Chervil, sometimes called garden chervil or French parsley, is a delicate annual herb related to parsley. This plant is a native to the Caucasus, which is a mountainous region between Turkey and Russia. Chervil was spread through Europe by the Romans, and is now naturalised. The plants can grow up to 70cm tall and 30cm wide, and produces small white flowers. This herb is referred to as gourmet’s parsley, and is used particularly in France to season poultry, seafood, spring veg, soups and sauces. It has a faint taste of liquorice and aniseed. Chervil is one of the four French “fines herbes” which are essential to French cooking. The other three are tarragon, chives and parsley. Unlike stronger herbs like thyme and rosemary which can withstand long cooking times, these “fines herbes” are added at the last minute. Traditionally, chervil has had many medicinal uses. It has claimed to be used as a digestive aid, for lowering blood pressure, and used infused with vinegar for curing hiccups! It has also been used as a mild stimulant. It prefers a cool and moist location, and regular harvesting of leaves helps to prevent it rapidly going to seed, which will bring the plant to the end of its production.
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