In South Africa, most of us are familiar with the curly parsley that is used to garnish a variety of dishes. Flat-leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley) is less readily available in our shops, so it makes sense to grow your own. Flat-leaf parsley has a far more intense, peppery flavour than its curly counterpart. Here are some tips on how to plant it and how you can use it.
Planting tips :
- Sow parsley seeds in an area of your garden which receives full sun and where the soil drains well. The parsley plant is a member of the carrot family, which means it develops a long tap root and does not like to be transplanted.
- Soak parsley seeds in lukewarm water for 24 hours prior to sowing.
- Sow the seeds 0.5cm deep, making sure they are totally covered by soil (they require darkness to germinate).
- Thin out the seedlings to a distance of 15-30cm apart when they reach a height of 5cm.
- Keep the soil moist and feed fortnightly with 2:3:2.
- Parsley is a potent immune booster: it is rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A.
- The fresh, slightly peppery taste of parsley combines very well with potato and rice dishes. It can also be used in salads and sandwiches.
- Italian parsley is an essential ingredient of the Middle Eastern salad tabbouleh, which is made with bulgur wheat, chopped tomatoes, mint, onion, garlic and Italian parsley.
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