Parsley is a leafy herb that grows like a small shrub, up to roughly one foot in height. It has light green stems with multiple pairs of closely ruffled leaves growing at the ends. The curly variety is more fragile than the common flat-leafed variety, making it easy to shred or finely chop the herb for culinary applications. Parsley has a fresh, green aroma and flavor that is a combination of citrus, clove, and nutmeg, creating a unique taste. Parsley will flower in its second year, with circular clusters of white flowers sitting atop thin stems.
Parsley has been used for culinary applications for centuries. Parsley stems are traditionally used in a bouquet garni, a bundle of herbs classically used to infuse flavor into brines, sauces, soups, and stocks. The leaves are typically reserved for garnish. Both the stems and the leaves can be chopped and added to soups and stews at the end of the cooking process, to impart a fresh green flavor. Add freshly chopped Parsley to potato salads and coleslaws, green salads, and grains. Parsley adds a fresh flavor to tomato sauces, salad dressings, and herbed marinades for meats, fish or chicken. Parsley will lighten the intensity of garlic or the overpowering aromas of a fish in a dish. Chewing parsley after a meal can help freshen breath.
Parsley should be rinsed under cool water to remove any dirt before use. To ensure it is free from dirt and debris, soak the curly-leafed Parsley in shallow water for a few minutes prior to rinsing. Store unwashed Parsley in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic for up to a week.