Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Parsley / Persille





Spice Herb




Parsley

Petroselinum crispum


Parsley Petroselinum crispum is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, native to the central Mediterranean region and naturalized elsewhere in Europe - it is widely cultivated as a herb, a spice and a vegetable. The Latin name Petroselinum means "that which grows upon a cliff". Parsley was in ancient time shipped from Egypt to Greece and brought on to the Romans who brought it with them to Middle Europe. Today it is cultivated all over the world.








curly-leaf, wiki
Two main groups of parsley used as herbs are curly leaf and the Italian flat leaf group (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum). The flat leaf group more closely resembles the natural wild species. 


In Denmark parsley is not a part of our wild flora but it is often seen feral from cultivating. Parsley is the spice herb most commonly used in Scandinavia.




flat-leaf, wiki
















Garden

The fresh look of the plant means that it can be cultivated among the flowers in the garden and it is a fine border plant in the kitchen garden. The ancient Greek gardens were often framed with a border of parsley. Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some gardeners as it is easier to cultivate, it is more tolerant of both rain and sunshine and has a stronger flavor, while curley leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing. A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick leaf stems resembling celery.



herb garden Vitskøl kloster/GB




Parsley is biennial, the second year arrive lots of umbels with yellowgreen flowers and with the characteristic two-piece fruits. After the blooming season the leaves have a bitter taste. Parsley is easy to cultivate but it takes 7-8 weeks before you see a hint of something above ground. In the old days it was said that it took such a long time because the little seeds had to go seven times to and from the devil to ask permission to get up. Each tour took one week. But when Christianity arrived all the poor little seeds had to go seven times to and from the pope before they could get up through the soil..
Devil, Fanefjord, Møn /GB













The seeds can be sowed directly in the earth or in pots in spring. Some give the advice to put the seeds in lukewarm water for 24 hours before sowing.  The seeds have a bitter taste and are not suited for food. Parsley does not require the big care, but the rows with the new plants must be kept free of weed and the earth must be loose  If the parsley stands in a very sunny spot it is necessary to  water them regularly. Parsley should never be cultivated in the same place two years in a row.















You can start to pluck the leaves as soon as the plant has achieved a fair size. If the plants get enough water they will grow well. Parsley tolerates low temperatures well and you will be able to pluck fresh parsly until Christmas. The plant can overwinter but likes to be covered with sprigs of spruce in the cold period, then you'll have the old plant to pluck in early spring until it blooms and withers, while the newly sowed parsley grows up and is ready for use in early summer. 

Before the cold weather arrives in the winter season the plant can be moved to a pot and brought inside.  When the leaves are plucked regularly the plant will remain fine and bushy. 
 
 A Greek proverb "to be in the parsley" means that you have just started something.







Kitchen 
Anna Ancher; In the Kitchen
Parsley can be used as aroma and flavor enhancer in various dishes like vegetables, sauces, soups, stew and fish. Parsley reconciles all kinds of flavor so they go up in an artitstic unit. Parsley leaves and root should be used while fresh, they should not be kept more than two days before use. The leaves loose quickly the C-vitamin contents which is also reduced by cooking 

Fines herbes is traditionally: estragon, parsley, chervil, chives.

Bouquet of herbs for bouillabaise: fennel, lovage, 1 stalk hyssop, parsley, thyme, basil, sage, a bay leaf, and a little whole allspice. 


Parsley can be frozen or dried, when it is dried it is easy to crush in the hand. When drying parsley the leaves easily grow yellow if the drying proces is too long. It is better to dry the leaves in an open oven by 35 degrees  The dried leaves are kept in a glass jar.

Fresh parsley is also suited for freezing. Put fx finely chopped parsley in the icecube tray and it is then ready to put into the sauce.  

After a big meal a cup of parsley tea or a little parsley in vegetable juice is good. If you chew parsley after meals with garlic or onion you'll get a fresh breath .

The difference between parsley and hemlock: crushed hemlock has a very unpleasant odor resembling cat piss. 
 






History

herb and flowers garland, wiki
Parsley is described in a Greek herbal in the 3rd century B.C. In the Middle Ages parsley was often called the Devil's herb. People were convinced it meant death if the plant was moved from its place. The ancient Greeks considered parsley a bad plant and as a symbol of death and therefore it was used in funeral rituals.

In Rome however parsley was very popular. A garland of parsley was said to stop drunkenness - and the Romans had already discovered its good qualities in the kitchen too. 

In Greek mythology the hero Archemorus took part in the Istmian Games -  religious festivals which were celebrated at the island Isthmos in honor of the god Poseidon. Archemorus was wounded and when the drops of blood fell to the ground the parsley grew up and a victory garland was made for him from the herb. The Greeks and Romans decorated themselves with festival garlands where bunches of parsley were braided together with other plants and flowers.

King Mithridates, king of Pontos, was a fine botanist who knew all poisonous plants. He murdered his own family with poison, but he was afraid of being poisoned himself, and he invented an effective antidote: thyme, coriander, rue and many other spice herbs and lots of parsley. Nero later improved the  recipe.

The Romans gave the gladiators parsley before they had to go to fight in the arena -  it had almost the same effect as the spinach had on Pop-eye whose arm muscles grew to the double !



Folk Medicine
Scuola de medicine wikipedia
Plinius, wikipedia
Parsley was also used as a medicine plant in Antiquitiy, but Plinius warned however people against eating parsley beause it might make men and women unable to have children. 

Plinius also wrote that the plant was useful to spread in a fish pond in order to cure sick fish.

Highly fragrant plants  had a prominent place among the contraceptives and here was the origin of the brides' myrtle wreath, which should manifest that she no longer needed to drink parsley tea. Since parsley is strongly diuretic and contractive with a strong effect on the uterus, parsley oil was in the past used as a means to induce abortion, The frivolous girls' streets in Paris were called "The Parsley Streets". 




Parsley is a useful drug as well as a well-tasting spice herb.In spite of some superstition parsley was highly appreciated in ancient times, also as an effective aphrodisiac. The doctors prescribed it in medicine for almost all everything. It was also in great demand as for gastronomy -  and Galen said about 1800 years ago that it was a good and healthy herb to have in the garden. Culpeper said that parsley was ruled by Mercury who was the light messenger of the gods  Later he became the protector of the highwaymen and the god of trade.

parsley root, wiki

In medicine it was especially the root and the seeds of the plant which were used. They were a good help in bladder diseases, urinary infections, dropsy, kidney disorders. Soldiers in WWI, who suffered from kidney disorders associated with diarrhea, had prescribed parsley. Parsley's etheric oil contains apiol which irritates the kidneys and therefore works strongly diuretic. It is also used in rheumatic diseases, since it works conducive on the secretion  of accumulated waste products in the body. 

parsley seeds, wiki

As said above parsley is strongly diuretic and well suited for the treatment of urinary infections and for water retention, parsley stimulates the uric acid excretion and is good for gout, it increases the amount of breast milk and works stimulating in the musculature of the womb. It is the cause using parsley in migraine, asthma and other conditions which have to do with cramps in the smooth musculature. The substance apiol, which is a part of the etheric oil, works however specifically stimulating on the musculature in the uterus. Apiol is by far the highest concentration of the seeds and pregnant women should not take parsley seeds or compositions made from these. 

Parsley , wiki
Parsley was like uniper berries a means against edemas and a good means against long bladder infections The parsley seeds were used in a decoct against malaria, and it was used as a painkilling medicine in neurological disorders. The fresh leaves were put on tumors and insect bites.It was also used in problems with prostate after an inflammation. A mix of chopped parsley, salt and oil was used against toothache. 

The fruits and the root are still used in folk medicine against kidney disorders and dysmenorrhea, intestinal colic and as a diuretic. 

Warning: Since the fruits -  because of the apiol-content - in large doses and for a  long times' use  can give severe liver damage, intestinal inflammations and even paralysis of the central nervous system they must be used with utmost care, 





Vitamines 
Parsley is extremely valuable as a nutrient. 
Lots of vitamin A, it is also one of the most valuable  C-vitamin plants which contains almost twice as much ascorbin acid as black currant. Besides this it has also considerable amount of B vitamin . Parsley has seven times more A vitamin than carrots and four times more than in Spinach and it is very rich in minerals. Parsley is also rich in iron and strengthens the blood.


Cosmetics

Decoct of parsley as face water or upon protruding veins. 
Parsley juice used to bleach freckles. 
Macerated in water used as a hair rinse.







Source:
Anemette Olesen: Krydderurter i Haven; Annemarta Borgen: Krydderurtehaven på Knatten; Helbredende urter, Politiken ; Li Hillker: Naturens egen lægebog;  Magna Leth: Havens Krydderurter; Lægeplanter i farver, Politiken ; Hans Wohlmuth: Lægeplanter og Krydderurter til husbehov.

foto: grethe bachmann
foto: wikipedia
sketch: GB







2 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

I've copied and pasted the Greek proverb...we have a young Greek woman living with us for Christmas so I shall mention this to her!!...lovely post Grethe.

Thyra said...

Hej Gerry, that was funny that you've got a Greek guest to show it. I hope she speaks English. Greek is a very difficult language!!

I hope everything is okay where you live. The days here are so dark from morning till noon, but mild. No Christmas snow - yet.

I wish you a very happy Chrismtas!
Grethe