If the idea of using fresh herbs blows your mind, don't worry you're not alone. Whether it be Italian flat-leaf or curly parsley, this herb has many hidden talents!
Wash gently in a bowl of cold water to keep from destroying the leafs. Repeat. Depending on the recipe you may use the leaves, just the stems or both. If the recipe does not specify use your judgement for texture. The stems tend to be a little more crisp but the leaves will color lighter colored dishes.
Italian Flat-Leaf vs. Curly
Italian flat-leaf tends to be less bitter and more fragrant than curly parsley. Regardless of the type, be sure to buy parsley that is dark green, unwilted and looks crisp. Italian flat-leaf works better for hot dishes than curly because it is more flavorful. It should be added near the end of the cooking process to maintain its flavor.
Unless dried, be sure to keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Keep the parsley moist, especially if it appears it is beginning to wilt. To do so, sprinkle with water and store. Italian flat-leaf can be left out on the counter to dry in individual layers and later stored in an air tight container out of direct light. Curly parsley is better saved by freezing. Once it is frozen use while still frozen to maintain crispness.
Dried vs. Fresh:
Dried parsley quickly loses color and flavor so it is best to buy it in small amounts and only when needed. It is important to check the color to make sure it is dark green and without yellow stalks mixed in. Because it shelf life is limited dried you might as well just buy fresh to make sure you are getting a quality product. However, if you insist on using dried the conversion is 1 tsp = 1Tbs.
Parsley is rich in anti-oxidants, folic acid, Vitamin A & C. Long story short, it helps fight cancer, repeated ear infections, colds, heart disease, Urinary Tract Infections, digestive disorders, bronchitis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
A third type of parsley and less commonly used, turnip-rooted, is harvested for its roots.
The Ancient Greeks considered Parsley to be sacred and would use it to decorate tombs and praise victors. Who needs a gold medal when there's all this parsley available?