Home > Cooking with Herbs > Cooking with Parsley

Cooking with Parsley

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 31 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cooking With Parsley Flat Leaf Parsley

Parsley is a commonly used herb in the UK as both an ingredient in cooking (such as in a parsley sauce) and also as a garnish for a number of different dishes. Parsley has a delicious fresh flavour and makes a great accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes, ranging from fish to potato and egg-based recipes.

Parsley is probably the most popular and widely used culinary herb in the world. Parsley originates in the Mediterranean but will grow happily in most climates and is available to buy throughout the year. Parsley will absorb odour and is useful if you want to freshen your breath after eating garlic. Chewing a small sprig of fresh parsley is said to reduce the garlic flavour of your breath.

Using Parsley in Cooking

There are two main types of parsley: flat-leaf (which resembles coriander) and curled. Both types bear the same flavour, however you may choose to use one variety over another depending on what you are cooking (flat leaf is easier to wash and chop, for example, but curly-leafed parsley stays looking fresh for longer and is easier to mince).

Parsley is too often used as a garnish in the UK and its fresh, crisp flavour is often overlooked. It has many culinary uses over the world, however; in France the curled variety is often deep-fried and served as an accompaniment to meats. It is also a common ingredient in the classic herb mixtures: bouquet garni and sachet d'épice (both of which are added to soup, stocks and stews to improve their flavour and are removed just before serving). The French also use a mixture of herbs called fines herbs’ in cooking, which is a combination in equal parts of parsley, chervil, chives and tarragon.

Parsley is also used extensively in Middle Eastern cooking, for example as a ingredient or accompaniment to tabouleh, falafel and chickpea dishes (including chickpea fritters which have a green outer shell that is coloured using parsley. In the UK, parsley may be used to make a delicious parsley sauce to be used as an accompaniment to fish dishes, cold ham, and broad beans among others. It can also be added to soups and potato dishes (such as a potato salad).

Harvesting Parsley

To harvest flat-leaf parsley, simply cut the stems with scissors, taking care not to remove all of the leaves (this will hamper the plant’s growth). Curled parsley leaf heads may be snipped off with scissors or secateurs. Wash the leaves thoroughly before eating, especially if you grow curled parsley (dirt can easily become trapped in the leaves). As with all herbs, try to use the parsley a very short time after harvesting; this will ensure its flavour, colour and nutrient levels remain at their highest.

Parley is a versatile herb that is often overlooked in British cooking and used simply a garnish. However it has a delicious, fresh flavour and may be used as an ingredient in sauces and soups, herb mixtures and even deep-fried and served as an accompaniment to meat. Parsley will grow happily in the UK and should be used fresh, within a couple of hours of harvesting.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • HerbExpert
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    New Gardener - Your Question:We moved house last year and have inherited a large straggly mature rosemary in the front garden that we want to get…
    25 May 2017
  • New Gardener
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    We moved house last year and have inherited a large straggly mature rosemary in the front garden that we want to get rid of. But, we also want to…
    23 May 2017
  • HerbExpert
    Re: Growing Basil
    pollad - Your Question:Cut or not to cut the stem when harvesting, evrytime I read a website someone says something different.
    23 May 2017
  • pollad
    Re: Growing Basil
    Cut or not to cut the stem when harvesting, evrytime I read a website someone says something different.
    22 May 2017
  • HerbExpert
    Re: How to Preserve Herbs
    Fuchsia pink - Your Question:Hi, once I've frozen my herbs, how long can I keep them in freeze ?Our Re
    19 May 2017
  • Fuchsia pink
    Re: How to Preserve Herbs
    Hi, once I've frozen my herbs, how long can i keep them in freeze ?
    18 May 2017
  • Piet
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    Hi We have a Rosemary 'tree' in the back of our garden which has been there for years. Shortly after we moved in the neighbours replaced their…
    13 May 2017
  • McKate1973
    Re: Growing Mint
    I've just gone into my communal garden to check on the progress of my mint which had just started to shoot up only to find the little boy next door has…
    13 April 2017
  • Phyllis
    Re: Growing and Harevesting Borage
    Can I cut borage plant back in the spring; if so, how much?
    8 April 2017
  • HerbExpert
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    Alcina - Your Question:MARTNAMM: assuming it's a specimen in a pot, not one you grew from seed, you can start chopping leaves off right away,…
    24 March 2017
  • Further Reading...
    Our Most Popular...
    Add to my Yahoo!
    Add to Google
    Stumble this
    Add to Twitter
    Add To Facebook
    RSS feed
    You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the HerbExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.