Go Green with Parsley!
By Edith Morgan
I love parsley – especially the curly stuff. The lowly and ubiquitous plant is so easily available, fresh; so easy to grow year after year; so useful for so many things.
I remember as a child, that my mother used it in so many ways: She chopped it up and added it to soups (she used a variety of herbs to enhance our meals’ flavor, but there were a lot of other uses that this great herb could be put to).
In the firm belief that we eat with our eyes as well as with our mouths, she used sprigs of parsley to decorate our food or the serving platters on which they came to the table. For a fancy meal with company, hors d’oeuvres were always laid out in pretty patterns and separated with sprigs of fresh parsley.
Soup all ready to serve? Chop up some fresh parsley and sprinkle it over the soup for extra flavor and décor.
Although we were not Italian, so pesto was not usually on our menu – I know you can chop up a cup of parsley and add it to your usual mix when making your own fresh pesto.
I love baked potatoes and particularly enjoy them stuffed with a number of mixtures: one of my favorites is sour cream, grated cheese and some chopped chives and parsley, mixed together and briefly re-heated so it melts together. That’s almost a whole meal in itself! Naturally, I eat the skin, which is where much of the nutrition is.
When I was growing up we did not have the myriad mouth rinses and breath fresheners that are available now, but we knew the effectiveness of chlorophyll – the green stuff so plentiful in parsley. In my day, chewing on a sprig of parsley was a good breath cleaner (later of course we got chlorophyll gum and toothpaste, etc., but parsley is still the easiest and cheapest remedy).
The plant itself is a most “thankful” one: I have had some parsley in my garden and was amazed that after using sprigs of it all summer and having pretty much given up on it as the snow piled up outside, this hardy little plant survived the winter and was putting out a new crop of parsley sprigs.
Of course, it is great when dried: you can buy it that way at any grocery store. But if you want to make your own dried parsley, it’s easy: I cut the stems off, lay the curly leaves out on a big cookie sheet and let them dry out. If you are in a hurry, turn the oven on a low temperature, put the cookie sheet in, turn the oven off and let the parsley dry out overnight. Then crush the dried leaves, store in a plastic bag.
I have occasionally just frozen fresh parsley for cooking. But for decorating platters and dishes, fresh parsley is most showy.
So, go out and buy a “bouquet” of parsley and enjoy it in as many ways as you can think of!