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Chervil – Anthriscus cerefolium
PARTIAL SHADE Native to Europe and Asia, Chervil was being cultivated before the Middle Ages. In the US, it began to be listed in seed catalogs in the 1800s. The 2 ft. plants produce fern-like leaves with a subtle flavor of anise and parsley. Plant in late spring after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to a depth of 6 in. or in the fall for growth the following year. Rows should be 18 in. apart. When seedlings are 2 in. high, thin, leaving 9-12 in. between plants. Harvest throughout the season by cutting leaves off the plants, aggressively.
|Type||Spacing||Planting Depth||Days to Germination||Maturity|
|Annual||9-12 in.||1/2 in.||7-10||75|
Chervil has been peculiarly described as a “warm herb” because its fragrance and flavor stimulate the senses the way warmth does. Chervil is similar to the myrrh brought by the Wise Men to the baby Jesus. This link to the Holy Days and because chervil symbolizes new life, it was traditional to serve chervil soup on Maundy Thursday. During medieval times, chervil had a variety of uses, the most interesting of which was eating an entire plant to cure a bad case of the hiccups. It works and is still used today!
Chervil is most frequently used today as a seasoning for food. Along with parsley, thyme and tarragon, it is a member of the fines herbs of French cooking. When cooking with chervil, it should always be added at the end. Prolonged heating makes the leaves and stems bitter. Chervil is an excellent complement for eggs, carrots, spinach, sorrel, oysters, veal, corn cheese and peas.
Chervil is one of the few edible plants that grows well indoors. It does not need full sun so it can be grown in a pot in an east-facing window. Moderately rich soil with good drainage will produce a pot full of chervil in a few weeks.
Recommended Companion Plants