Saturday, February 27, 2010

Unusual Herbs

As I fill up the Herb tables at the nursery I am learning more and more. This week I brought in some herbs based upon customer request and also because the names were different. One such different one on the table this week is Hamburg Parsley. When I first saw it I thought it was hamburger parsley and I envisioned very large leafs that fit on a hamburger. The botanical name for this parsley variety is Petroselinum crispum Tuberosum. It has been described as a cross between parsley and parsnips. The root is what is used and the taste was described to me as a cross between celery and parsley - definitely tasty. You can slice it raw or cook it in soups.

Parsley is rich in vitamins, minerals and compounds which clear toxins from the body. Theories of how parsley gets its name vary. One says it was named for rocks in the Greek gardens, "petros". It is a biennel but most of us grow it as an annual. It is best used fresh so keep it growing in a pot handy to the kitchen, clip if often to promote new growth. You do know why they put in on your plate in restaurants right? Natural breath freshner.

Another leafy herb on the table this week is Chervil, which when I researched it found it has a family alliance to cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris. Well Chervil resembles flat leaf parsley the aroma and taste suggest tarragon & fennel. If you enjoy French cooking you certainly want Chervil in your herb garden. Use the leaves to enhance white fish, eggs, soups and salads. When adding to cooked foods add it near the end so as not to overcook the flavor.

An herb which you either welcome into your herb garden or dispise the smell of. Epazote, Chenopodium ambrosoides. This Mexican herb has a very strong taste, it has been used in Mexican cuisine dating back to the Aztecs who used it for not only cooking but medicinal purposes. Used in moderation it may help relieve gassiness that comes from eating beans, thus it is cooked in with the beans.

All of these are on the tables this weekend, I'll post more varieties in a few days, but now it's off to work. See you at the nursery and remember we do have umbrellas so you can shop in the rain.

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