Parsley is the most commonly recognized culinary herb and is used in a wide variety of cuisines due to its delicious vibrant flavor. Said to have originated in Sardinia, parsley is a member of the Umbelliferae family, which also includes celery, carrots, dill, cilantro, caraway, cumin, and the poisonous hemlock. It has a marked place in history and superstitions. The Greeks used parsley for funeral wreaths and in garlands for the winners of the Nemena and Isthmian sporting games.
There was an ancient belief that plucking a sprig of parsley while saying the name of one’s enemy would bring about the death of said enemy. It was used to cover the stench of a corpse and to be “in need of parsley” meant death was imminent.
Parsley’s name comes from two Greek words petrose meaning “rock” from its propensity to rocky cliffs and old stonewalls and selenium, an ancient name for celery. So, literally, parsley means “rock celery.” Due to its high content of chlorophyll, it is a great breath freshener and was subsequently used as a garnish to be eaten at the end of a meal.
Considered one of the healthiest foods, parsley is jam packed with vitamins K (547% daily value!), C (62% DV), and A (47% DV) as well as folate, iron, and antioxidants. It is a powerful cancer-fighting food and has also been known to improve cardiovascular health, aid digestion, and protect against rheumatoid arthritis.