Often considered as one of the most powerful disease-fighting plants, parsley provides great nutritional value and offers many potential health benefitsIn addition to its use as a culinary herb, parsley has been used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, allergies, and inflammatory diseases.
Today, it’s widely used as a fresh culinary herb or dried spice. It’s bright green in color and has a mild, bitter flavor that pairs well with many recipes.
A 1/2 cup (30 grams) of fresh, chopped parsley provides:
Calories: 11 calories
Carbs: 2 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: less than 1 gram
Fiber: 1 gram
Vitamin A: 108% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Vitamin C: 53% of the RDI
Vitamin K: 547% of the RDI
Folate: 11% of the RDI
Potassium: 4% of the RDI
The herb is rich in many vitamins, particularly vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and bone health.
Parsley is also a great source of vitamins A and C — important nutrients with antioxidant properties.
Parsley is particularly rich in flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin C, which reduce oxidative stress in your body and may lower your risk of certain cancers.
Experts hypothesize that folate benefits heart health by lowering levels of the amino acid homocysteine. High homocysteine levels have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease in some studies.
Parsley is an extremely versatile and inexpensive flavoring option.
You can use the dried version as an ingredient in various recipes. It can enhance the flavor of soups, stews, and tomato sauces. Additionally, it’s often combined with other herbs in Italian-inspired recipes.
Fresh parsley is also a great addition to homemade salad dressings, marinades, and seafood recipes. Many people use fresh sprigs in recipes that don’t require cooking or add the herb at the end of the cooking period.
Here are a few more ways to add parsley to your diet:
Stir fresh leaves into a homemade chimichurri sauce.
Mix finely chopped leaves into your salad dressings.
Sprinkle fresh or dried leaves on top of a salmon dish.
Finely chop the stems and add to a potato salad for an extra crunch.
Simmer dried flakes in a homemade tomato sauce.
One of the greatest things about parsley is that it can be found almost anywhere, fresh or dried. It is also easy to grow and perfect for the home garden. Fresh parsley is perfect for that last-minute addition to a dish, providing texture, color, and a burst of clean flavor. Though it takes twelve pounds of fresh parsley to make one pound of dried parsley, dried parsley is still the most commonly used form of the herb. Fresh is always best, but dried will do in a pinch.
Dried vs. Fresh
One advantage of using dried parsley over fresh is when it comes to storing the herb. Fresh parsley only lasts about two weeks when kept in the refrigerator. Sprinkling the leaves with a small amount of water and storing in a plastic bag usually works best. On the other hand, dried parsley stores for a much longer time. As long as dried parsley is kept in an airtight container it will retain its flavor for approximately one year.
Another method for storing parsley is freezing it. This is the best method if you have parsley in your herb garden and end up with more than you can use. Parsley can be frozen chopped and stored in freezer bags, or it can also be chopped and mixed with water and frozen in ice cube trays. Either method will keep up to six months.
An added benefit is that the herb may act as a natural breath freshener.