Parsley is a basic
member of every herb garden, its bright green
and deeply-divided leaves providing our most popular
garnish. You will find several varieties listed
in the seed catalogues – the curly-leaved
ones are the most decorative and the plain-leaved
types have the most flavour.
Sow seed ½ in (1cm) deep in April for a
summer and autumn crop and again in August for
winter use. Germination is slow – it may
take up to a couple of months. Rich soil in semi-shade
is ideal, and the seedlings should be thinned
to 9in (23cm) apart. Water in dry weather, and
cover over wintering plants with cloches or straw.
Remove flowering stems as they appear but a few
can be left in the second season to provide seeds
for self-sown parsley plants. Pick regularly to
ensure a continuous supply of fresh leaves –
for drying dip the sprigs in boiling water for
2 minutes and then place in a cool oven until
crisp. Crush and store as soon as the leaves are
The garnish par excellence, of course, and an
ingredient in fines herbes and a bouquet garni.
White sauce with chopped parsley is popular, but
for something different try parsley fried until
crisp and served with fish.