Petroselinum crispum, also known as parsley, is closely related to carrots, celery and parsnip. It's native to the eastern Mediterranean part of Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Parsley is an herb with an unmistakable talent for bringing together the flavors of other spices, herbs, and seasonings. While many people in the United States hear parsley and immediately think of the curly plate garnish that was popular in the 90s, it’s actually more commonly used as a spice in European and Middle Eastern cooking.
Parsley leaves have between .06% and .1% essential oil which is primarily myristicin (20.6%) and apiole (18.3%).
Parsley is called "makdunis" in Arabic, "xiang cai" in Mandarin, "persil" in French, "petersilie" in German, "ajmood" in Hindi, "prezzemolo" in Italian, "paseri" in Japanese, "salsinha" in Portuguese, "Petrushka" in Russian and "perejil" in Spanish. It is also called common parsley, Chinese coriander, garden parsley, parsley herb and western coriander.
The word parsley comes from a combination of the Old English word "petersille" and the Old French word "peresil." Both these words find their origin in the Medieval word "petrosilium," which has roots in both Greek and Latin as well. These words all hint at "rock" or "stone" and fit parsley well, as it has a propensity to spring up where the ground is naturally rocky and thus unsuitable for other herbs or plants to grow. "Rock celery" is an oft-recited meaning for the name parsley.
In the cannon of Greek Mythology, parsley is believed to have first come up from the blood of Archemorus, the forerunner of death. He died and from his blood came the first leaves of parsley. Thus, parsley was made into wreaths and hung on tombs or planted at graves. The phrase "to be in need of parsley" was code speak for "death is coming." On the brighter part of interesting historical happenings in ancient Greece, parsley was also used to crown victors of the Isthmian Games in Greece, which were similar to the Olympics but held in the spring of the 2nd and 4th years of each Olympiad. The ancient Greeks and Romans did not eat parsley, instead using it as a decorative border for their gardens.
Parsley has been domesticated for more and two centuries, and many food historians give the credit of popularizing the herb to Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, who lived from 747 to 814 ACE. He grew the herb all over his properties. Parsley was used medicinally long before it was consumed as a food in Europe in the middle ages.
First brought to colonies by colonists themselves, parsley has been grown here in the US ever since. Thomas Jefferson grew both Italian and curly parsley in his gardens, with his personal journals marking plantings of this herb from various years between 1774 and 1823.
The three types of parsley grown in the United States are curly leaf, Italian flat leaf, and hamburg parsley. Hamburg parsley is sometimes called turnip-root parsley. California, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, and California are responsible for 40% of the parsley production in the United States.
Parsley plants need at least 6 to 8 inches between them for optimal growth. They prefer soils that are slightly acidic, well-drained, and nutrient rich. They like lots of sun, but need some coolness, so if they are being grown in warmer climates, they like to have shade. Parsley must be watered frequently, as it doesn't like to be dry, but overwatering can cause root diseases. Parsley can grow up to a foot tall but can be eaten when it gets to about 6 inches tall. Farmers will often harvest parsley three times a year as it grows rather quickly
Our Ground Parsley comes from England.
There are several varieties of parsley grown for culinary uses including curly-leaf, flat-leaf, and hamburg. Some other popular varieties include banquet, Japanese parsley, dark moss colored, decorator, deep green, forrest green, improved market gardener, moss curled, and sherwood.
Parsley is a prominent ingredient in Middle Eastern recipes. Baba ganoush, hummus, and tabbouleh are all commonly made with parsley. It’s a key ingredient in French spice blends like Fines Herbes and Bouquet Garni. In Jewish Passover celebrations, parsley is an ingredient used to symbolize new beginnings.
Parsley should be added at the end of the cooking process, as it loses flavor rather quickly.
Parsley pairs well with fish-based dishes, eggs, lemon, tomato, and grains. When used in combination with other spices, it works well in combination with basil, chili powder, oregano, pepper, rosemary, sumac and tarragon.
Parsley is bright and somewhat bitter, and it adds a lovely vegetal flavor and aroma to any dish.
The best substitute for parsley is chervil, which is another delicate tasting herb.
If you want to substitute dried parsley for ground parsley, one teaspoon of dried parsley is roughly equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon of ground parsley.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*