Living with Herbs
Parsley is an annual herb that is native to Europe and the Mediterranean area.
Parsley is highly nutritious and may be considered a natural vitamin and mineral supplement by itself. You should make it a main ingredient in dishes and not just sprinkle a few chopped leaves over your food for color.
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One cup parsley provides 101% daily value of vitamin A, 133% DV of vitamin C, 1230 % DV of vitamin K, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, and is a good source of Protein, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Zinc.
Leaves, seeds and root are used in herbal medicine – leaves mostly for the nutritional value, seeds and root as a diuretic to flush out waste and to promote menstruation. Leaves contain volatile oils that relieve cramps and flatulence as well as flavonoids that are anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
The seeds have stronger diuretic actions and are used like celery seeds in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. Seeds – prepared as tea or cooked in soup – encourage the flushing out of waste products and toxins.
Grow your own fresh parsley
Parsley grows in every garden and climate. If you live in areas with hot summers, choose to grow parsley in fall. Grow your own parsley in a pot. This way you will be able to change its location to more or less sun. Like all herbs parsley grows stronger outside, exposed to sun and fresh air. Grow from seeds or buy plants at a farmers market, not in a super market. Cut leaves as frequently as you desire, they will grow back. Parsley even needs ‘a haircut’ once in a while to grow strong.
If the plant brings out flowers, let them bloom and convert into seeds.
How to use best
Chop fresh parsley and add to every meal, if possible: salads, veggies, potatoes, you name it. Always add at the very last minute. Do not cook fresh parsley. Vital vitamins will be destroyed.
Parsley pesto: Chop parsley leaves (1 cup or more, firmly packed) coarse, transfer to a blender, and add some nuts (walnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts) as well as some garlic and blend. Add some olive oil while blending until smooth. This pesto will freshen up steamed fish as well as grilled chicken breast.
Combine cooked 2 cups quinoa with 4 cups parsley. Add 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved), finely sliced celery stems, and 2 cloves chopped garlic. Make vinaigrette out of lemon juice (4-5 tablespoons) and olive oil (8 tablespoons), salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle some walnuts or sunflower seeds on top.
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It's easy and healthy using more herbs: 'Living With Herbs' is a blog giving little tips, recipes, and information on herbs.
Dr. Angela C. Fritz