How To Dry Parsley
Parsley, as our previous article outlined, is a special herb with many culinary and medical uses. Perhaps you are growing plenty and want to know how to dry parsley…
We will look here at the principal ways to dry fresh parsley and offer you some handy hints on storing this wonderful herb so you always have access to it. Once you have done the groundwork by growing it, maintaining stock levels is the easy part.
As well as being used as a diuretic and a treatment for upset stomachs, parsley can be pressed into action in a wide range of recipes.
You should be aware that parsley will lose a little of its flavor when it’s dried. Drying herbs can be a surprisingly tricky task so we are here to strip it down to basics and make things simple for you.
We’ll show you how to dry fresh parsley using the following basic methods:
- Air Drying
- Solar Drying
- Drying With a Dehydrator
- Microwave and Oven Drying
In general, if you choose to dry with heat then more of the flavor will be removed. Any strong heat damages the essential oils contained within the herb.
The conventional approach to drying is not without its drawbacks either, though. Our ancestors would leave herbs hanging to dry for weeks but there are two things to note. Firstly, their homes were very different with much more space suited for this kind of task available. Also, the results can be mixed… By the time you realize something has gone amiss, the herbs could be unusable.
We’ll look now at the four main ways in which you can get your parsley dried out nicely.
How To Dry Fresh Parsley
It’s perfectly possible to dry all herbs naturally in the air. You need to locate a warm and dry area first of all. The garage or attic are standard choices. You could opt for the kitchen pantry or even the kitchen itself (although make certain there is not too much moisture).
Bundle up your parsley and use some string or twine to hold it together in bunches. Rubber bands are another possibility. Use whatever you have to hand just secure it adequately.
Hammer a nail into the wall and hang your herbs up to dry out.
You can put the sprigs of parsley inside brown paper bags if you want. Cut slits in the bags if you choose this option. This allows plenty of air to circulate. The benefit of paper bags is keeping dust off the parsley and also preventing too much color being lost as the sunlight otherwise bleaches the herbs. The downside is that if left unattended, mold can set in. Make your decision and if you do use bags pay close attention to them to prevent this mildew and fungus spoiling your parsley.
After about 2 weeks, gather the bundles and place the dried herbs on some wax paper. Crumble up the leaves and get rid of the stems.
Pop the dry mix into an airtight container and you’re good to go!
Taking advantage of the sun’s rays is a straightforward and economical way to achieve your goal of drying parsley effectively.
Wait until the weather is smiling on you. Avoid too much humidity and ensure that no rain is in the post. You want a window of opportunity with no moisture for several days so consult the weather forecast and be patient.
Pick some sprigs of fresh parsley from the garden. Wash off any dirt from the surface.
Get a sheet and spread it across a large table. You can use stones or bricks on the edges to prevent it from blowing away. A window screen is a great solar drying rack as these screens promote ventilation. Another alternative is a roasting pan.
Whatever your selected drying tool, place the parsley in a single layer. Pop it in the direct sunlight and leave the sun to do its work.
Turn the herbs on a daily basis and bring them inside overnight to eliminate the chance of moisture undoing your efforts.
When the parsley is crispy you are all set to store it for future use.
Drying With a Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a highly versatile piece of kitchen equipment you can harness nicely for drying herbs.
They make use of hot air which slowly and gently gets rid of the moisture present in food. You will need a good few hours for best effects with parsley.
Whether rounded or box-shaped, dehydrators are a kind of stacking system and the mini perforations in the trays allow air to circulate ideally among your herbs.
They are not particularly cheap so analyze how much use you will get from a dehydrator and decide whether it’s the smart choice for you.
It really is a seamless procedure. Simply pop a single layer of parsley onto each tray. Refer to the instructions for time and temperature. Dehydrators are all different, much like microwaves, so make sure you get this step right.
A few hours later and the moisture will be removed, your parsley lovely and dry for your store cupboard.
Microwave and Oven Drying
Taking into account what’s been mentioned about a certain loss of flavor, you can nevertheless dry parsley without too much fuss in the microwave or conventional oven.
- Microwave: Pop your sprigs of clean parsley onto a microwave-proof plate. Simply heat on HIGH for 30 seconds, turn them over and nuke them for another 30 seconds. Leave them to cool then pop them in an airtight jar
- Oven: Set your cooker for 180 degrees. Spread your parsley evenly across a cookie sheet then bake for between 2 and 4 hours. Keep a very close eye on proceedings so the herbs do not burn
How Do You Store Fresh Parsley
Now that you have a few different approaches for drying your herbs, the next logical stage is storing them appropriately.
Get yourself some airtight containers. There is no need to spend a great deal of money. You can easily re-use old coffee jars or any plastic pots you have to hand.
Make sure your hands are clean and dry then cover a table with newspaper.
Scrunch up the dried herbs with your hands discarding any of the stems. Pour the mixture into your container.
Label them up accordingly remembering to include the date they were prepared.
If you want to freeze dry your parsley or other herbs – the tips in this article work equally well for other varieties – then place the dried mix into Ziploc plastic bags, squeeze the air out and put them in the freezer. Bingo!
There is no substitute for fresh herbs which is why we suggest keeping a stock of your favorites growing at all times.
It’s not an ideal world, though, and often supplies run down or things get overlooked. By drying and storing your parsley correctly, you can always enjoy pepping up your cookery or availing yourself of its medicinal properties even if you have none left growing.
Although it’s arguably the quickest method, avoid using a source of heat like the oven if at all possible so as to maximize the beneficial effects and lessen the loss of flavor in the drying process.