The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Herbcraft // Parsley

Now, I've never been much of a parsley fan - particularly not the curly-leaf variety which I always associate with garnishes on gastro-pub food from the 1980s. 

However, I am learning to make use of the flat-leaf variety in my culinary explorations - and it does have some fantastic medicinal qualities. 

Parsley is actually from the same family as the carrot - they have very similar leaves - and there is a variety of parsley which has an edible root, much like its culinary cousin. It has a 'grassy' scent and flavour and works well as a palate cleanser. 

Try adding parsley to soups, stews and pasta sauces for mild flavour or, if you really like the taste, you can whizz up a parsley pesto using a large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, a couple of garlic cloves, some pine nuts, parmesan cheese and a glug of olive oil in the food processor. This makes a lovely, fresh, summery pasta sauce - particularly with a generous squeeze of lemon. 

Medicinally, parsley's beneficial effects seem to be endless: anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic, laxative, mild brain tonic, diuretic, carminative, expectorant, gastric tonic, uterine tonic and a warming remedy for cold conditions. 

Parsley has traditionally been used in the treatment of urine and bladder disorders, inflammation of the prostate gland, PMT and menopausal hot flushes. Mashed and unheated, leaves were once apparently applied to the breasts of nursing mothers to arrest the flow of milk. 

Whether seeking to utilise its medicinal properties or simply adding some flavour to your cooking, it cannot be denied that, as it is so rich in minerals such as calcium potassium and silica, parsley is good for you. Apparently this combination of minerals will help to strengthen the hair, nails and skin - so it can make you beautiful too! 

I am a convert!

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