Nothing beats having fresh, organically grown herbs right in your backyard. I'm blessed with having the space for a large garden, and I love to include freshly harvested herbs in my cooking. While making some herb flavored finishing salts to give away as gifts, I found myself with a bit of leftover fresh parsley. I decided to use it to whip up an herb butter with roasted garlic. It's so easy that I'm embarrassed to even call it a recipe!
Click to learn more about the fantastic health benefits of garlic, parsley, and grass fed butter, along with how to make your very own herb butter. It's super simple!
Health Benefits of Parsley
For me the best part about making this herb butter is how common the ingredients are. For example, who doesn't recognize parsley? A sprig of it has garnished the plates of many a restaurant meal, where it mostly gets ignored. But you shouldn't leave that parsley uneaten. It's a nutrition powerhouse!
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is loaded with age-defying antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and essential oils. These various compounds have a demonstrated ability to:
Did You Know?
In herbal medicine parsley is known as an astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and energetically cooling. Fresh parsley is great in facial steams to tone the face, helping with acne prone skin. It has been used as a poultice, lotion, or spray to soothe itchy rashes. Traditionally parsley has also been used to help move uric acid, aiding in conditions like gout and kidney stones.
Are you impressed yet? Of course you are, and I haven't even gotten to the nutrients that parsley contains. In addition to being plentiful in chlorophyll, parsley is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, folate, and iron. Moreover, parsley is insanely rich in vitamin K (K1, the plant version). One cup of parsley contains about 1230% of your daily recommended amount!!! A single tablespoon contains 77%. [5.] I bet you'll never ignore that sprig of parsley on your plate again!
Health Benefits of Garlic
Now, I know that I've written about garlic several times already, as in my ear infection article and several articles for GardensAll, so hopefully I won't sound like a broken record. Garlic (Allium sativum) is such a great plant that it's worth talking about repeatedly!
Much of garlic's beneficial properties comes from its abundance of organosulfur compounds, including the much-studied allicin, considered by science to be the most potent of garlic's components. Garlic has a wide-ranging effect on the body, and has been used to:
In addition to all of those great benefits listed above, garlic is also a source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, manganese, and selenium.
Garlic, Raw or Cooked?
Many nutrition experts insist that garlic must be eaten raw for best benefits. They're not wrong. Allicin, along with the other organosulfur compounds in garlic can be easily destroyed when cooked. [9.] When garlic is used topically in home remedies, or internally to address specific issues, it's almost always used raw. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't enjoy the benefits of garlic when cooked. There's a simple trick to safeguarding the organosulfurs in garlic: Cut it and let it rest.
Studies have shown that if you chop up your garlic, and let it sit for 5-15 minutes, the allicin in it will readily break down into other organosulfurs. That's good. That's what it's supposed to do. Those other organosulfurs survive cooking (not burning or super high temperatures) much better than the allicin itself. So, while you're preparing your vegetables prior to making a meal, just chop up the garlic first, and let it sit there. You'll be able to enjoy the lovely flavor of cooked garlic AND get some of the health benefits.
To retain the benefits of garlic when cooking, chop it up early and let it rest for 15 minutes before cooking.
Why Grass-Fed Butter?
You can certainly use regular butter in this recipe, but I do urge you to try it with grass-fed butter instead. Grass-fed butter has demonstrated nutritional superiority to butter produced from grain-fed cow's milk, and numerous health benefits. [10.] It's higher in Vitamin A (hence the more golden color), Vitamin K (K2, the animal version, produced from K1 in the cow's gut), is balanced in its Omega 3-6 ratio, and is high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid linked to:
More studies are forthcoming on the benefits of CLA, though, as you can see, it is already worth it healthwise to make the switch from butter or margarine (Horrors!) to grass-fed butter.
Parsley & Roasted Garlic Herb Butter Recipe
I used fresh parsley from my garden and garlic that I grew and braided (badly) last season. If you purchase your ingredients from the market, look for organic! Pesticides are sprayed onto plant leaves, and can be impossible to fully wash off. When it's the leaf that you intend to eat, best to go organic. Measurements are very approximate and should be adjusted to fit your personal taste. You can "eyeball measure" your way through the whole process.
1 1/2 cups of grass-fed butter at room temperature
1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
1 head of garlic
1/8 tsp organic, extra virgin olive oil
Roast the whole garlic bulb (unpeeled) by drizzling a very small amount of oil over the top, wrapping it in a small piece of aluminum foil, and roasting for about 30 minutes in a 400° oven. Squeeze out the cloves into a blender or a large bowl if you're using an immersion stick.
Note: If you want to maximize the health benefits of the garlic, then remove the cloves from the bulb, give them a rough chop, and let them rest before drizzling with olive oil in a covered bowl and then roasting. Take care! It will roast quickly this way. You CAN use raw garlic or garlic scapes here, but be aware that the resulting herb butter will have a sharper garlic taste, and you may need to lower the amount of garlic in the recipe because of the higher water content.
Add the fresh parley. Add the butter. Blend until thoroughly whipped together. You're done. Store in the fridge. It should last a few weeks if you don't eat it all first!
Editor's Note: The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat illness. Always do your research before using an herbal remedy to ensure that there are no allergy risks or cross indications with any prescription medications that you are taking. See your doctor before starting any new treatments or programs. Anything that you learn from Prairie Hawk Botanica, its blog, or Jennifer Capestany must be considered informational only. You own yourself.
Author: Jennifer Capestany
Jennifer is a clinical herbalist and health coach, specializing in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Her interest in plant medicine led Jennifer to spend years studying herbology, physiology, and nutrition. She works one-on-one with her clients via her herbalist and health coaching business, Prairie Hawk Botanica. Jennifer lives on a homestead in rural Texas with her husband, 2 children, and various animals. In her spare time she loves to be in her large herb and vegetable garden. Sharing herb knowledge and her love of natural healing with others is her calling.
I'm Jennifer Capestany, a clinical herbalist and freelance writer with a practice in North Texas. Helping people deal as naturally as possible with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic illness and other chronic conditions is my calling.