Parsley is an ancient herb rich in iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin K. The ever-present parsley sprig has taken on a bigger role in modern cooking. The herb is a substantial source of flavonoid phytochemicals such as lutein and quercetin, which may reduce the risk of cancer. As a saturated source of vitamin C, parsley may help reduce oxidative stress and fight cell-damaging free radicals. Parsley may serve as a mild diuretic that aids digestion during treatment and simultaneously lowers blood pressure with its high potassium content.
Available in Italian flat-leaf and curly varieties, parsley blends well with other herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of salads, stews, vegetables, and rice dishes. For taste and nutritional value, purchase fresh parsley rather than dried. Always rinse well before using it.
Not all parsley is created equal. Look for parsley that is crisp, deep green, and without wilted or yellow leaves. Wrap fresh parsley with a damp paper towel, stash it in a bag, and then in the vegetable drawer of your fridge to keep it crisp. It should store well for up to five days.
To store parsley in the freezer, gradually blend one cup of roughly chopped parsley leaves and a pinch of salt into ½ – ¾ cup of olive oil. This makes a thick, green, pesto-like paste that you can flat-freeze in a bag or container. This simple stand-by will give you parsley’s bright taste to stir into soups and stews if you can’t find it fresh.