Thinking of another herb that is easy to plant at home? Think no further; get your hands dirty by planting parsley. This herb is so easy to grow that it requires no special or extra care to get it growing.
As a garnish or as a main component in cooking, you should see parsley in almost all Mediterranean, European even American cooking since parsley is native to the Mediterranean area. Despite its marvellous addition of taste to dishes like pasta and soup, this herb packs a punch of vitamins and nutrients upon consumption.
The benefits of parsley
Parsley contributes several different benefits to the human body. It is proven that with just half a cup of parsley or 30 grams of fresh parsley, it contains a good amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A. Research published by the National Library of Medicine in 2015 cited that parsley could prevent cancer growth as it contains a natural chemical called Apigenin that helps deteriorate the development of the tumour.
Another benefit of parsley is that it is high in antioxidants that help strengthen immunity which helps the human body combat some diseases that could be fatal to us. Interestingly, researchers also demonstrated that dried parsley proved to have a higher antioxidant than fresh parsley. With high Vitamin K content, parsley is also a key ingredient in ensuring healthy bone growth. Vitamin K functions as a magnet for calcium that helps in increasing bone density.
Different types of parsley
When reading out the recipe, occasionally would call for parsley, but rarely does it specify its type. Interestingly, there are four types of parsley, and each one of them is distinctively different from one another.
Curly parsley (Curled parsley)
Like its name, this type of parsley has curled up bright green coloured leaves that look like a small tree when it is in bunches and all ruffled up. In Southeast Asia, people would recognise this parsley by the name of English parsley.
Curly parsley has a mild flavour and is slightly peppery. Because of its lack of intensity in its taste and bright colour, curly parsley is often used as a garnish in soup dishes. British people also have a traditional sauce called English Parsley Sauce, usually eaten with baked or pan-fried fish or baked ham.
The most common parsley that people incorporate in their cooking would be this one. Italian parsley or flat-leaf parsley has a more intense flavour compared to the latter. Due to its broad leaves, flat-leaf parsley is easier to cut compared to other types of parsley.
While other parsley is native to the Mediterranean and European region, this type of parsley is native to East Asia. This parsley is slightly bitter compared to other parsley, and the stem looked similar to celery. In Japanese, it’s called Mitsuba. Considered unique, this parsley is known to warm the body during winter by drinking it as a tea combined with other ingredients such as ginger.
Toxic plants that should not be consumed/ not edible.
Parsley in Malay
Parsley in Malay is known as ‘pasli’ or ‘daun pasli’. It also shouldn’t be confused with daun ketumbar or daun sup, though they may look like identical twins.
Can you parsley grow in Malaysia
Yes, parsley is one of those plants that are perfect for a home garden in Malaysia. After the germination process, parsley grows quickly with just sun and water. No-fuss with it. Just make sure that you water the plant consistently to keep the soil moist to promote growth.
Whether hot and sunny all year round, Malaysian weather makes it a perfect place to plant this delicious herb at home, whether you live in a strata property or landed houses with a big or small garden to make a vegetable garden.
At the same time, despite needing sunlight to grow, it is advisable to expose your parsley pot to sunlight for at least 6 hours per day and keep it under a shade but still occasionally receive some sun to keep it from dying.
How do you grow parsley at home
Malaysians are so blessed to have a climate that has a steady supply of sunlight, which can sometimes be too much; nonetheless, no sun is too much for growing plants. Parsley is considered a biennial plant. However, this classification depends relatively on the location of where the plant grows. Perhaps in a tropical climate like Malaysia, parsley will perform like a perennial plant.
Growing parsley in pots
Growing parsley in a pot is no different than growing it on the ground. All you need is a pot with drainage holes and a soilless potting mix. Why soilless potting mix and not the regular garden soil, you ask? Because garden soil is heavy and could be compact after some time and after occasional watering. Due to the composition of organic material, lighter weight, and free of pests and insects, the soilless potting mix offered peace of mind by making water drainage easier in the pot and making the pot easy to move around.
How to plant parsley from cuttings
Parsley is known to take their own time during the germination process, either from the seed or the cutting. Nonetheless, nothing is impossible even with just a cutting; you can still grow this type of herb.
Step 1: You need to have around 7 cm of the parsley cutting with the leaves on the top and remember to remove the leaves close to the bottom of the stem.
Step 2: Just like planting it in the soil, once you have parsley cutting, put it in a water-filled jar, and you must place the jar in a place that receives direct sunlight. An ideal place is by the windowsill. Change the water every few days to promote growth.
Step 3: Leave it there for a few weeks until you notice the roots growing out
Step 4: Transfer into the soil or a pot as soon as you can and grow on
How to grow parsley indoors
Do not be scared or intimidated to grow parsley indoors. It is relatively simple to plant parsley indoors. You just need to find that spot in your house where you can put your potted plant, probably close to a big window, to make sure that it gets enough sunlight. Especially parsley, all it needs is sunlight and water. Also, consider planting parsley in a big spacious pot; change it as it grows bigger in the future as it has a taproot, which means the central root grows vertically downward.
How to grow parsley from seeds
Growing parsley from scratch, right from the seeds, can be tricky. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Soak the seeds in warm water overnight before you plant them.
Step 2: Be sure to sow the parsley seeds one or two inches apart and about ¼ and ⅛ an inch deep in the pot.
Step 3: Parsley is famous for its low germination rate, hence leaving it to germinate for about three weeks.
Step 4: Water regularly to make sure the soil is moist and the roots and the foliage of the plant grow out properly.
Parsley seeds germinate in five to six weeks while the plants mature in 70 to 90 days.
Will parsley grow back after cutting
Yes, under the proper care. In other words, cutting or pruning the plant should be done correctly, including parsley. Parsley is one of those plants that, when it is matured, pruning stimulates its growth and allows more space for new shoots to grow.
How to care for parsley
Parsley plants need to be watered regularly during dry periods or hot weather. Dry soils make the plants seed prematurely. Also, use a liquid plant food or use a general plant feed in the soil before planting parsley as it is known as a hungry plant. Remove the flower heads immediately when it starts to flower as it usually signifies that the plant is getting past its best and you should replace it by growing more parsley. You may also want to cover early sowing with a cloche or horticultural fleece to protect plants against the carrot root fly attack.
What month do you plant parsley
Technically, there is no perfect month to plant parsley as Malaysia does not go through very different weather and humidity changes from one season to another. However, a word of caution is to take heed of the monsoon season, where there is a lot of rainwater coming in. Despite the wet season, we still get a lot of sunlight. Therefore, you can plant parsley in any month of the year in Malaysia.
How to harvest parsley
Each plant has different ways of harvesting, and how we harvest the plant saves room for new growth and development.
How to harvest parsley without killing the plant
First, do not over harvest your herb. Second, do not harvest the inner stem of your parsley; those are still growing and not yet mature. Instead, proceed to snip the outer part of the plant if you require fresh parsley for cooking. Another tip is not to cut and disrupt the growth from the top. Keep an eye on your plant. The best time to harvest parsley is when the height reaches up to 15 cm or about 6 inches; then, you can start snipping it. Use a sharp knife or scissors to trim the stem.
Harvesting parsley seeds
As mentioned before, parsley is a biennial plant; thus, it produces seeds at the end of the second year of its growth, and you can see it producing seed pods towards the end. Be patient, do not snip it off when you see the seed pods, but wait for it to dry out before you harvest the seeds. When the seed pods turn brown, carefully snip the flower’s stem and avoid shaking, or else you will lose the seeds. Proceed to place it in a paper bag and shake it lightly to get the seeds.
How is parsley used in cooking
There are multiple ways of using parsley in cooking, especially when cooking western or Mediterranean dishes. Both fresh and dried parsley add a wonderful flavour to the dishes. For one, you chop up the parsley stem along with its leaves to garnish any pasta dishes. Its peppery taste will surely compliment pasta of any sauce, either creamy or sour.
Flat-leaf parsley is in every Turkish dish, and you can find them chewing on fresh parsley on their own during breakfast alongside other fresh vegetables. Also, fresh parsley can be the main ingredient of many salad combinations. For example, middle eastern’s tasty salad called Tabbouleh uses mainly curly leaf parsley as the main component of the salad mixed with tomato, cucumber, green onion, olive oil, and lemon juice. There you go, a refreshing salad on your table for lunch or dinner.
Edited by Rebecca Hani Romeli