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18 Interesting Facts About Chervil

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Chervil is an aromatic herb that is popularly used in French cuisine. Though not as well known as other herbs like parsley or cilantro, chervil has a delicate, anise-like flavor that makes it a uniquely tasty addition to salads, soups, eggs dishes and more.

If you’re not already familiar with this underrated herb, here are 18 fascinating chervil facts that will make you want to start cooking with it:

Interesting Facts About Chervil

Farmer's Market - Chervil
Farmer’s Market – Chervil

1. Chervil goes by many names

While commonly referred to as “chervil,” this herb also goes by French parsley, garden chervil, curled chervil, and sweet cicely. The name “chervil” comes from the French word “cerfeuil.”

2. It’s one of the “fines herbes” in French cuisine

Along with tarragon, parsley and chives, chervil is considered one of the four essential herbs used in French cooking. These herbs are collectively known as “fines herbes.”

3. Its leaves are fernlike

Chervil leaves are delicately curly like fern leaves. The lacy, bright green leaves grow in rosettes that can reach up to 16 inches wide when the plant is mature.

4. Chervil is easy to grow

Chervil grows easily from seeds and cuttings. It has a fast growth rate, reaching maturity in as little as 8 weeks. Chervil grows best in the cool weather of spring and fall.

  • Thrives in loose, well-drained soil
  • Grows well in containers or garden beds
  • Requires full sun to partial shade
  • Needs consistent moisture

5. It has a short growing season

Unlike hardy herbs like thyme and rosemary, chervil has a short lifespan. It grows rapidly in cool weather but bolts quickly when summer heat arrives. This makes chervil mainly a spring and fall herb in most regions.

6. The flavor is lost when cooked

Like other delicate herbs, the complex flavor compounds in chervil become denatured when exposed to heat. Cooking tends to destroy chervil’s distinctive licorice notes. Use it raw or add it at the very end.

7. The roots were once used like parsley

While we only eat the leaves today, chervil roots were once cooked and eaten as a vegetable, much like parsley root. The taste was said to be sweet and reminiscent of chestnuts.

8. It has some impressive health benefits

Chervil contains antioxidants like quercetin that can help reduce inflammation. Some of its other potential health benefits include:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving digestion
  • Detoxifying the body

9. The essential oil fights bacteria

Studies have found that chervil’s essential oil contains powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. The oil is used in some natural medicine treatments.

10. It was used as a digestive aid

Traditionally, chewed chervil seeds were given to children to improve digestion. The herb was also made into teas and tonics for curing digestive complaints like cramps and bloating.

11. Romans used it as a diuretic

Historical records show that chervil was brought to Europe by the Romans, who used extracts from the leaves as a mild diuretic. The herb increases urine output to flush toxins from the body.

12. It has culinary uses beyond salads

While chervil is perfect for sprinkling onto salads, it can also add its licorice flavor to:

  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Pastas
  • Egg dishes
  • Lightly cooked vegetables
  • Compound butter and herb oils

13. It’s essential for certain French dishes

In France, chervil is considered crucial for making authentic versions of certain French springtime dishes. These include soupe printaniere (spring vegetable soup) and oeufs mimosa (deviled eggs).

14. The flavor pairs well with fish

Chefs often pair chervil with fish like trout, salmon, sole and flounder. Its delicate flavor complements seafood without overpowering it. Sprinkle minced chervil over fish fillets before baking or steaming.

15. It can be used similarly to parsley

Like its relative parsley, chervil provides a subtle background note to dishes rather than dominating other flavors. Use it as a garnish or finishing touch to balance stronger flavors.

16. Dried chervil lacks flavor

Drying tends to eliminate chervil’s delicate flavor notes, so it’s best used fresh. To preserve chervil, try freezing chopped leaves in oil or water instead of air-drying.

17. Regrow chervil from market bunches

Place fresh chervil bunch stems in a jar of water in a sunny spot, changing the water every few days. New leaves will sprout, allowing you to regrow the herb for weeks without replanting.

18. The flavor fades quickly after picking

Chervil’s flavor and aroma compounds start deteriorating within hours of harvesting. Use chervil immediately after picking for best quality. If storing, wrap leaves in damp paper towels before refrigerating in an airtight container.


With its fresh, licorice-anise flavor and impressive health benefits, chervil is a unique herb that can enhance many dishes. Though not as common as some other herbs, chervil is worth trying if you want to add a gourmet touch to your cooking. Its fast growth rate and ease of cultivation also makes chervil an excellent herb for kitchen gardeners.

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