On a lemony-fall Sunday morning, this LOCAL breakfast brings out my parsley love. As with most herbs, parsley is packed with anti-oxidants and according to a Chicago Tribune article, “Just two tablespoons of parsley, high in vitamin K and the antioxidant vitamins A and C, pack 144 percent [of the daily recommended amount]…of vitamin K for bone and heart health…. and has been shown to stop breast cancer cells from multiplying and growing.”
Twenty four parsley plants line my front walk. The convenience of having the parsley A FEW STEPS from my kitchen cannot be underestimated. In the middle of cooking delicate eggs, I can pull the eggs off the heat, run outside, grab some
parsley, chop it up, and throw it in the skillet – without compromising the eggs. Every single time we add parsley to our meal, we are kicking up the nutrient level, the flavor, and the visual appeal of the dish. Add parsley towards the end of cooking so the flavor is fresh and green. Dried parsley offers good benefits as well, but in Western North Carolina we are able to eat fresh parsley most of the year – and fresh is exponentially tastier. I use parsley at most meals and even as a lettuce substitute on my sandwiches.
Unprotected, my parsley dies back considerably in the coldest part of winter, but in late winter it revives and begins growing again. If you protect your parley with floating row cover it will flourish in the cold months too. A biennial, it is best to replant your parsley every spring because it goes to seed the second season and won’t produce much foliage. Even most apartment dwellers can grow a little parley in their brightest window, so get growing!
My LOCAL breakfast was fast and delicious. The eggs were from Mudluscious Pottery & Gardens (there was even a green egg in the carton!); the onions were from Gaining Ground Farm; the red pepper and the parsley were from my garden; and the Multigrain toast was from Annie’s Bakery. The cheese was not local, but it was organic.
OTHER HARDY HERBS for winter cooking: Routinely add herbs to your cooking. This age-old tradition is an effortless and delicious way to increase your intake of anti-oxidants.
Rosemary – such a savory addition to potatoes, meats, and soups. Demands good drainage in the soil.
Cilantro – Cilantro loves cold weather, not hot weather. Mine lived outside unprotected last winter.
English Thyme – Often happier in wintertime, demands good drainage in the soil.
Dried Basil (not hardy, but delicious dried) – Dry the leaves and store in an airtight jar. Crush leaves just before using. Frozen pesto is unbeatable.
Gardener/Chef Note: In my opinion, flat leaf parsley tastes even better than curly leaf parsley – but it is not as attractive as an edging to your walkway.