Chervil is a delicious culinary herb which has been used since Roman times and has a delicate flavour between tarragon and parsley. It is indispensable in French cuisine. It needs to be added raw or at the very last minute to a dish when it has been taken off the heat.
Chervil is an annual plant with delicate and lacy, fern like foliage that forms a low growing rosette. The tiny white flowers, borne in umbels on slender stems are followed by thin black seeds. Chervil requires good drainage and a moist soil that is close to neutral, preferably enriched with compost. Grow chervil in a lightly shaded position as excessive sun exposure will cause the leaves to burn and turn rose pink. In warm climates grow chervil in spring, autumn (fall) and winter. It has some cold tolerance and will withstand light frost.
Scatter the seeds over the soil, press down lightly and water regularly. Seedlings emerge after two weeks and plants are ready for harvesting from about 8 weeks. Chervil has a long taproot system and does not transplant well. It will not germinate in soil that is too warm. Light shade will promote lush growth and you can extend the season further by using protective cloches.
Water regularly and harvest the leaves from the outside, using scissors. Leaves can be frozen in sealed plastic bags. Chervil flowers, leaves and roots are all edible. The faintly anise flavoured leaves are most frequently used. The curly leaf variety makes a nice garnish. Its delicate flavour is destroyed by heat or drying. It goes well with glazed carrots, and in butter sauces and cream based soups. Freeze some chervil into ice cubes to add a refreshing summer taste to fruit drinks. Use in a butter with fish, meat or poultry cooked on the braai (BBQ)
information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs