Chervil, a delicious herb

Chervil in a patch

Chervil is a very tasty herb that loves cool and shaded locations.

A summary of key chervil facts

NameAnthriscus cerefolium
FamilyApiaceae (parsley family)
Type – herb plant, annual

Height – 16 to 24 inches (40 to 60 cm)
Exposure – part sun and shade
Soil – light, airy

Flowering – June to September
Harvest – April to September

Caring for it from sowing to harvest is easy and its growth is quite rapid.

Sowing and planting chervil

Planting chervil, or sowing for those who prefer to start from seed, is rather easy.

First of all, chervil is an herb that doesn’t cope well with heat. It’ll be fine in the sun in spring and fall but will need shade in summer.

Soil and location for planting chervil

Chervil likes well-drained, light and rather cool ground.

  • For chervil purchased in pots, you can plant from spring to summer.
  • Select a partially shaded emplacement, especially in summer.
  • Indoors, avoid windowsills that are often too hot for chervil.
  • Water when the soil is dry but without overdoing it, or the roots will drown.

Sowing chervil

Planting and care for chervilChervil is preferably sown in spring or fall.

  • You can sow chervil directly in the ground from April to September.
  • To sow as early as February, you’ll have to find a place that is protected from from freezing.
  • As soon as the first leaves appear, thin down to about 4 inches (10 cm) to give the sprouts enough space to develop.
  • Sprinkle water over lightly to keep the substrate a bit moist.
  • Transplant to the ground, pot or garden box when there isn’t any risk of freezing any more.

Diseases and parasites that attack chervil

Even though it isn’t very vulnerable to diseases and parasites, like most herbs and spices, chervil is nonetheless subject to being invaded by aphids and fungus, downy mildew and rust.

Harvesting chervil

Harvest comes quickly after the sowing because there’s about 1 to 1½ months lead time from sprouting to harvest for the first chervil leaves.

Leaves are cut off whenever they’re needed, during the entire vegetation phase. Best wait for a full month after sowing though.

  • Snip the leaves at the base of the stem because new shoots will appear.
  • Collecting them in the morning makes for a better result as regards flavor retention.

Learn more about chervil

Common chervil or ‘Crispum’ chervil, this herb presents us with a subtle strong flavor that you will prefer fresh because it tends to lose its taste when dried.

Chervil with other herbsIt is native to Asia and it part of the wide Apiaceae family. Although it is part of the same family as turnip-rooted chervil, they clearly are of different species. As if to prove the point, turnip-rooted chervil leaves aren’t edible.

Being rather easy to grow, this plant is delicious when added to omelets, fried mushrooms, mixed salads, soups and gravy meals.

If you wish it to keep, it is best to freeze it, putting it in an airtight jar before doing so.

Chervil self-sowing flowersIt’s also possible to simply hang it upside-down in a dry spot of the house, and you can snip off leaves as you need them.

Read also:

Smart tip about chervil

When pairing it with hot meals, don’t add it until the last moment, or it will lose all its flavor.

Snip it up just a bit with scissors and toss it in just before serving.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY-SA 2.0: Edsel Little, Elaine with Grey Cats