Parsley (Petroselinum spp.; Zones 5-9). This Mediterranean biennial has been cultivated since at least the 3rd century b.c. Choose flat-leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. neapolitanum; shown at right) for flavor and curly parsley (P. crispum) for garnishes. In addition to using the leaves in almost any savory dish, you can use the chopped roots—which taste like a cross between parsnips and carrots—in soups and stews.
The plant is quite cold-hardy and can be harvested even when temperatures hover around freezing.
Leda Meredith is a botanist, writer and instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, specializing in edible and medicinal plants. She is the author of Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes (Heliotrope Books, 2008).
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