Parsley is part of the Apiaceae family and related to celery, carrots, parsnips, and dill. An herb, often treated like a leafy green, parsley grows as a flowering plant and its leaves, stems, and roots are edible. Believed to have originated in the Mediterranean basin centuries ago, parsley is now cultivated around the world.
Types & Varieties
There are two main types of parsley: curly or French (Petroselinum crispum), with crinkled leaves, and flat or Italian (P. neopolitanum), with characteristically flat leaves. Both types are used throughout the food industry as a garnish or spice to perk up foods with their differing flavor profiles and green coloring.
Curly or curled-leaf parsley varieties include Banquet, Deep Green, Forest Green, Moss Curled, Sherwood, and Triple Curl. Bright green, decorative, and fragrant, this type of parsley will reach an average of 8 to 14 inches in height and is favored as a fresh garnish.
Plain or flat-leaf varieties, including Plain and Italian Dark Green, have a stronger, more lively flavor than curly leaf, grow taller (up to 3 feet), and are often used in stews and soups.
Turnip-rooted parsley, which has flat leaves, is often cultivated for its sizable root and prepared as a vegetable. Hamburg or German are popular turnip-root varieties.