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Garden Chervil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Anthriscus
Species: A. cerefolium
Binomial name
Anthriscus cerefolium
(L.) Hoffm.

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is a delicate annual herb related to parsley. Sometimes called garden chervil, it is used to season mild-flavoured dishes and is a constituent of the French herb mixture fines herbes.

Contents

Biology

A member of the Apiaceae, chervil is native to the Caucasus but was spread by the Romans through most of Europe, where it is now naturalised.[1]

The plants grow to 40-70 cm, with tripinnate leaves that may be curly. The small white flowers form small umbels, 2.5-5 cm across. The fruit is about 1 cm long, oblong-ovoid with a slender, ridged beak.[1]

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Root Chervil

Another type of chervil is grown as a root vegetable, sometimes called turnip rooted chervil or tuberous-rooted chervil. This type of chervil produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. It was a popular vegetable in the 19th century. Now virtually forgotten in Britain and the United States, root chervil is still used in French cuisine, in soups or stews.

Uses

Culinary

Chervil garnishing a salad.

Sometimes referred to as "gourmet's parsley", chervil is used to season poultry, seafood, and young vegetables. It is particularly popular in France, where it is added to omelettes, salads and soups. More delicate than parsley, it has a faint taste of liquorice.

Horticulture

Chervil is sometimes used to repel slugs.

Medicinal

Chervil had various traditional uses. Pregnant women bathed in an infusion of it; a lotion of it was used as a skin cleanser; and it was used medicinally as a blood purifier. It was also claimed to be useful as a digestive aid, for lowering high blood pressure, and, infused with vinegar, for curing hiccups.[2]

Cultivation

Chervil is best grown seeded in place - transplanting can be difficult, due to the long taproot.[2] It prefers a cool and moist location, otherwise it rapidly goes to seed (also known as bolting).[2] Regular harvesting of leaves also helps to prevent bolting.[2] If plants bolt despite precautions, the plant can be periodically re-sown through the growing season, thus producing fresh plants as older plants bolt and go out of production.

Chervil grows to a height of 12 to 24 inches, and a width of 6 to 12 inches.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Vaughan, J.G.; Geissler, C.A. (1997). The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press.  
  2. ^ a b c d e McGee, Rose Marie Nichols; Stuckey, Maggie (2002). The Bountiful Container. Workman Publishing.  

Further reading

  • Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies (Century, 1987), p.118.

External links


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