We’re now taking orders for Yiftah’s bi-weekly baking. Please send your orders by Friday. Yiftah finishes preparing and baking the loaves next Wednesday, and they will be delivered in the boxes of March 9th and 14th. Yiftah has now introduced a new line of “synergetic breads.” In his words, “Synergetic breads, all made from organic sprouted spelt, contain a variety of additional components, carefully selected, that act according to the rule of synergy: effective cooperation. The combination of nutrients and their active components improves and increases effective absorption in our bodies—thus, the whole that is produced by the total of its parts. These breads express the principle of nutrition for a healthy life, with each bread containing its own special feature.” You can order Yiftah’s hand-baked, sprouted breads via our order form or via email/telephone.
AND NOW, PART TWO OF THE CHUBEZA CULINARY HERB TRILOGY: PARSLEY!
As promised, following last week’s probing look at the startling coriander, we are now happy to introduce you to yet another member of the Umbelliferae family. (And, suspense shall remain high till the appearance of trilogy’s final episode next week.) This week’s featured umbel is the parsley. In its honor, we are re-running a past feature dedicated to this herb:
To the Victor Goes—-the Parsley
The common parsley (Petroselinum crispum), which we nonchalantly sprinkle over salads or cook in soups, is associated in Western culture with such heavy-duty issues as life and death, wars and victories, and romance and heartbreak.
Parsley’s been present here in the Mediterranean for many years, originating in southern Europe and the Mediterranean basin, and first mentioned in ancient Greek lore. The Greeks wore garlands of parsley to celebrate victory, and would scatter parsley leaves upon gravestones. They are also the ones who gave its name, attempting to differentiate between parsley and its cousin, the celery. The title petroselinum means “rock celery,” as opposed to heleioselinon, “marsh celery” (regular celery), which grows near water sources. Perhaps because it was a holy symbol of victory and death, Greeks never served parsley as food!
The first to actually use parsley in cooking are the Romans, but parsley owes its culinary victory to Italian princess Catherine de’ Medici, who married a Frenchman but refused to leave home without her Italian spices. From there, it was a short and tasty path towards parsley’s obligatory presence in every kitchen in the area.
Leaf parsley, as opposed to that grown for its thick root, has two types of leaves: flat or curly. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. The flat leaf is the more common one, used in cooking for its rich content of essential oil apiol, which gives it a stronger taste.
In Greek mythology, parsley is connected to the story of baby Archemorus, son of the Nemean king Lycurgus, who was left alone by his nursemaid and bitten to death by a snake. When the nurse lifted the dead child, she found a parsley bush beneath, which legend said grew from the boy’s blood. In his memory, the Greeks established the Nemenean Games in which a eulogy was recited in memory of the dead child, and the winners were crowned with garlands of parsley. This is how parsley became a holy plant associated with honoring the memory of the dead. In the same context, parsley was dedicated to Persephone, queen of the underworld, who spends autumn and winter in the underworld and surfaces in springtime, spurring blossoming and renewal. Another underworld creature linked to parsley is Charon, ferryman of Hades, who carried souls of the newly- deceased across the River Acheron that divided between the worlds of the living and the dead. To convince him to take the dead to the hereafter, it was customary to use parsley at funerals and bury it near the grave.
And in an altogether different function: Children on the Island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands who ask where babies come from are told that they’re dug out of the parsley patch by golden rakes.
Parsley arrangements adorned festive tables in Greece and Rome. Wearing a parsley wreathe was considered helpful for freshening bad breath (even garlic breath), eliminating the scent of wine and for sobering up the intoxicated.
In one of his tales, Greek biographer Plutarch tells about the life of Timoleon, a Sicilian warrior from the town of Corinth, who set out to protect the city of Syracuse against the invading Carthaginians surrounding the city from the west. Timoleon was only able to muster 3,000 soldiers to face an army 10 times their might. When they climbed the hill to observe the Carthaginians, they encountered a convoy of oxen laden with parsley. The frightened soldiers saw this as cause for alarm, but Timoleon delivered an impassioned speech in which he proclaimed that the gods had sent them their victory crowns. Immediately, he made himself a crown of parsley, and his officers followed suit. Sure enough, the Sicilians braved the invaders, thanks to their skill and the patronage of a sudden rainstorm that blocked the armored and cumbersome Carthaginians.
Since she has been in this region for a good while and seen empires rise and fall, seasons change, and stars be born and die, Ms. Parsley has all the time in the world. She sprouts very slowly. In cold temperatures, this can take forever. Sometimes we’re almost dismayed when a month goes by with no sign of parsley, but just then, as we’re ready to give up, soft green shoots suddenly emerge. And as soon as it sprouts, it’s here to stay. Parsley survives heat and cold, sun and partial shade, continuing to grow green leaves even after many harvests– alive and kicking long after the coriander and dill go to flower and seed. In contrast to annual plants, she is a biennial, sticking around for two years before blooming and seeding.
Parsley has always been popular in home gardens and in window boxes. Different reasons have been attributed to parsley’s growth pattern, perhaps because the seeds sprout so slowly. In cold England, the belief is that parsley seeds pay a few visits to Satan and back before they can sprout. This is why sprouting parsley seeds under glass is a good idea in cold weather, since it warms the ground and perhaps halts a visit to the underworld.
According to one ancient belief, parsley only grows in homes where the woman is dominant. Or there are others who claim that parsley only grows for witches and cruel women (dominant or not)… Also, if your parsley has already sprouted and grown, don’t dare dig it out, as this will bring bad luck. Or- if you give someone your parsley, you give away your luck as well. So next time you move, try to find an apartment with a window box that holds parsley.
But aside from matters of luck, parsley is good for us. The first proof of this comes from my husband’s favorite childhood book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, with the story of hungry Peter Rabbit, a farmer’s nightmare: “First he ate some lettuce and some broad beans, then some radishes, and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.”
As a veteran of the Western world, parsley is known as a rich source of a host of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C (three times more than citrus!), folic acid, beta-carotene – pro-vitamin A, potassium and magnesium. But lately it’s been glorified yet again, this time by the Asians: Japanese research has recently discovered a new vitamin, pyrroloquinoline quinine (or PQQ). The previous vitamin was discovered in 1948! This vitamin, which is most likely connected to the vitamin B group, is involved in encouraging fertility, and researchers believe it has other health advantages. Good sources of PQQ are parsley, green tea, green pepper, papaya, nato (fermented soy beans) and kiwi.
Herbs in the Umbelliferae family–including parsley–contain phytochemicals, many of which have cancer- preventing attributes. These phytochemicals block hormonal activity that is linked to the development of cancer. Throughout history, parsley has been used to treat a variety of medicinal problems. It seems to be the ultimate magic potent: drinking a parsley brew is good for treating indigestion, urinary tract infections and kidney diseases. For swollen eyes, it’s best to use a compress of brewed parsley liquid. Parsley helps lower both cholesterol and blood pressure; it prevents the formation of blood clots and protects against heart diseases and arteriosclerosis. Parsley eases menstrual pain and can be used externally for skin problems. In addition, parsley bolsters the immune system, acts as an antiseptic, helps purify the body of toxins and is good for preventing water retention, including edema. Parsley is helpful in preventing dysentery and is beneficial for the lungs, stomach, liver and thyroid. However, pregnant women and nursing mothers are cautioned against consuming large quantities of parsley or using parsley liquid, for it can stimulate the uterus and dry up the milk. We’re discussing large, medicinal quantities, not small pinches…
Store parsley wrapped in paper in a plastic bag, refrigerated. The paper will absorb the excess moisture, and the plastic bag will keep it from over-drying.
Parsley loses vitamins in the cooking process. In order to coax the most taste and nutrients from parsley, add it only at the final stages of cooking or sprinkle fresh over prepared food.
Chewing parsley leaves after eating garlic eliminates the garlic smell from your breath (replacing it with parsley-breath…)
What’s in this Week’s Boxes?
Monday: Radishes (small or large) or daikon, parsley or parsley root, green garlic, white or red cabbage, Swiss chard or celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, fennel, broccoli or cauliflower, coriander
In the large box, in addition: fava beans, scallions, beets
Wednesday: dill, parsley, cucumbers, green garlic, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli or cauliflower, kohlrabi, fava beans or peas
In the large box, in addition: daikon, green onions, beets
And there’s more! You can add to your basket a wide, delectable range of additional products from fine small producers of these organic products: granola and cookies, flour, sprouted bread, sprouts, goat cheeses, fruits, honey, crackers. You can learn more about each producer on the Chubeza website. The attached order form includes a detailed listing of the products and their cost. Fill it out, and send it back to us to begin your delivery soon.
Recipes: (more parsley recipes in last year’s newsletter)
Kim’s excellent parsley salad from the book “From Asparagus to Zucchini – A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce”, by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition:
Fresh parsley Very thinly sliced red onion or finely chopped green onion Chopped hard cooked eggs Cooked chick peas or other beans Garlic chives (optional) Olive oil Fresh lemon juice Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– Clean and cut up lots of parsley, as much as you would clean for lettuce in a salad. – Combine with red onion, eggs, chick peas, and garlic chives, if available. – Shake oil and lemon juice together (2 parts oil to 1 part lemon juice). – Toss salad with dressing, salt, and lots of pepper.
Parsley pasta – from the blog: “Honey never spoils”
Parsley soup – from the blog “Nourish me”