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The Quest for Perfect Parsley

Flat Italian Parsley
Flat Italian parsley planted in the same spot where I grew it well three years ago.
Flat Italian Parsley white spots fungus
Parsley planted in a partly shady spot.

By Renee Adam

I grew perfect parsley—the Flat Italian variety—three years ago. It stood out in my herb garden so much that my mother complimented how beautiful it was and that hers never looked that good. I should have taken a picture of that parsley because I’ve never grown one like it since! In fact, I planted two parsley plants in April and can’t seem to get them to thrive. This is a shame, because fresh parsley is one herb that I use constantly as either a garnish or as an ingredient in many of the recipes I like to cook. Eating it raw is a great organic way to freshen your breath, too!

My dear friend Charlotte from Hendersonville, North Carolina, likes to cook with parsley, too. She prepared a wonderful meal for my family and me over Memorial Day weekend called Laurel Pork Tenderloin (recipe below). She used a handful of fresh parsley from her garden and garnished the dish with some as well. Yum! Then, for my birthday a few weeks ago, Charlotte and her family came for a visit and she gave me a darling mug with a parsley plant enclosed, as well as the recipe for her yummy pork tenderloin.

I left her parsley gift in the mug for a couple of days and it started to wilt, so I transplanted it to a favorite pot on my back stoop. But it didn’t make it! I think I’ve figured out how I managed to kill it. Parsley (Flat Italian or Curled) needs 3-6 hours of sunlight a day and good soil that allows drainage. I had watered the pot just enough but because the water wasn’t draining, the roots stayed drenched. It rotted.

So, I’m doing an experiment. I’ve planted two new parsley plants. One in the spot where it grew beautifully three years ago and one in part sun. I’ve adjusted the watering hose on the two I planted back in April to see if maybe they weren’t getting enough water, and I’m also going to feed my Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food to them. One plant has some white spots on the leaves, and I’m not sure what they are. I’m sending a photo through Ask an Expert on to see what this might be. I hope all my parsley plants survive and thrive. I’ll report back on the experiment soon!

By the way…the recipe is wonderful so I’ve included it. Thanks Charlotte!!

Charlotte’s Laurel Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 cups canola oil
3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon pepper
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh Flat Italian parsley
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 or 2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2-2 lbs)

Combine all ingredients, except tenderloin, and mix well. Pour over tenderloin and marinate, covered in fridge for 24 hours (will work with minimum of four hours). Pierce tenderloin with a fork and grill over low heat for one hour or cook uncovered in oven at 350 degrees for about an hour, checking for doneness with a meat thermometer.

Cut tenderloin in slices. Bring remaining marinade to a boil in saucepan on the stove. Pour sauce over tenderloin slices. Garnish dish with more fresh parsley and enjoy!

Yields 4 to 8 servings.

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