Chervil is a very tasty herb that loves cool and shaded locations.
A summary of key chervil facts
Name – Anthriscus cerefolium
Family – Apiaceae (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.
Sowing and 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.
Chervil 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.
- If you identify small insects on the stems and leaves, they’re probably aphids, here is how to treat against aphids.
- If the leaves bear a type of mold and end up turning yellow, it is downy mildew, for which instructions on eradicating it are shown here.
- Lastly (and also the least common case), if leaves are marked with brownish orange spots, it is due to rust, and here is how to fight rust.
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
It 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 a jar before doing so.
It’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.
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.