What To Do With All That Parsley?

What To Do With All That Parsley?

What To Do With All That Parsley? 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

One of my favorite herbs to grow in the garden is parsley. Most people think of parsley as the useless garnish on the plate that gets thrown out after the meal is done. Why this may be true, parsley is a nice addition to any garden that adds beauty, fragrance, and flavor for certain dishes. If you plant parsley regularly in your garden you know there will be enough to share even with the beneficial bugs! I plant new parsley each year even though you can harvest and let it grow a second year. The second year growth will not have as much flavor but it will produce seeds that you can keep for up to three years and plant on your own the following years.

Parsley is more than just a garnish! It contains high levels of flavonoids which makes it a powerful anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Parsley can be used in soups, stews and casseroles. It has such a rich green color and strong aroma when harvested it is a no wonder it is heathy for you. Because it is in the same family as carrots and celery it can grow well into the fall season even with cooler temperatures. Planting just one plant in well drained moist soil will yield an ample supply of parsley that can be used fresh, dried, or frozen for future use. I even share some of my parsley with the caterpillars that eventually become pollinating butterflies. Why not, there is so much of it.

I enjoyed using it fresh throughout the garden season making sure to harvest it when there were at least three branches on one stem. In past years I was cutting just the top part to use as a garnish and now know that if you use it for flavor in dishes you need to wait till there are at least three branches. This indicates it is mature and has optimal flavor.

To extend my parsley for use in the winter I tried two different methods of drying parsley and there was a clear winner in how I will dry parsley from now on. One method was simply drying it in a paper bag for at least two weeks and the other method had me storing it by the afternoon. The latter method entailed the oven and was a quick way to get it done and put away. Even after three weeks it still has amazing aroma and flavor. Here are the steps I used to dry parsley:

Step one: Wash your parsley after harvesting and remove stems. (I did have some stems on when I dried the parsley but they are easy to remove after drying.)

Step two: Blanch your parsley in boiling water for 30 seconds. This step I found interesting because I do believe blanching it is what makes it keep its beautiful deep green color.

Step three: Strain water and place on brown paper bag that is on a baking sheet. Spread parsley out evenly on paper bag making sure parsley is not clumped together.

Step four: Place in warm oven for 2-4 hours. I preheated my oven to 400 and then turned it off. You don’t want the parsley to cook! You just want it to dry enough to crumble it.

Step five: Remove from oven and crush till you have small flakes.

Step six: Store in sealed container and place in a dry dark place. It should last for a long period of time. It may lose its flavor over several months but this is common amongst many stored herbs and spices.

Parsley isn’t just a garnish. It can add that slight flavor difference to any dish. It is easy to grow and adds beauty to a garden for all to enjoy. It is not that expensive to purchase, but knowing that you can grow, harvest, and dry your own with ease makes the simple process worth it. Buying it in a store does not guarantee it is grown without pesticides or with organic methods as well!

So….try it in your garden next season!

“An herb is a weed you can eat”
Bartell Desmond

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