Home-grown parsley, which is a member of the carrot family, loves the outdoors in warm weather. It is often used as a decorative border or as filler for flowering plants. See also Italian parsley.

Fresh parsley is the ultimate garnish its attractive and does not detract from the flavor of the food. In fact, while it is one of the more basic herbs, it is the most popular for home cooks and chefs alike. Varieties Fresh varieties of parsley include Italian, which is also known as flat or broadleaf, and English, or curly. Chinese Parsley, or cilantro, is related but is not generally categorized with these less flavorful garnishes. While there are more than forty species, these are the best known and most widely used.

Parsley flakes are widely available from a handful of manufacturers.

Buying Tips

The English variety is available year-round. Avoid bunches with yellowing leaves or wilted stems. When using sprigs fresh from the garden, wilted leaves may rebound if the stems are placed in water. Storage Tips Fresh parsley can actually become a decorative item in the kitchen.

Simply place the stems in a glass of water and leave on the counter; no refrigeration is needed. They should remain fresh for 5-6 days. Change the water daily. If refrigerating, wash thoroughly and remove excess water with a towel. Place in a plastic bag after wrapping with a paper towel. Dehydrate either in the oven or microwave until it crumbles.

Freezing is much preferred, however, to maintain flavor. Ground or flaked parsley will keep about six months. Usage Tips When cooking with either dried (for color) or fresh (for flavor) parsley, always add it in the last two or three minutes of cooking.

Otherwise, the flavor may be lost or turn bitter. Italian parsley has more flavor and should be used for cooking. English parsley works best as a garnish. Use both stems and leaves for cooking.

Substitution Tips 

2 fresh sprigs will make 1 tablespoon chopped. 1 tablespoon fresh chopped is equal to 1 teaspoon dried. 

Replace with cilantro (for a stronger flavor) or the inner green tips of celery.