Sweet Pickled Cow Parsley Stems

Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), also known as Wild Chervil, is a very under used wild edible, yet its flavour is truly unique. I don’t mean unique as in yuck, quite the contrary in fact. But unique in that, if I have to name a similar flavour, it would be somewhere between mild aniseed and liquorice.

WARNING Cow Parsley and the deadly Hemlock often grow next to each other. It is absolutely vital that you can identify Cow Parsley with 200% accuracy. If you cannot, then leave this recipe and the plant alone. I am being very serious when I say you could kill yourself if you harvest the wrong plant.

Article: Is It Cow Parsley or Hemlock?

The leaves can be used like parsley or garden chervil. However I like to eat the stems of Cow Parsley either peeled and raw, or simply steamed. I find the purple ones best, more supple and with better flavour. I eat them with butter like you would asparagus, however because there is such a glut, I wanted to preserve some, and came up with this Cow Parsley pickle recipe.

Cow Parsley Recipe Ingredients

  • As many Cow Parsley stems as you think will fill a few jars.
  • 400ml cider vinegar
  • 4 tbs clear honey
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp whole celery seed

Cow Parsley Recipe Instructions

  1. Wash and trim Cow Parsley stems so they fit inside your jars, leaving enough room to be covered with spiced vinegar.
  2. Fast boil them for 60 seconds, then drain and allow to cool.
  3. Wash and sterilise your jars using boiling water.
  4. Pour the vinegar into a pan and add the honey, turmeric, ground cloves, yellow mustard seeds and celery seeds and bring to the boil, then remove from heat.
  5. Pack the jars with the Cow Parsley stems, and pour over the spiced vinegar so it covers them, then seal with a lid that has a rubber coating.
  6. Leave to mellow for two months, but can be eaten after a few days for those who cannot wait!

Serves: 2 jars


    • For me I had to look in the spice section, they come in those plastic jars like parsley does. I collect my own wild parsley seeds, some a bit green color in them,(Queen Annes lace) just grind them and dry them on a plate is what I do and it makes the most wonderful seasoning for all kinds of dishes. I replace alot of seed in recipes with it.

  1. Hi Robin,
    I just made lacto-fermented cow parsley stem pickles and they are REALLY REALLY good. They won’t last like your vinegar pickles, but they are good! I made the same (even some mixed jars) using Japanese Knotweed stems. Even better. Seriously. Everybody should try this.
    This is what I did.

    Use tender or peeled stalks of Cow Parsley or Japanese Knotweed tightly packed into glass jars with a clove of garlic or some ramps, a small hot pepper if you like that sort of thing and some dill if you have it in the bottom. You can also add a few dill, fennel or celery seeds.

    Cover with brine made from about (this is not exact science) 1 Tbsp non-iodised salt per 1/2 litre of water. Heat the water to dissolve the salt and let it cool a bit before pouring into the jars.

    Make sure everything is covered. I put a glass jar that fits into my jar on top. A ziplock with some water also works, or a large clean rock… anything as long as it keeps all the plant bits under the brine.

    Leave to ferment for a few days or longer in a coolish place (not on the balcony in the sun). When you are happy with the fermentation (it will become more sour as more lactic acid is produced) store in the fridge.

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