Friday, January 30, 2009

Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley

Italian flat-leaf parsley (Petroselinum neapolitanum) is a bright green, biennial herb with serrated leaves and a clean, slightly peppery taste. Its flavor is stronger than that of its ruffled cousin, curly-leaf parsley. It is often used as a garnish. It is very common in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. The flat-leaved parsley is superior for flavor and is prized by gourmets as the most flavorful of all parsleys. Native to the eastern Mediterranean and related to celery. It can grow to 10-12 inches tall.

How to grow
Soaking parsley seeds overnight before sowing shortens the germination period. Parsley seeds will sprout best at a temperature of around 20° centigrade when you can expect about 70% germination in about 14 days.
Transplant as soon as they have two sets of true leaves (and the soil is warm), because they have a long root and resent being transplanted once they have begun to leaf out. If you're growing them in a pot for the kitchen window, select a container that is long and narrow rather than wide and shallow, to give the root room to run. Parsley grown indoors requires at least five hours of sunlight a day.

Planting session: Early spring.

Days to Maturity: 75-80

In Central and Eastern Europe and in West Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Green parsley is often used as a garnish. The fresh flavor of the green parsley goes extremely well with potato dishes (french fries, boiled buttered potatoes or mashed potato), with rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), with fish, fried chicken, lamb or goose, steaks, meat or vegetable stews.

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