Are you going to Scarborough Fair? You better have your dried parsley handy!
Parsley is a key, balancing, elemental herb. It’s especially focal in British cuisine. It became part of a 19th century ballad called “Scarborough Fair,” made famous in the 20th century by the American folk rock duo Simon and Garfunkel:
The herb, fresh, is the best flavor, as much of the essential oils flavor is dulled by the drying process. The dried is used in soups, sauces, stews, and rubs. A little of the dried, on top of a dish, can be used as a garnish, like other dried herbs, but with less of the woody, crunchy mouth feel.
It is used in European, Middle Eastern, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as the preferred garnish. In Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, as well as in western Asia, many dishes are topped with fresh or dried parsley.
There are three types of parsley:
Seldom a standout, parsley is usually a role player, and peacemaker, balancing out stronger spices with contrasting flavor notes: Fresh parsley finishes slightly peppery/bitter, but starts with a crisp leafy, chlorophyll taste. Dried, it is more mellow, with a less intense grassy-chlorophyll flavor, and bitterness.
It is best used to balance savory flavors like onion, and garlic. Like cilantro, fresh parsley can help reduce some of the gas-producing effects of consuming garlic, as well as rounding out the taste.
Native to the Central Mediterranean, it grows wild in Sardinia, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Southern Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Today, it is grown domestically, and commercially, all over the globe, indoors, and outdoors.
The recommended dried parsley, from our supplier, comes from Hungary.
Generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for human consumption in amounts called for in recipes, consuming large quantities of parsley is toxic. Do not consume the purified essential oil.
In people with edema, it may cause sodium, and water retention. Pregnant women, and those with kidney disease should avoid eating.
Excessive contact with this herb may cause varying degrees of skin inflammation. Parsley contains, in very small quantities, myristicine, a psychotropic.
The word “parsley” means “rock celery.” Derived from a pair of Greek words: “petrose,” meaning rock, because parsley’s natural home is growing in craggy, rocky, terrain; and “selenium,” the ancient Greek name for celery. Parsley was sacred to them; never eaten. They believed that it sprang from the fallen hero Archemorus’ blood, as he was being eaten by serpents. They made crowns of parsley for the winners of sporting events.
Use of it culinarily goes back at least 2,000 years, in the Mediterranean, where it is native. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the Great, had it planted around his estate, which improved its popularity as a decorative.
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