Parsley

Origin & Names

There are two principal types of parsley; curly and flat-leaf. The type of parsley we will focus on in this post is flat-leaf which also goes by the name French parsley. Flat-leaf parsley is the more versatile of the two and is native to the central Mediterranean region. Parsley’s Latin name petroselinum is thought to come from the Greek word petrose, meaning rock, from its habit of growing on rocky landscapes.

Like with many herbs and spices, parsley was considered very highly in ancient times. The Greeks used it to both lay on tombs as well as to crown victors at their sporting games. The Romans are thought to have been the first to use it as a garnish and parsley was either hung from the neck or eaten after meal times as a way to reduce food odours or freshen the breath.

Geography & Cultivation

Although parsley is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean it is one of the most widely grown herbs in the world today. The Romans introduced the herb to Britain during their rule and it was subsequently taken by the early immigrants to the Americas some centuries later. Parsley is a hardy biennial meaning that it grows well in different climates but only for two years before it ceases to be productive. For anyone wishing to grow their own herbs, parsley is a great one to start with as it is very resilient and once established survives the British winter with little attention. The parsley we use at Hill & Vale is grown here in the UK in the county of Suffolk.

Picture of flat-leaf parsley growing at Hill & Vale HQ  

Food Uses

Flat-leaf parsley has a delicious light and clean flavour that can accompany almost any savoury ingredient imaginable. It is however rarely used as a flavour in its own right and often as a garnish as or as the basis of a sauce or condiment. Popular sauces include salsa verde used throughout Mexico and parsley sauce here in the UK. Here at Hill & Vale we use parsley in quite a few of our blends including our BBQ blend which is based on the Argentinian Chimichurri.

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