Chervil – Anthriscuc cerefolium.
This rewarding herb to grow looks like a ferny parsley: the soft anise-tasting leaves go well with chives, parsley and tarragon, making a beautifully balanced combination of flavours.
If using chervil in hot sauces it should be added at the last minute so as not to lose its delicate flavour. Added to salad leaves it adds a delicate flavour.
The Romans first taught us to use this herb of the Umbelliferae family, which symbolises new life and is therefore linked with Easter.
Medicinally, chervil has traditionally been valued as a blood purifier and for its beneficial effect on the kidneys. By eating some of the leaves daily, certain ‘hardening’ conditions will be eased, such as rheumatic tendencies or gout.
It has also been used as an eye wash to refresh tired eyes, while drinking a tea made from the fresh leaves of chervil is said to reduce high blood pressure. With is high content of bioflavonoids it aids the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Although classed as a biennial, it is best treated as an annual and sown twice a year in spring and autumn where it is to grow. It flourishes just as lushly in spring as in summer, and will produce a successful crop if the plot is sheltered with part sun. It is not fussy about soil, but does like water, and if given these conditions will produce small white flowers.