Botanical name: Petroselinum crispum
Origins and history
Parsley was well known by the ancient populations above all for its particular purposes. The Greeks in fact adorned their heads when they participated in banquets because they thought it smelled good and stimulated the appetite, the Romans used it to decorate the tombs of the dead, while the Etruscans thought it had magical functions.
With the arrival in medieval times, parsley lost these beliefs and became widely used especially in the kitchen. The leaves were crushed and compresses were made either on insect bites or on rotten teeth. In the mid-nineteenth century it was thought that parsley favored the menstrual cycle in women.
Nutritional and beneficial properties of parsley
In contemporary cuisine, parsley is used to season dishes or make fillings. In addition to this aspect, parsley has enormous beneficial properties, in fact parsley contains mineral salts such as phosphorus, copper, calcium and sulfur and vitamins such as A, C and K. It boasts hypotensive, diuretic and laxative properties.
Parsley also has healing properties, in fact it is an excellent ally for renal colic, water retention and to fight cellulite. Its leaves can be crushed and used on the skin in case of bee stings or bruises. Parsley seeds, on the other hand, help digestion, calm coughs and are recommended to soothe menstrual pains, also lowers blood pressure, also stimulates gastric and intestinal motility and has a laxative effect, its action seems to have a strong prevention for the colon cancer.
Uses of parsley in the kitchen
With its nutritional properties, parsley is obviously very suitable during the diet period, many dishes are recommended with this spice such as carrots boiled with a drizzle of oil and the addition of parsley. Another method of using Parsley is to add parsley over grilled vegetables.
You can make many centrifuged of parsley added with carrot juice or with other vegetables such as celery, lettuce and spinach. Parsley juice promotes metabolism and the functioning of the thyroid, however it is advisable not to take large quantities of parsley juice and especially never alone because it could disturb the nervous system.
We suggest you take parsley in quantities not exceeding 50 or 60 grams per day. It can also be an excellent seasoning for rice or even for a broth: this plant contains only 20 kcal.
There are many legends concerning this vegetable. One of the many is a story told by a woman who lived near a parsley garden that was in the possession of the fairies. The woman was pregnant and had a great desire for Parsley and one day, waiting for the fairies to come out, she sneaked into the garden and ate that grass to her fill. The fairies then realized that, day after day, the parsley was decreasing more and more. Then they decided to find out who the thief was. One day the fairies saw this woman and asked for an explanation, she apologized saying it was because of the pregnancy. The fairies forgave her on the condition that she had called her son "Prezzemolino" or "Prezzemolina" and that, once he grew up, she entrusted him to their care. The desperate woman had to accept this proposal. Once she grew up, "parsley" was entrusted to the fairies, who ordered them to do the housework: otherwise they would have eaten it. "Prezzemolina" then went to work and received the help of Memè the cousin of the fairies in exchange for a kiss. The incredulous fairies that she had managed to handle all this alone, decided to eat her, but Memè arrived and saved her and pushed the fairies into a boiling pot where they died. The two married and went to live in a castle.
This legend testifies to the link of parsley with beings that come from underground, in this case the fairies.
The Greeks and Romans, in fact, considered it sacred to the gods and carved it on tombs and sarcophagi.
In addition to the many other legends related to this plant, there are also many superstitions: the old farmers believed that planting parsley at home would kill someone within a year. Furthermore, this plant could never be eradicated because it was thought that evil could enter the garden.
Parsley was also considered a plant of the future that is, with the ability to predict the future. It was also said that many girls used it to abort even with the risk of poisoning themselves.