Spiced Cow Parsley And Orange Compote

This cow parsley recipe came about as a result of touching and crushing the young stalks.

For years I have always wondered why Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) aka “wild chervil” is only used as a herb, with only the leaves being used in small amounts.

This demotion to simply a seasoning is a shame. Considering how much food is actually available to gather from this marvellous, gourmet wild edible plant.

I consider cow parsley to be one of the Top 5 gourmet spring vegetables. Eclipsing even the likes of Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). Yet few do anything with it.

The stalks ooze with delicious sweet and aromatic juice. The texture is crunchy and reminiscent of celery. Hardly surprising as it is in the same family (Carrot/Apiaceae/Umbelliferae).

I suspect it is avoided in the kitchen because it can so easily be confused with the poisonous lookalike, Hemlock.

A plant that causes much shrieking and wringing of hands at the very mention of its name.

And which, if you accidentally mistake it for cow parsley, will most likely kill you. It will certainly put you in the hospital.

Now in order for you not to become a target of natural selection. If you are in any doubt about the identification of a plant. Leave it well alone!

You might want to watch my video “Is It Hemlock or Cow Parsley? Can You Tell The Difference.

As I say on my foraging courses: “You either know, or you don’t know. Thinking can get you killed.”

Further reading: 40 Wild Edible Plants in the Carrot Family

Common name: Cow Parsley
Scientific name: Anthriscus sylvestris
Family: Apiaceae


  • 200g peeled cow parsley stems
  • 5 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of brown rice syrup
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 50g chopped dried dates
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon of cardamom seeds (not pods)


  1. Heat a slow cooker to high, while preparing the following.
  2. Peel the cow parsley stems. Depending on how old they are the skins can be either wafer thin or pretty thick. Then chop into small sections. See picture above.
  3. Peel four of the oranges, and slice into rings 0.5mm thick.
  4. Juice one orange and the lemon.
  5. Grind the spices into a powder either using an electric herb grinder or pestle and mortar.
  6. Place a layer of sliced oranges in the bottom of the slow cooker. Chop the peeled cow parsley stems, and sprinkle over the oranges. Then place the remaining sliced oranges on top.
  7. Whisk the powdered spice mix with the juice of the orange and lemon and brown rice syrup. Then pour over the oranges and cow parsley.
  8. Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn down to low and cook for four hours. The taste and aroma are divine.

Serves: 4


Leave a comment