Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is a famous culinary herb known as French parsley to season our cuisines and dishes. The reason why it’s so widely used in the culinary world is evident. Chervil provides a subtle flavor and fragrance to our plates.
Apart from cooking, the plant is also used for medicinal purposes. With lots of benefits and admirable taste, chervil is sought out in the market on demand. Want to grow your own? Let me tell you in detail, what is the chervil plant?
A delicate herb known for its various benefits, chervil is from the carrot family, the Apiaceae comprising 12 species. It shows a resemblance to the top leaves of the carrot. It has a distinct flavor when fresh but loses most of its taste when you dry it. This is why most people prefer to buy them when they are still fresh or even personally grow them in their gardens.
|Botanical Name||Anthriscus Cerefolium|
|Plant Type||An Annual / Biennial|
|Size (Fully Grown)||About 12 To 24 Inches Tall (About 30 To 61 cm)|
|Sun Exposure||Prefers Sun In Winter And Partial Shade Summers|
|Soil Type||Well-draining Soil That Is Pretty Rich In Nutrients And Retains Moisture|
|Soil pH||From 6.5 To 7.0|
|U.S. Hardiness Zones||3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, And 10|
|Native Area||Europe And Asia|
Different Chervil Varieties
Chervil is grown almost all over the world. Although it is famous in French cuisines, it’s also used by several different cultures for cooking. Here are a few common varieties of chervil available around the world.
- Fine Curled
- Plain Chervil
Origins And History Of The Chervil Plant
Chervil originated from the Caucasus, a region at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and Caspian sea. From there, the plant was later scattered by the colonizing Romans. However, the herb was also familiar to the Greeks and Chinese. And people in those days believed that the plant symbolized revitalization and a new life.
We know that the Romans used the plant primarily to flavor their food. But there isn’t a lot of recorded info about its other uses. So, as we know, the ancient civilization used the plant the same way as today’s modern people like you and me.
How To Recognize Chervil?
Chervil is an annual herb that is a bit like parsley, and it’s grown in the quite same way as well. Botanically speaking, the plant belongs to the Apiaceae family and is native to Europe, where it blooms from May to August. As we already discussed, chervil is a lot like parsley, and it even looks very much like it, but as you might notice, the leaves are smaller in size and have a more pale color.
Chervil grows a thin taproot that is furry, rounded, has many branches, and is light green. It looks a lot like parsley, but there are some differences. The plant is somewhat creamier, delicate, and finely shaped than parsley is, but it also has frillier and thinner-looking leaves.
When you hold a bunch of chervil, you might also notice that the leaves are very close together, which may look like a flower to someone. However, speaking about flowers, chervil plants that have produced flowers usually have a bitter taste in them, so they may not be as suitable for cooking as they once were.
Then there is the scent and flavor the plant provides. Because chervil contains many similar fragrant compounds as tarragon, it gives your dishes a delicate licorice/aniseed flavor.
The chervil leaves are “skinny” and look a bit like the ones you’d find on most ferns, plus they have a light green color.
The flowers chervil creates are white and arrayed in tiny clusters, which grow in mixed groups. The flowering usually takes place between a period from May to June.
How To Grow Chervil?
As we know, chervil is a garden herb. And because it’s a garden herb, it’s effortless and straightforward to grow. Growing it in a small pot in your apartment on a windowsill is an excellent option. But make sure that you can provide the plant everything it needs—things such as the right kind of soil, enough water, and sun, to name a few.
The plant thrives best when it grows in a shady spot and gets lots of water. That also means that the soil should be moist, but it still needs to drain well to grow to its mature height of 12 – 24 inches (about 30 – 61 cm) with a width of 6 – 12 inches (about 15 – 30 cm).
The Many Benefits Of The Chervil Plant
By far, we all know that chervil is a very beneficial plant because it adds flavor to our dishes, and best of all, it’s healthy. Some of the ways people use it throughout the world include making herbal medicines, tea, and surprise, surprise cooking. And why wouldn’t they?
The plant contains antioxidants such as selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and even bioflavonoids, making it an excellent herb to include in your diet!
Because chervil contains many vitamins and minerals, it strengthens your immune system. But the good news doesn’t end there! The plant can even be helpful if you have a cough, suffer from digestion problems, or have high blood pressure.
The benefits I just mentioned might sound good, but as they say in infomercials, “but wait, there’s more!” Chervil can even help you with your menstrual cramps, and eating chervil can lower your high cholesterol levels. Sounds good to me!
Is It Safe To Eat / Consume Chervil?
Eating chervil doesn’t pose a potential danger to your health, and why would it? There is a reason we eat the herb, and that’s because it’s an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals.
But what you might still be wondering is whether it’s safe to eat or use the plant in some way if you have some common medical condition. Should we find out? Let’s do that next!
Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
Thankfully, eating chervil while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding is entirely safe. But remember that even though eating it in moderate amounts while you’re pregnant is safe, higher, medical use isn’t recommended. The reason for this is simply because it can be harmful to the fetus in your belly.
As we know, chervil gives a bit of licorice and anise flavor to the dishes, and it’s even an excellent source of potassium and calcium, so it’s a good idea to add it to your kids’ diet. But if you wonder whether the plant is safe for your children, feed them in moderate food amounts, and you should be good to go.
People With Allergies
An allergy to chervil is a possible one. However, if you are already allergic to parsley, for example, there is a big possibility that your body will feel the same towards chervil.
People With Diabetes
It’s an excellent thing to include chervil into your diet if you have diabetes. The main reason for this is that consuming chervil regularly can help keep your blood sugar levels down.
According to ASPCA, chervil is safe for your household pets, including cats and dogs.