Chervil is an annual that grows to about 2 feet tall. It has light green leaves that resemble finely cut parsley. White flowers are produced on flat heads. The flavor of chervil tastes like a mix of parsley and anise.
Chervil is grown from seed sown in the spring or in late fall. Fall sown seed will germinate the following spring. Direct sowing of seed is suggested as chervil seedlings are difficult to transplant successfully. When sowing seed, cover seed very lightly or not at all as light is needed for good germination. Keep moist by regular misting or place a single sheet of newspaper over the row to retain moisture until germination occurs. Because chervil goes to flower readily (bolts), it is suggested to make successive sowings of seed through the season at 3-4 week intervals to insure a continuous supply of fresh leaves.
- ‘Crispum’ – Curled green leaves with subtle flavor.
- ‘Vertissimo’ – Shiny dark green flat leaves. Dense compact growth habit.
- Plain Chervil – Standard flat leaf form.
Both the leaves and stems are used in cooking. Harvest leaves when they are fully open but still tender. Air dry and store leaves in sealed containers for later use.
Leaves are used much the same way parsley is used in soups, salads, sauces and cheese and egg dishes. It is also used as a garnish.