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Parsley A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Parsley A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Parsley has many tales to tell, it is dangerous yet widely admired plant, thought to have incredible mystical properties and legends

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Parsley is well know for its anti-properties. It is antioxidant, antibacterial, antihistamines and antifungus.

Bouquet Garni
The bouquet garni ("garnished bouquet" in English) is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with strings and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. Most recipes include thyme, bay leaf, parsley, basil, burnet, chervil and rosemary.

Aroud the town of Cagliari, in Sardinian, Italy, there is a tower, built during XVI century, that is called Parsley tower. It was used to spot enemies that came from sea.

All sorts of superstitions arose about parsley and the devil. Virgins could not plant parsley for fear of being impregnated by Lucifer. Because parsley seeds took one month or more to germinate, it was posited that the seeds traveled to the devil and back multiple times before sprouting. Parsley could only be planted on Good Friday, again due to Satan’s influences.

Denis Diderot was a prominent person during the Enlightment and is known as co-founder, chief editor of, and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with D'Alembert. One of the best known sentences from Diderot is about Parsley: “It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley, but to believe or not believe in God is not important at all".

Parsley is linked to women in a number of ways. There is the British belief that parsley will stay green all year round outside the home where the wife is the boss. In the Fenlands (Cambridgeshire, England) it was even thought that if a woman's garden grew copious parsley, she would have all female children. This magic herb is likewise considered an aphrodisiac for women.

The Romans did not generally eat parsley, they did wear garlands of parsley on their heads during feasts to ward off intoxication. Parsley was kept away from nursing mothers because it was thought to cause epilepsy in their babies.

In the Iliad, Homer tells about Greek soldiers used to give parsley to their horses before the fight or during dangerous trips.

Probably the most commonly used herb in the world, parsley comes in two types: Italian parsley and curly parsley. Curly parsley is less flavorful than Italian parsley and is mainly used as a garnish.

The juice obtained from parsley is highly concentrated multivitamic with the added benefit of powerful phytochemicals. One cup of parsley contains a mere 22 calories, 133% of your required daily intake of vitamin C, 101% of vitamin A, and 21% of your daily need of iron.

King Henry VIII
Parsley was one among the favorite ingredients of King Henry VIII. He used to relish a parsley sauce on top of his roasted rabbit. Lion Parsley the Lion is a fictional character from the children's show The Herbs, transmitted from BBC1 in 1968. There was also a follow-up series called The Adventures of Parsley, which featured all of the other characters from the original show. Parsley was characterized by a droll humor.

The Parsley Massacre was a genocide (20,000 victims) perpetrated in October 1937, at the direct order of Dominican President Rafael Trujillo who ordered the execution of the Haitian population living in the borderlands with Haiti. To determine whether or not those living on the border were native Dominicans or immigrant Haitians, Dominican soldiers would hold up a sprig of parsley to someone and ask "What is this?"; how the person would pronounce the 'r' in the Spanish word for parsley (perejil) would determine his fate.

Neapolitan parsley is a typical kind of parsley from southern Italy. It has thick stalks, and is eaten in Italy like celery.

Gremolata or gremolada is a chopped herb condiment typically made of lemon zest, garlic and parsley. It is used in some traditional meal, and is famous for being the accompaniment to the Milanese braised veal shank dish “ossobuco alla Milanese”.

Poison Hemlock
A plant from the Parsley family that is very poisonous. Even a very small amount may cause death. This plant is easy to confuse with wild carrot or Queen Anne's lace or parsley, especially in its first stage of growth.

In jewish Qabbalah, the ritual meal of Passover, the ancient rules prescribe that the second item taken is the Carpas a mix made by onion, parsley and potato, dipped in salt-water.

In the Italian and French versions of the Rapunzel tale, the wife craves not rampion but parsley from the witch's garden. An interesting spin on that is that parsley was a very primitive abortifacient.

Simon and Garfunkel
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is the title of the third album by Simon & Garfunkel, released in 1966. Its name comes from the second line of the album's first track, "Scarborough Fair/Canticle", an English folk-song from the XVI century.

In Lebanon, parsley is a major ingredient in the national dish called tabbouleh. Traditionally it is made of bulgur (or couscous), tomatoes, cucumbers, finely chopped parsley, mint, onion and garlic. and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

Uterotonic effect
No major toxicities have been reported with the use (as a food) of parsley, but pregnant women should not take parsley because of possible uterotonic effects.

In ancient Greece the victors at the Isthmian Games would be given a wreath of parsley to wear on their heads. Witches In some areas of Britain, it was said that only a witch can germinate parsley. Perhaps this is why it is considered bad luck to transplant it. It certainly shows that whoever is growing it must have a way with plants, as it requires patience to germinate it.

X century
Parsley was well known since ancient times, but it was generally used as a medicine or for decoration. Only in the middle ages it became an ordinary food. Its popularity as an edible ingredient is most probably due to Charlemagne (IX century) and it spread in the X and XI centuries.

Y Apium virus
Apium virus Y is a recently described plant-virus that affects celery and parsley (from Australia to Mediterranean sea). Symptoms included mosaic, vein clearing or banding, and stunting.

Perejil is the name of a river in the Zaragoza Province, in the north-east of Spain. It is a tributary of Jalon that flows to the Ebro, the biggest river in Spain.

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