Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) is an herbaceous plant of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), cultivated as a condiment plant for its leaves with a slightly aniseed taste

It is one of the plants whose cultivation is recommended in the royal domains by Charlemagne in the chapter house De Villis (late 8th or early 9th century).

Originally from the Middle East, southern Russia and the Caucasus, it is known to the ancient Greeks (as Dioscorides and Pliny) for culinary uses. Chervil was certainly introduced to the West by the Romans. The Romans thought chervil could purify the blood, promote digestion, strengthen the body Recognized by the school of Salerno in the middle Ages for its medicinal virtues (against cancer, lazy stomachs), chervil was once heavily consumed on Holy Thursday.

Chervil has a record rate of iron and calcium, making it a food of choice for preventing anemia. Fresh chervil is rich in vitamins and very rich in vitamin C.

Chervil is marketed in fresh, dried or dehydrated form. The fresh, chopped leaves are used to flavour various culinary preparations: sauces, soups, raw vegetables, salads, omelet’s, grills It is part of the French fine herbs mix. For cooked meals, it is added at the last moment, at the end of cooking because a long exposure to heat alters the flavors.

To retain the flavour in an optimum way, it is best to freeze rather than dehydrate; it loses almost all its aroma when drying.

© 2018 Wessel Woortman

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