Parsley seed goes nine times to the devil
(Old English Proverb)
I know that the germination time for parsley is very long…up to six weeks. (I often give up on it, and then suddenly it appears after all!) But is this the meaning of this old saying?
According to The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, there used to be a superstition that parsley belonged to the devil and had to be sown nine times before it would germinate.
What’s more, you should apparently not give parsley, as this is unlucky. It is also said to be bad luck to dig up a bit and replant it somewhere else…
There are many other superstitions surrounding parsley, mostly negative. This is odd, since parsley is so popular. However, I have also read that parsley is a symbol of celebration and festivities!
I also know that parsley and parsley seed should be eaten in moderation, or even avoided, during pregnancy. This is a fact, not a superstition, as it can cause miscarriage and was used for that purpose centuries ago.
Personally I am not superstitious, and have nothing against parsley! It freshens the breath, tastes great with potatoes or in a white sauce, contains lots of vitamin C, potassium, zinc, iron etc., and is irreplaceable as a garnish.
But you know what I like best about parsley is its fresh green colour practically all year round. It endures frosts and snow, heatwaves and drought. And it is easy to keep: frozen in a freezer bag, just as it is, then forgotten… waiting for me to discover it in my freezer in the depths of winter!