seeds by blows, separated about 15 cm. We cover the seeds lightly with soil and water again.
It took a long time to germinate, about 30 days and until then we kept the soil moist. In summer we water with the watering can several times and weed out the weeds that arise between the bushes. You have not been affected by any plague or disease.
Parsley is a biennial plant, the first year a terrestrial rosette develops from which compound leaves emerge, the second year produces a branched stalk with alternate leaves ending in flowering umbels. In the second year, we will let seeds mature and sow them in the same area.
In the first year, at the end of the summer, we already cut branches of our parsley for self-consumption. The branches should be cut before flowering when they have three well-developed true leaves. If we water, it encourages regrowth and the growth of new branches.
When the leaves are overripe their color turns yellowish. We cut them but do not consume them.
We use parsley in small quantities, as a condiment, to provide flavor, color, and aroma when preparing numerous dishes. The flavor and aroma of parsley is characteristic of this aromatic herb.
According to the FEN, parsley contains protein, fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, folates, thiamine, essential oils (apiol and myristicin) and flavonoids (highlights apiece, with diuretic effect).
It is recommended to consume it fresh and, like all vegetables, always wash it using a stream of tap water.
To preserve it and to maintain most of its properties, freezing is preferable to drying. Therefore it is better that you buy fresh parsley and if you want to keep it, freeze it instead of buying cans with dried parsley.
Parsley is one of the aromatic herbs that identify Mediterranean cuisine. It contributes to seasoning many dishes and allows less salt to be used in its preparation. Essential oils are responsible for the aromas and are best manifested by squeezing the plants fresh, with a mortar for example.
At home there is never a lack of parsley, fresh or frozen, to prepare numerous dishes such as hake in green sauce, many stews and of course in the “filling”, it is a kind of omelet made with breadcrumbs, a little salt, and parsley, which is always part of our cooked chickpea.
Parsley has its origin in Europe (some place it on the island of Sardinia) and its cultivation is widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean area. Back in the Roman Empire, gladiators consumed parsley before fighting because they believed it provided cunning and strength.
Parsley can be grown at home in a pot. We must ensure that it has direct sunlight and that it does not lack humidity. This cultivation option allows us to consume it immediately after cutting. I know that sometimes they give it away in greengrocers, but, being such a simple and productive crop, don’t you find it interesting to have your own fresh parsley
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