Last Updated : Mar 02,2019
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What is Parsley? 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.
Parsley is the world's most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning "rock celery". It is an erect, biennial plant with a fleshy aromatic tap root and dark shiny leaves which rise from a short stem.
There are two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley or moss-curled and Italian flat leaf parsley. The Italian variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety.
While parsley is a wonderfully nutritious and healing food, it is often under-appreciated. Most people do not realize that this vegetable has more uses than just being a decorative garnish that accompanies restaurant meals. They do not know that parsley is actually a storehouse of nutrients and that it features a delicious green and vibrant taste.
Gather the washed parsley leaves into a tight ball and hold them with one hand on the cutting board. Using a large cutting knife, slice across the parsley, bringing the knife down and forward or down and backward while sliding it along the mid-section of the fingers of the other hand. Then, holding the handle firmly in one hand, rest the fingers of the other hand on top of the blade (this hand does not apply much pressure on the blade, but rather directs it), bring the front of the blade down first, then back. Repeat till the parsley is finely chopped. Chopped parsley can be sprinkled on a host of different recipes, including salads, vegetable sautés.You can even use parsly stems, chop them and use as required.
Dried parsley is brownish green in colour. Dried leaves when crushed have strong aroma and a pungent, bitter taste. It can be stored for long and used in delicacies like pastas, pizzas, salads, soups etc. It's advisable to store refrigerated in an air-tight container.
How to Select Parsley
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 as this indicates that they are either overmature or damaged. Just like with other dried herbs, if you choose to purchase dried parsley flakes, try to select organically grown parsley since this will give you more assurance that the herbs have not been irradiated.
Culinary Uses Parsley
" No kitchen should be without a good supply of this multi-purpose herb. It can be used as a garnish and flavouring and as a vegetable Parsley can be used in almost any savoury dish.
" It's especially good used in great quantities in fresh salads or in soups and tomato sauces. Chop or shred it and mix with butter to melt over fish or to glaze vegetables.
" There's just as much flavour in the stalk as in the leaf and both are used to flavour stews and stocks.
" It's delicious briefly deep-fried and served as a vegetable.
" Use it in marinades, stuffings, in omelettes - the list goes on!
" Fresh parsley should be washed right before using since it is highly fragile. The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and swish it around with your hands. This will allow 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.
" Since it has a stronger flavor than the curly variety, Italian flat leaf parsley holds up better to cooking and therefore is usually the type preferred for hot dishes. It should be added towards the end of the cooking process so that it can best retain its taste, color and nutritional value.
" Combine chopped parsley with chopped green onions (scallions), mint leaves, lemon juice and olive oil.
" Add parsley to pesto sauce to add more texture to its green color.
" Serve a colorful salad of fennel, orange, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and parsley leaves.
" Stir Parsley into melted garlic butter for a savory, yet simple, pasta or steamed vegetable topper.
How to Store Parsley
Fresh parsley should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. If the parsley is slightly wilted, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before storing in the refrigerator.
If you have excess flat leaf parsley, you can easily dry it by laying it out in a single layer on a clean kitchen cloth. Once dried, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. Curly leaf parsley is best preserved by freezing, as opposed to drying. Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing.
Benefits of Parsley
A sprig of parsley is more than just a garnish! Very much true that it’s a fresh herb which adds its eminent taste to any dish you cook. It finds place in boiled potato delicacies, grain based salads, vegetable soups, fresh juices, starters and also in dips and spreads. Equally elaborative are its health benefits due to the intricate list of nutrients it abounds in.
10 Health Benefits of Parsley
Here’s an enormous list of why you should include parsley in your diet….
1. Parsley for Bone Strengthening : Parsley is a fairly good source of calcium, which is definitely known to support bone strength. Vitamin K, is also a key nutrient which helps in bone metabolism. Parsley abounds in this vitamin and vitamin C too, which helps in collagen synthesis around bones. Thus vitamins C and K are important key nutrients, without which your bones would become fragile. Also check out more Calcium Rich, Vitamin C Rich and Vitamin K Rich Recipes.
2. Parsley for Strong Immunity : Vitamins C, A and B9 – all work as antioxidants to build your immunity. They fight common diseases as well as strip off harmful free radicals from your body and prevents chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and so on….
3. Parsley for Healthy Heart : A cup of parsley is good enough to fill your days need of folate, which helps to reduce homocysteine levels in the body. A high level of homocysteine (which are naturally occurring amino acids in our body) can put you at risk of heart diseases and stroke by damaging your blood vessels. Find a comprehensive list on Heart-friendly foods here.
If you want to know the Health Benefits of Parsley, click here.
Nutritive Information for Parsley:
½ Cup of chopped parsley is about 60 grams
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy - 20 calories
Protein – 1.3 g
Carbohydrate – 4.1 g
Fat – 0.3 g
Fiber – 2.6 g
561.6 mcg of Vitamin A = 11.7% of RDA (about 4800 mcg)
54 mg of Vitamin C = 135% of RDA (about 40 mg)
109.8 mcg of Folate (Vitamin B9) = 109.8% of RDA (about 100 mcg)
984 mcg of Vitamin K = 820% of RDA (about 120 mcg)
78 mg of Calcium = 7.8% of RDA (about 1000 mg)
3.72 mg of Iron = 18.6% of RDA (about 20 mg)
30 mg of Magnesium = 8.5% of RDA (about 350 mg)
105 mg of Phosphorus = 17.5% of RDA (about 600 mg)
321 mg of Potassium = 6.8% of RDA (about 4700 g)
0.43 mg of Zinc = 3.5% of RDA (about 10 to 12 mg)
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