Patsy Bell Hobson is a freelance writer. Read Oh Grow Up! for garden treasures. Her travel adventures can be read around the world at Striped Pot Travel with the world's best writers. When not in the garden or on the road, find her in southern Missouri. She is counting the days until the next gardening season. Find more garden, travel and random rants on her Facebook page.
I'm already thinking about spring. It's time to order seeds and think about what I will grow in my home garden. One seed I know I will be ordering is parsley. Parsley seed is best started indoors and then planted in the herb garden. Although it is very slow to germinate, don't give up; Don't be discouraged!
I grow both the curly and flat-leaved variety. They can be interchanged in most any recipe. However, dedicated Italian cooks will swear that flat-leaf parsley (or Italian parsley) is the very best.
Really, I use whichever is available (or which plants need a trim). When curley parsly leaves are small or young, they are milder and sweeter; the full parsley flavor comes as the plant matures. Its flavor intensifies even more after it is chopped for recipes.
I use my La Chamba pottery to serve Braised Beef and Short Ribs with Parsley.
Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson
Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. In fact, a glass of parsley juice would have as much vitamin C as a glass of orange juice. Now, I'm not advocating that you give up your glass of morning sunshine—the idea is probably not a trend setter—but it might help you feel virtuous about eating your garnish.
If this is your first try at growing herbs from seed, don't give up. Start seeds indoors to get a head start. When you eventually transplant your parsley, also scatter a few seeds near the plant. The plant will serve as a marker to remind you when the seed does come up.
This curly parsley variety voluntarily grew in my Zone 6 herb garden.
Photo by opacity/Courtesy Flickr
In addition to the volunteer parsley that comes up earlier than anything I sow, I am starting Italian 'Gigante' parsley from seed. Renee's Garden has agreed to give away more seed packets to three lucky Herb Companion readers. There will be a random drawing for Italian 'Gigante' parsley. I have always had great success with seed I order from Renee's Garden. Find additional help and encouragement on the Renee's website. There are some very creative and original recipes there too.
HOW TO ENTER:
• Post a comment below telling us your favorite way to use parsley.
End date: February 1, 2011 (12:00 AM, Central Time) UPDATE: Time's up!
And the winners are ...
HB in Ammon, Idaho: "Flat parsley makes the most beautiful shadow work when making spring rolls. The delicate pastry lets a faint trace of the parsleys form and color peak through and tempts you to try just one more!!"
Raven in Fresno, California: "I dehydrate my garden parsley and use on numerous dishes and in my fruit smoothie."
Sonia in Falls Church, Virginia: "What a great giveaway! I can never have too much parsley growing, both outside and inside, all year long. I use it in almost every recipe, and also sometimes as a breath-freshener."