Parsley is a popular herb in the garden. Generally, there are two main styles of parsley, flat parsley (also called Italian parsley) and curly parsley. In this tip, we’ll cover the similarities and differences between these two varieties and when you may want to choose one over the other
Botanically, the plants are almost the same, with curly parsley having the Latin name Petroselinum crispum and flat parsley having the Latin name Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum.
From a flavour perspective, flat leaf parsley is considered to have a stronger flavour, though the two are often substituted in cooking. According to one web page, curly parsley tends to be richer in myristicin (a crystalline phenolic ether that has a strong odor occurring in various essential oils) but lower in essential oils. Ultimately, the taste and flavour of your parsley depends on the particular plant and its growing conditions. Parsley stems from both flat and curly varieties can also be used and are stronger in flavour than leaves.
From a texture perspective, curly parsley is considered to have a tougher texture and can change the overall texture of the dish slightly due to its curls and frilly leaves. Some people find it can stick to their teeth more than curly if not finely chopped and cooked. If you like to juice, we like flat parsley since it is often easier to feed into juicing appliances. If you have very sandy growing conditions, curly parsley may be a bit more work to wash if sand gets into the leaves.
From a visual perspective, we like to grow curly parsley for its appearance in the garden, especially planted along edges and borders. Because of its appearance, curly parsley it is also commonly used as a garnish on the edge of plates. Generally, we find curly parsley does not grow as tall or as bushy as Italian parsley.
For most of our customers, the taste will be almost the same. The choice of which variety to grow often comes down to texture and appearance in both the garden and kitchen.