Photo by Rachael Brugger
Parsley is a delicate-flavored herb in the Apiaceae family, meaning it is a close cousin of vegetables like carrots, celery and parsnips, and herbs like dill, fennel and cilantro. There are two types of parsley: flat leaf and curly leaf. (Flat leaf is what you’ll see in the video below.) Flat leaf varieties, such as Giant Italian, tend to be more flavorful than curly leaf varieties, though it’s acceptable to substitute one for another in a recipe that calls for a specific type.
Although they’re slow to germinate, parsley plants can produce an abundant amount of herb for kitchen use. Originating in Sardinia, it’s partial to zone-9 gardens. Plants prefer full sun, growing to 18 to 24 inches tall and 8 to 16 inches wide, and produce dark-green upper leaves. It’s important to continually harvest parsley and avoid letting it bloom—this encourages growth and ensures you get the flavor you want to make your soups and casseroles shine.
To harvest, select larger stems of the plant and cut them at the base. Use immediately, or wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and keep in the fridge for a couple of days.