Chervil (Anthriscus Cerefolium)
Delicate and dainty, but certainly no shrinking violet, chervil is a pretty-as-a-picture addition to your herb garden. Mature plants produce small, white, edible flowers.
Its delicate, slightly aniseed flavour will not shout at you but it will get on famously with many foods, pairing harmoniously with eggs, chicken, fish, a creamy lemony sauce and any number of salads.
You can use in a tisane, add to cocktails and flavour the jug of iced water at your table. Use fresh, raw and generously.
Known to the ancient Greeks as ‘the herb of rejoicing’, referred to by Pliny and also mentioned by John Gerard in 1663 who also suggests that ‘it causeth joy and gladness’, Chervil can further benefit all its joyous fans in another department as recorded by Nicholas Culpeper ‘it is good to help provoke urine’. Today an infusion of both flowers and leaves is recommended by herbalists to lower blood pressure.
One more thing – chervil is a rich source of bioflavonoids, helping Vitamin C absorption.
Excellent news and just what you’ve been waiting for – chervil is one of the few herbs to grow well in shade, indeed shade is critical as it can quickly bolt in spells of hot weather. Best with staggered planting to ensure a lasting season, sow new seeds every two weeks. Sow where you want it to grow because it won’t thank you for being moved. It also grows well in winter which is good to know when few other herbs are around.