A hardy plant
“I haven’t planted parsley in years,” one gardener told me, “and the same plants keep coming back.” The same patch, perhaps, but not the same plants. Biennial parsley stays green and usable late into the fall; wise gardeners leave the parsley row undisturbed during the October cleanup. The hardy plants often survive winter and resprout at spring’s first encouragement. If left to flower and set seed, parsley perpetuates itself, but the original plants die away after seeding. We use new leaves from last year’s plants until the current crop thickens up—an eight-month harvest.
Cooking with your parsley crop
There are many ways to bring the goodness of parsley to the table. The easiest is simply to mince and toss it into mixed salads, coleslaw and potato salads. Tabbouleh, a cold Lebanese salad that starts with cooked bulgur wheat, is green with parsley. Egg or tuna salads can be well flecked; most sauces are better for parsley, as are sautéed mushrooms. Stir sweet butter, minced parsley and chervil into plain cooked rice, and season with freshly ground pepper and Parmesan cheese; a garnish of sweet red pepper and slivered almonds makes this easy dish festive. I add a generous sprinkling of freshly minced parsley to most soups just before serving.
Used with permission from Herbs: The Complete Gardener's Guide by Patrick Lima. Photograph(s) by Turid Forsyth, Firefly Books 2012, $24.95 paperback.