Parsley is used as a herb for garnishing and adding a distinct flavor to any dish especially soups and stews. People often confuse parsley with coriander, but these two are completely different herbs.
Parsley is milder in its flavor and also in its aroma when compared to coriander. The different types of parsley have varied leaf structures. In particular, the flat leaf parsley seems very close to coriander, but the best way to differentiate is to smell it. The robust and bolder aromatic one is always coriander.
It is used around the world to add freshness and aroma to delicacies from all the nations alike. It is categorized by its leaf structure.
Types of Parsley
Before dwelling into the types, let’s understand the two most common categories of Parsley division:
1) Flat Leaved Parsley
Tall parsley with a robust and bold flavor and aroma. It is more flavored than the other variant called the curly-leaved parsley. It is often cooked with other vegetables and consumed rather than just being used as a garnish. The various examples of this parsley are Gigante Catalongo, Italian Dark Green, Titan and giant of Italy.
2) Curly Leaved Parsley
This is the simplest parsley to grow on your own. It is commonly available. It is used as a garnish in various Mughlai delicacies. Its thick and dark green leaves are curled in appearance. It finds its major culinary use in garnishing. Few examples of its subtypes are forest green, decorator and the thick green varieties.
The various parsley varieties apart from the two mentioned above are:
3) Japanese Parsley
The Japanese parsley has sturdy and rigid stems which are used as celery very often. This parsley is primitively grown species of Japan and China.
4) Hamburg Parsley
The Hamburg parsley has parsnip-like thick roots which are used as flavoring agents in soups and curries. They look similar to ferns and thus, are also used as ornamentals in gardens. It is also called the German Parsley. The roots of this parsley can grow as deep as about 8 to 10 inches. It is only available in certain special and ethnic markets.
5) Italian Parsley
This parsley has leaves which are flat. Its oil content is high. This parsley has a mild flavor of freshness to it. It is often used as a garnish in many delicacies just to add a hint of freshness to them.
6) Common Parsley
Common parsley is just another name given to the curly parsley due to its abundant presence in the common local markets and grocery stores. Common parsley is just a way to indicate its easy availability.
Parsley Stems can also be used at times in cooking. Certain types of parsley have immensely sturdy stems which carry a unique flavor and aroma which is not as pungent as the leaves though but, can still be felt and tasted.
Parsley roots like in case of Hamburg are also edible at times and have a mild flavor if they are sturdy and rigid like other vegetable roots which are edible. Though, the availability of root parsley is still very sparse.
Health Benefits of Parsley
1) It has not just one but three such nutrition which helps in combating the deadly and chronic Cancer. The Myricetin, Chlorophyll, and Apigenin present in parsley help in prevention from various forms of cancer.
2) Halitosis or bad breath is something that is not appreciated by anyone and parsley helps in evading the same. As parsley is an antibacterial and prevents the growth of the bacteria which leads to the foul smell in your mouth. It further also helps in fighting body odor.
3) Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for your bones. It helps in giving them strength as it helps in the absorption of calcium and excretion of the excess calcium from your body and parsley if consumed in proper quantity can fulfill your daily Vitamin K requirements.
4) Parsley is known to contain Folate. Folate helps in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system by fighting the homocysteine whose high concentration can affect your heart health negatively. Further folate is known to be essential for pregnant women as it can maintain a healthy placenta.
5) Parsley is a great source of Vitamin C, which is known to help in the maintenance of healthy joints by lowering the pain and damage. It also helps in preventing yourself from the risk of arthritis.
6) The vitamin C and K together are known to be the best immunity booster for your body.
7) Parsley is also rich in Beta Carotene which not only helps in protection from cancer but, adds a glow to your face and skin and also delays the process of aging of your skin. It helps you in maintaining vibrant and youthful skin.
8) The flavonoids in parsley help in the production of enzymes from the liver which help in the detoxification of your body. Its diuretic nature further helps in frequent urination which also helps in flushing out toxins from your body.
9) Parsley has primitively been used as a scalp cleanser as it can add shine and increase the growth of your hair and also helps in retaining your natural hair color for a longer period.
10) Just add a dash of parsley for whiter skin. People in and around Asia often take treatments involving Glutathione for enhancing their skin complexions. This particular compound is abundantly present in parsley.
Mahatma Gandhi had once stated that neither gold or silver are real wealth but health is the real wealth we all need to gather. What better way to make yourselves wealthy than by adding a flavourful punch of freshness to your favorite delicacy or rather to any dish before you consume it and making it a tad bit healthier than its actual composition.
Parsley is not just nutritious but also have beneficial nutrients. Thus, including it in your daily diet will not be a tough task. Just add it as a herb to your tea or a garnish to any of your meals and the health quotient of that food item will be raised.