Friday, March 6, 2009

Preserving Parsley

So today I'm cooking in the slow cooker and my recipe calls for two tbsp of fresh parsley. Having just started my newest parsely pot, I don't have any ready to snip to use yet. So, I got some at the grocery store, at a splurg of 1.39 for the organic variety, passing up the non-organic which was 99 cents. This by far is much better then buying the prepackaged frozen herbs by Dorot. I believe they run over 2.00 for their package (it could be as high as four), but I didn't bother to check.

Before our finances hit the crunch these last few months, I would have used what I needed and probably tossed the rest once it molded in my refridgerator, but now since life is harder and we're on a budget, it makes sense for me to try to preserve what I'm not using for this recipe. Freezing is pretty simple, so I tried that first.

Here's a step by step to freezing your parsely.

1. Wash the bunch of parsley, and let it dry out on a towel.

2. Cut the nicest looking leaves, tossing the sticks in the trash.

3. Then I spread them out on a plate, so they can freeze individually. I place them in a freezer, and wait.

4. Once they are frozen, stick them in an airtight container and use as needed. Easy easy.

Now for drying, this is where it could get trickey. Parsley has lots of water in it, so it doesn't just dry out as some herbs do, and with it still being March and relatively cold, just laying it out in the sun probably wouldn't cut it. Some sources say to microwave parsely, others say since microwaves vary, you could burn or cook your herbs instead of drying them.

The directions I used for microwaving paresley to dry can be found here:

I had no success when it came to microwaving parsely. As a matter of fact, the stick caught fire in my microwave, and the leaves still were squishy with water. I do not recommend doing this AT ALL. In the book Preserving Summer's Bounty by Susan McClure, she also suggests staying away from microwaving. Instead she suggests that parsley either be dried in a dehydrater, or if you're like me and don't have one, dry it on a low heat in the oven. However, after the fire in my microwave, I"ll be sticking to freezing. ;)

I've provided a link to McClure's book here. I will be trying out her canning suggestions in later posts. :)

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