Friday, November 22, 2013


I have a funny little parsley plant. It seems to only grow when growing season is done and frosts have begun -- but then, it's this sudden small flourishing spot of green amidst the cast-off pumpkin vines and tomato bushes. I planted it once, and it grew lots of robust green leaves (no seedheads) and then died off for winter, which I figured was the end of its life cycle. Then I saw it sprouting out again the next spring, so I shrugged and left room around it, wondering if it would again provide a bountiful parsley harvest. It didn't, in fact I could never even really find it again once everything else started to take over the garden area.

But late that fall, after I had uprooted all the dried remnants of my crops, there was a splash of bright green, apparently untouched by the cold, frosty mornings. Tender new leaves were putting their heads out in the center, while a handful of few-but-healthy fronds surrounded them. I cut a few and enjoyed them, figuring the plant was having one last hurrah...but this week, a full year later, there it is again sitting out there, lording it over all the crunchy fall debris in my garden. I took some more fresh-smelling, delightfully green leaves in last night and chopped them for our harira stew. The plant is still small, and I've never seen it bloom or grow in the height of the summer since that first year I sowed the seeds; but it's persistent, and I can't describe the surprising sensory experience of handling fresh-picked, tangy-crisp parsley in late November.

Today I was a reader in my daughter's third-grade classroom, and one of the selections I read them was Emily Dickinson's poem 'Hope' Is the Thing with Feathers. In my case, despite my doubts and frustrations with trying to get food out of the ground, maybe hope is the parsley with leaves.

Parsley is also pretty powerful stuff nutritionally, it turns out. Not surprising, I suppose, but it packs a bigger punch than I thought -- it's comparable to kale, even a little better, which is saying a heck of a lot. It's three times as anti-inflammatory as, say, fresh basil or cilantro, and twice as much so as spinach; it also has five times the iron of that spinach, and over double the vitamin C of an orange, gram-for-gram, though I suppose you'd eat more oranges than parsley by weight. Parsley power, people!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. We have volunteer parsley that crops up all over in the back yard. I'll have to treat it a little more respectfully from now on!