Parsley is a popular herb that enhances the flavor of any dishes.
We all know that herbs are best eaten fresh, especially parsley. However, you can’t just keep on buying herbs every time you plan to use it for cooking. It’s more practical to buy a pack of fresh parsley and store it in your home so that you can use them whenever you want.
Sure, no problem. Sounds like an easy-breezy thing to do, right?
However, there’s just one little snag—
Storing parsley for too long is that it loses its freshness after some time.
Fresh herbs, in particular, don’t last long if you don’t use them after a few days of purchase. Luckily, there are a few hacks that you can use to preserve your pack of parsley for a longer time than usual. With these fun and creative hacks, you can pull out some nice and fresh parsley from your storage even if they’ve been there for quite some time.
Let me teach you some of the hacks that I know (some of which I still follow to this day):
Refrigerating Your Parsley
The simplest thing you can do is to refrigerate your parsley. While this is the simplest method, it is also the least effective when it comes to storing parsley. That is because parsley is susceptible to damage when exposed to cold for a longer period. However, you can use this method if you know that you’re going to use the parsley in the next 5 days.
We have two methods that we use when we want to effectively refrigerate parsley.
Let’s take a look at them:
Refrigerating Parsley Technique 1: Bundle Stem Up
The first technique is a really simple one. All you have to do is tie up your parsley bundle at the stems using a rubber band. After that, get a paper towel and wrap it around the parsley bundle. From there, you can store it in the fridge.
The thing about storing parsley in the fridge is that the cold might damage the leaves. That’s the whole purpose of the paper towel— to protect the leaves of the parsley. The paper towel won’t protect the parsley forever though. In fact, it can only last for about 3 to 5 days before the cold will start to creep into the leaves and damage them. Thus why we mentioned earlier that you need to use the parsley in 5 days if you just want to refrigerate it.
But if you need more time, no worries. Just take the time to change the paper towel and wrap some new layers to your parsley again.
Refrigerating Parsley Technique 2: Chop and Toss
The next technique also involves storing the parsley in the fridge but does entail a bit more work. First, you chop up the parsley and take away all the stems. From there, put the parsley on a plate and put it in the fridge. Once it has cooled, you need to toss the chopped parsley leaves for a while and put them back in the fridge. If you do this, the parsley will eventually dry up. Once it dries up, you can put it inside a container and store the container back in the fridge.
If you need to use some of the parsley for your ingredients, all you have to do is take out the container and scoop up the amount of parsley that you need for cooking. Don’t forget to put the container back in the fridge.
Freezing Your Parsley
Aside from refrigeration, one of the easiest methods to store parsley for a longer period of time is to simply freeze it! In fact, freezing it can help you keep it for months, allowing you to make use of it all year long. That way, you don’t need to keep on going back to the store to buy a new pack of parsley whenever you need. You can even freeze excess chopped parsley that you couldn’t finish after preparing a previous dish.
So, how exactly do you freeze parsley anyway? We have three methods that we’d like to share for this first hack.
Check them out below:
Freezing Parsley Technique 1: The Parsley Ball
The first technique that we’d like to share involves using a freezer bag to store your parsley in. Before you store your parsley in a bag and putting it in your freezer, first wash it with cold water and air dry it. You can do this by lightly wiping the parsley leaves with a towel. After that, take out the stems and leave the leaves. You do have the option to keep the stems (I usually just use the leaves). So, I prefer taking the stem out before storing the parsley. Saves me a lot of time.
Once you have a bunch of leaves, grab them all in both hands and mash them all together to form a ball. Make sure that they’re all tightly packed together. Once you’ve formed your parsley ball, then stuff them all in a freezer bag. the key here is to make sure the freezer bag is full to the rim. As much as possible, don’t leave any empty room in the bag. Once you’ve stuffed your parsley ball in the bag, you can then put the bag in the freezer.
After a few days, you’ll find your parsley ball hardened and a bit hard to take out. In order to take out a piece, you simply need to get a knife or a pair of those kitchen scissors and chop/cut out parts that you need for your dish.
Freezing Parsley Technique 2: Pesto Hoarding
Most of the time, people use parsley for cooking pasta or for making a sauce. So here’s another way to preserve your parsley— make a yummy pesto out of the leaves and freeze it.
If you’re a pasta lover or think that you can add some parsley pesto sauce on other dishes of yours, then you can just make the pesto beforehand and freeze it. The advantage of this technique is that the taste becomes better over time.
In order to make the pesto, follow these steps:
- Chop up the parsley that you want to preserve and dump it on your blender.
- Add some pine nuts, around 5 cloves of garlic, and some salt.
- Then add some olive oil on top of that.
- Since the recipe is based on how much parsley you want to preserve, you can play around with the number of pine nuts, garlic, and salt you add.
- Once you get the taste that you like, blend everything together.
Once you make your pesto, put as much pesto as you can in freezer bags or jars until all your pesto is gone. After that, you just need to store the bags/jars in your freezer and take it out whenever you need it. All the remaining parsley that you didn’t use for your pesto can be stored using the first technique or this next one.
Freezing Parsley Technique 3: The Parsley Cubes
This last technique involves turning the parsley into ice cubes, which you can thaw out when you need to cook them. Basically, you’ll follow the first few steps of the first technique. You wash the parsley and chop off the stems. For this technique, you need to cut off the stems, otherwise, the parsley leaves can’t fit into the ice cube container. You may also opt to use a food processor to finely minced the leaves.
Once you have a bunch of leaves, put as many leaves into each square of the ice cube container without fully stuffing them since you’ll still add water. Once you’ve filled it with leaves, put a little bit of water in each square. You don’t need to fill the squares to the rim but you do need to cover the leaves. When you’ve done that, put your ice cube containers filled with parsley into the freezer and wait for them to freeze.
When you need to use your parsley, simply take out the ice cube containers and break as many ice cubes as you need. You can heat up the parsley ice cube or put them in a bowl filled with water so that they can defrost. If you do this, your parsley has the chance to stay fresh throughout a few months.
Jarring Your Parsley
Aside from freezing your parsley, there’s another method that’s popular among moms who like to frequently work in the kitchen. This is a kitchen technique that is somehow passed from mother to daughter and onward. No one can really explain why it works, but it does.
We have three specific techniques on how we implement jarring of parsley. You can try out whichever one works best for you.
Jarring Parsley Technique 1: Jars Store Them with Water
With this technique, you must first use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut off the bottom of the stems. You’ll want clean-cut stems that you can put in the water. Also, rinse the parsley a bit but dry them right after.
Once you’re done with that, get an empty jar and fill it with water. This can be an empty mason jar or just a random old glass jar of mayonnaise. When there is already water inside, you simply put the stems of parsley in the water. After doing this, you can leave it pretty much anywhere that has room temperature. You may want to store it in a cupboard or just in the kitchen table. Just make sure that it doesn’t attract any pests to it. You can also try leaving it in your porch so that the outside weather can help preserve it.
If you want to take out the parsley, you can just pull out a few pieces from the jar and use them. Also, remember to change the water after a few days. Probably after a week, you will notice that the color of the water is stained. Before the color becomes too prominent, change the water immediately. A good range to follow is approximately every 3 to 4 days.
Doing this will preserve the parsley for about 1 to 2 weeks before you start to see some discoloration in the leaves. Once you see some discoloration already, begin plucking out the bad leaves and start using the good ones.
Jarring Parsley Technique 2: Freeze Them Up
The second technique is rather similar to the first one except that you’ll store the parsley jar in your fridge. So, repeat the process of cutting the bottom parts of the parsley stems and putting the parsley in the jar of water. The only difference with this method is you’ll be exposing the parsley to the cold.
Now, if you’re not going to freeze your parsley and will just leave it in the fridge, the cold may actually damage it. In order to prevent that, you just need to cover the top of the jar (where the leaves are sticking out) with a plastic freezer bag. Just place a small plastic freezer bag on the top and you can use some tape to make the freezer bag stick to the jar.
Just like in the first method, you need to change the water from time to time since the water will get discolored. Again, follow the range that we provided above of changing the water every 3 to 4 days. Doing this should allow you to preserve your parsley for quite a long time. To be specific, it may last for about 2 to 3 weeks. However, you may notice that some leaves are yellow after a week or so. All you have to do is pluck out the yellow leaves and keep the green ones there.
Jarring Parsley Technique 3: Parsley Vinaigrette (Recommended for Salad Lovers!)
The third method is pretty much like the first two methods but instead of filling the jar with water, you’ll fill it with vinegar. This is a technique that’s usually done if you want to make a homemade vinaigrette with parsley inside. The parsley in the vinaigrette will remain fresh and the vinaigrette can be used for salads or soup flavoring.
To apply this technique, simply rinse your parsley pieces, dry them a bit, and chop them up. Get a mason jar and fill it up ¾ full with some vinegar. Put the chopped parsley in and let the mixture steep for a month. After that month, you’ll now have infused vinegar which has a great flavor and can be used for a lot of delicious recipes.
Dehydrating Your Parsley
Another way of preserving your parsley is to dehydrate them. This means that you’ll be squeezing out their moisture so that they can last long. We have four specific methods of drying or dehydrating your parsley.
The four methods are using a dehydrator, air drying, oven dehydrating, and microwave drying. Take note that if you try any of these methods, your parsley will end up very dry and crumbly. If you want to use them for ingredients, you’ll have to rehydrate them again.
Anyway, here are the methods:
Dehydrating Parsley Technique 1: Make Them Dry and Crumbly
The first method that we’d like to discuss involves using a dehydrator. As the name implies, a dehydrator is a machine that sucks out moisture from an ingredient. It does so by combining air flow and heat to create concentrated humidity around your parsley, drying it up.
First of all, you need to rinse your parsley just a bit and dry them. Take out your dehydrator and preheat it to around 45 Celsius. Once preheated, put the parsley pieces in one by one. Make sure that each piece is a bit far from each other so that each gets the same amount of heat needed to dry up.
Monitor the parsley from time to time and check to see if it is dry and crumbly. If it is already crumbly, then you can turn off your dehydrator and take out the parsley. Put the parsley into a small container and put the container aside. Make sure you store the container in a dry area.
Dehydrating Parsley Technique 2: Air Dried Parsley
Not everyone has the capacity to buy a dehydrator for their kitchen. So, the next alternative is to go old school and air dry your parsley. Back before dehydrators became a thing, this was actually the main method that housewives and cooks used to dehydrate their herbs.
First, you rinse your parsley a bit and then dry up the leaves. Get a rubber band and tie all the stems together tight. Put the bundle of parsley inside a paper bag and determine where you’ll hang the paper. You can hang it either indoors or outdoors. As per experience, the parsley that comes from indoor air drying usually produces stronger taste. Outdoor dried ones don’t usually change in taste but they can be preserved for a really long time. Some people are also really creative by putting the leaves near LED bulbs to make the most of the heat the bulbs generate.
Once you hang your paper bag, you’ll need to ensure that the airflow is still regulated through small spaces for air to go in. This will prevent the growth of mold. When hung, you need to wait for around one to weeks for the parsley to dry. After one or two weeks, check if the parsley is totally dry and crumbled. Once it is, you may put it inside a container which can be stored any way you want.
Dehydrating Parsley Technique 3: Fresh from the Oven
The next method is oven dehydrating the parsley. For this method, we’ll use the extreme heat of the oven to suck out the moisture quickly. So again, rinse your parsley and dry them a bit. After that, line them up on a cookie dough sheet. Preheat your oven to the lowest heat setting and then put the sheet inside the oven.
Wait for around 2 to 4 hours and it should dry up. It may take shorter or longer depending on the type of parsley you’re drying but this is the general range. To totally make sure, just check the parsley from time to time.
Once you’ve dried parsley, just put the parsley inside a container and place the container in a dry and cool area.
Dehydrating Parsley Technique 4: Microwaved Parsley
The last technique is to simply put the parsley into a microwave and heat it up. To do this, you just need to rinse the leaves then dry them a bit with a cloth. After that, put the parsley on a plate and put a paper towel over the leaves. Then, put the plate of parsley inside the microwave.
Set the microwave to 30 seconds and leave it there. If you feel that the leaves aren’t dry enough yet, then spread the leaves further apart and try again for another 30 seconds. When that’s done, simply put the leaves into a container and set aside in a cool and dry place.
These fun and creative ways to preserve your parsley can help you keep them fresh for long periods of time. Some of the methods even teach you how to preserve the parsley through making pesto or vinaigrette. Those give you a chance to explore various cooking methods.
Just to give you an idea of the length of time you can preserve parsley, proper storage of the herb can allow you to preserve it for about 1 to 6 months depending on which method you prefer to use. Some methods such as refrigeration will only give you the preservation of 3 weeks like methods like jarring can give you around 2 to 3 months preservation. If you freeze or dehydrate your parsley well, then you can even make them last up to 6 months.
This really all depends on how long you’re going to need your parsley fresh. If you use a lot of parsley for your cooking, then it really will pay off to study the different kinds of storage techniques so that you can have fresh parsley all year round. This is much more convenient and cheaper than having to keep on buying parsley whenever you need to. Aside from convenience, you also get to save a bundle if you preserve parsley because there are some seasons when parsley prices go up. If ever you buy parsley in a low-price season and store them all throughout the high price season, you can actually save a bundle.
In any case, these creative methods of storing parsley can come in handy if you’re someone who uses a lot of herbs. The same storage techniques that we mentioned above can also be applied for other herbs as well but that’s a topic for another day.
For now, enjoy your fresh parsley with these storage tips. Happy cooking!