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Parsley is a leafy herb that is entirely edible from root to seed. It typically grows 30-45 cm tall and produces petite whitish-yellow blossoms that grow in lacy flat-topped clusters in the classic umbel shape. Parsley flowers appear in the plant’s second year of growth after bolting occurs, usually during mid summer. They are mildly scented of parsley with lemony accents and a hint of sweetness. On the palate flowers have the same fresh green herbal flavors as its leaves, but to a lesser degree, and finish with a subtle texture.
Parsley flowers are available in the summer.
Parsley, Petroselinum crispum, is an herbaceous biennial in the same family as carrot, parsnip, celery, dill, fennel, cilantro and many others. Plants of the Umbelliferae family all share the same characteristic blossom structure that resembles the shape of an inverted umbrella. Known as an umbel, this flower shape is key in correctly identifying all parsley relatives including two deadly look-a-likes: poison hemlock and water hemlock. Blossoms from the two main varieties of parsley, Italian flat leaf and curly, are almost identical and may be used interchangeably.
Parsley flowers may be used in the same manner as the fresh leaves of the herb. The delicate blossoms quickly yellow and should be kept in a cool dark place to preserve freshness. Add flowers into classic parsley applications for an added texture and aesthetic appeal in tabbouleh, tzatziki, salsa verde, chimichurri, and pesto. Whole stems of blossoms and leaves may be tempura fried for a contrast between and fresh and fat. Add the flowers in fresh pasta dough and roll out thin to reveal their faint image. Parsley flowers’ lemony and green herbal flavor pairs with fish, mussels, clams, capers, lemon, butter, mint, garlic, pasta, parmesan cheese, crème fraîche, carrots and new potatoes.
Parsley was considered sacred among the ancient Greeks where it was used to celebrate their athletes and honor tombs of the deceased. Not until later in Roman history was it first found to be used in culinary applications.
Parsley is native to the Mediterranean, where its culinary reputation was proceeded by its medicinal uses. Today it is a commonly grown herb that is found worldwide. It thrives in moist loamy soil with full to partial sun. It is a slow germinating plant, but once growth is established flowers typically appear early in its second season of growth.