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Even the ancient Romans knew how to appreciate the effect of the aromatic herb. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is still one of the most commonly used culinary herbs. It is used to refine soups, sauces and meat and fish dishes. Not only in the home garden, but also on the windowsill, balcony or terrace, a culture is easily possible. The harvest can take place almost all year round, but is the herb also edible in bloom?

Parsley with flower

Inflorescences in the second year

Most herbs can still be harvested after flowering. But what about parsley? Can buckweed, as parsley is also called, still be used in the kitchen when it is still flowering?

The flowers appear in the second year after planting or sowing. They stand on 90 to 120 centimeters long and thicker flower stalks. The inflorescence appears in the form of flattened umbels and consists of

  • many small, star-shaped flowers
  • Petals white or greenish-yellow to reddish tinged
  • inward-facing petals
  • a few bracts
  • pollination by insects
  • green-grey, egg- to pear-shaped fruits (seeds)

The herb flowers from June to July. Consumption of the herb is harmful to health during and after the appearance of the flower umbels.

Note: The parsley is no longer edible, let alone edible!

The proportion of poisonous apiol contained in the plant parts increases. The concentration of other essential oils is also exceptionally high. The leaves and other parts of the plant are almost poisoned. It should therefore no longer be used in food. The same applies to decorative purposes. The situation is similar with woodruff. Here the coumarin content increases drastically.

It also doesn't help if the flower stems are removed regularly, because they grow back again and the remaining parts of the plant already contain the poisonous apiol in high concentrations anyway. Care should also be taken with the egg-shaped seeds. It also contains a very high proportion of the poisonous apiol and other essential oils. It is therefore advisable to harvest enough leaves before flowering begins. However, the flowers should remain, because like other flowering herbs, such as dill, sage, thyme or lovage, they provide food for bees. After flowering, the plant can be uprooted and disposed of in the compost.

Notice: Apiol in very high concentrations can lead to allergic reactions, spasms of the digestive tract, but also to liver and kidney damage. Pregnant women and people with kidney disease should definitely avoid eating flowering parsley. This active substance can trigger contractions of the uterus and lead to premature birth or even miscarriage.

Harvest all year round

It is generally known that herbs are at their most aromatic just before they bloom, because then there is a relatively high proportion of essential oils. The same goes for the parsley. It is therefore advisable to harvest many leaves before flowering. To do this, simply cut off the stems with the leaves. This can be done at ground level. The herb usually grows back quickly. However, it is important that the heart leaves remain with a slightly thicker stem so that new shoots keep appearing. In the first year, the harvest can take place on the windowsill all year round and in the garden from March to October, depending on the weather. In contrast, in the second year only until shortly before flowering in May to June. The use can

  • done fresh
  • Added just before the end of the cooking time
  • Shelf life in the refrigerator 3 to 4 days
  • good for freezing
  • wash the stems
  • shake dry carefully
  • then finely chop
  • Packing in foil bags or small containers

Notice: In contrast, flowers of various herbs such as chives, borage or oregano can be eaten or used for decoration. They are very tasty.

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