8 Jan

There is alittle more to parsley than the green decoration on your plate



Parsley, a familiar ingredient to most of us. How many restaurants dump a piece of this wonderful herb on the side of our plates as a garnish? There is an old belief for this.  The Romans placed parsley on their plates to protect the food from contamination and ate it to sweeten their breath after meals. This is where its tradition as a garnish originated.

They also tucked it into their togas for protection and wore it on their heads to protect them from inebriation.


Much of the folklore associated with parsley refers to a look alike plant called “fool’s parsley” which is Aethusea cynapium, a plant native to Europe, Asia and Africa. It is related to hemlock, and like hemlock, is poisonous; hence the unpleasant meanings  


  • In Germany and the United States it is believed that if parsley would not grow in your garden, someone in the household will die soon.

*Virgins could not plant parsley or they would risk being impregnated by the Devil.

European folklore says that only pregnant women and witches can grow parsley properly and that it should be planted on Good Friday for the best crop.

*When parsley was planted, it was believed that the seeds travelled back and forth between it’s planting spot and the devil seven times before it germinated.


Also , do not confuse Parsley with cilantro


Here’s the deal. Parsley brightens flavors. It adds balance to savory dishes ,  the way that a little lemon juice can make something just taste better. Parsley is a mild “bitter”.


Cilantro is the leaf of the young coriander plant, Coriandrum sativum, an herb in the parsley family, similar to anise. Cilantro is traditionally used in Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Asian cooking. Cilantro’s taste is a fragrant mix of parsley and citrus.


Beyond its ability  to supplement flavor, parsley is also extraordinarily nutritious. In just half a cup (admittedly, more than you get in most dishes, tabouli excepted), parsley offers over 50% of your daily requirements  of  vitamin  C and 500% of vitamin K, among many other vitamins and minerals …


Parsley originated in Italy but has been grown in the UK since the 1548. Flat-leaf parsley, which is the type commonly used in Italian cuisine  was not often grown in England because it is close in appearance to a very poisonous plant there,    Anthriscus cynapium (although that plant does not smell like parsley); .


Parsley is supposedly poisonous to birds,  although  it is the host plant  to the Anise Swallowtail and the Black Swallow tail Butterflies.


Anise Swallowtail (Papilio zelicaon) Photo   Black Swallowtail Butterfly


Try adding some parsley to any fruit you are juicing to increase its benefit. Adding this wonderful herb will increase and strengthen the powers of whatever else you’re using. As herb lovers and cooks, we need to start using this most common of herbs more, as it has so many benefits and so much magic and lore attached to it!





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