Parsley

The delicious and vibrant taste and wonderful healing properties of parsley are often ignored in its popular role as a table garnish. Highly nutritious, parsley can be found year round in your local supermarket. Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery). It is a biennial plant that will return to the garden year after year once it is established.

Nutritional Profile

Parsley is an excellent of vitamin K and vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate, and iron. Parsley’s volatile oil components include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Its flavonoids include apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.

Health Benefits

A sprig of parsley can provide much more than a decoration on your plate. Parsley contains two types of unusual components that provide unique health benefits. The first type is volatile oil components—including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. The second type is flavonoids—including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.

How to Select and Store

Whenever possible, choose fresh parsley over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Choose fresh parsley that is deep green in color and looks fresh and crisp. Avoid bunches that have leaves that are wilted or yellow as this indicates that they are either over mature or damaged. Just like with other dried herbs, if you choose to use dried parsley flakes, try to select organically grown parsley since this will give you more assurance that the herbs have not been irradiated.

Related: 10 Herbs and Spices for Optimum Health

Fresh parsley should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. If the parsley is slightly wilted, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before storing in the refrigerator.

If you have excess flat leaf parsley, you can easily dry it by laying it out in a single layer on a clean kitchen cloth. Once dried, it should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place. Curly leaf parsley is best preserved by freezing, as opposed to drying. Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing.

History

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe. While it has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, parsley was used medicinally prior to being consumed as a food. The ancient Greeks held parsley to be sacred, using it to not only adorn victors of athletic contests, but also for decorating the tombs of the deceased.

Nutrition Chart

Parsley, chopped, fresh | 0.50 cup | 30.40g | Calories: 11

NUTRIENTAMOUNTDRI/DV (%)
Vitamin K498.56 mcg554
Vitamin C40.43 mg54
Vitamin A128.04 mcg14
Vitamin E 0.23 mg2
Vitamin B10.03 mg3
Vitamin B20.03 mg 2
Vitamin B30.40 mg3
Vitamin B60.03 mg 2
Folate46.21 mcg12
Iron 1.88 mg10
Copper0.05 mg6
Potassium168.42 mg5
Selenium0.03 mcg0
Sodium17.02 mg1
Zinc0.33 mg 3
Calcium41.95 mg4
Magnesium15.20 mg4
Phosphorus17.63 mg3
Manganese0.05 mg3
Choline3.89 mg 1
Protein0.90 g 2
Carbohydrates1.92 g 1
Fiber1.00 g4

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Tips for Preparing Parsley

Fresh parsley should be washed right before using since it is highly fragile. The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and swish it around with your hands. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.

Related: 20 Healthiest Spices on Earth

Since it has a stronger flavor than the curly variety, Italian flat leaf parsley holds up better to cooking and therefore is usually the type preferred for hot dishes. It should be added towards the end of the cooking process so that it can best retain its taste, color and nutritional value.

If you are making a light colored sauce, use the stems from this variety as opposed to the leaves, so the sauce will take on the flavor of parsley but will not be imparted with its green color.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking With Parsley read: Recipes.

Source: www.whfoods.com

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