The sense of achievement and satisfaction you achieve when you use your own homegrown herbs in your creations like teas, soaps, herbal concoctions, and tasty seasoning mix, is no doubt the best feeling ever.
And, if you happen to have an abundance of parsley growing at your indoor garden, then why not dry them to enjoy the herb all the year-round.
Also Read: How to Dry Basil at Home
It is as simple as plucking the parsley from your backyard. You quite need the right tips to dry them, which is not at all difficult. Follow this simple guide to master the art of drying parsley at home.
Preparing the Parsley Leaves for Drying
To preserve the fresh aroma of the parsley leaves, harvesting them at their peak is very important. Always harvest the herb during the early morning hours, when the dew is still just there but not too dry.
Once the harvesting is complete, make sure that you run the freshly harvested parsley under cold wash and wash off any last remnants of dirt and grime along with garden critters. After rinsing thoroughly, shake the bunch to remove any excess water and hang them upside down to dry completely before you begin drying the parsley leaves. Also, remove any discolored or damaged leaves from the lot.
5 Methods to Dry Parsley Leaves at Home
1. Sun-Drying the Herb
This is one of the easiest methods of drying parsley at home. You practically require no equipment at all to achieve the desired results. You need a plain old baking sheet and a few old window screens. One thing you need to make sure that the day you choose to sun dry the herbs should be bright and sunny. This is the only required condition you need to make sure is fulfilled in order to dry the parsley to the optimum texture.
- Wash the old screens and cut them in the size of your baking sheet. The old screens prevent the leaves from sticking to the bottom while drying out in the sun. it also makes it easy to handle the leaves.
- Place the spring of parsley on the baking sheet lined with the old screen.
- The parsley should be placed in such a way that they do not stick to each other.
- Place the baking tray on your porch or someplace where it is sunny.
- Do not forget to bring in the tray during the evening.
- Take the tray out again the next day is the leaves are not dry completely.
The drying time depends on the intensity of the heat of the sun. If the sun is shining bright it should be done by noon. If not, then bring in the tray indoors to prevent settling of dew and wetting the partially dried parsley leaves.
2. Air-Drying Parsley Leaves
This method also does not require any equipment.
- After you harvest and wash the parsley leaves, group them in bundles loosely. Use rubber bands to tie the stems at the end.
- Now, hang these bundles of parsley spring upside down, from your clothes drying rack. You may keep the rack in a place where it is bright and sunny, like the attic or on your porch.
- The bunches will dry up in a couple of weeks. You know the parsley springs are dry when it is brittle to touch.
- Place the air-dried parsley on a wax paper.
- Now carefully remove the parsley leaves from the now hardened stems.
Your homemade dried parsley is ready to be stored for further use. Always store your dried parsley in an air-tight container and label them.
Drying the Parsley Leaves in a Dehydrator
Dehydrators are no doubt a bit expensive, but if you have a lot of harvest including fruits and vegetables, you may consider investing in one.
You can dehydrate lamb, fish, meat apart from herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Dehydrators come in either of the shapes, round or square. You can set the herbs flat in the trays in a single layer and stack them to dehydrate. The trays have perforations or small holes for the warm air to circulate evenly.
In spite of being expensive, drying your herbs in a dehydrator is one of the most effective ways of dehydrating herbs.
To dry the parsley leaves in a dehydrator:
- Set and preheat the dehydrator according to the instructions of the manufacturer. Different dehydrators have different settings.
- Spread the fresh parsley in a single layer over the trays, making sure that they do not overlap each other, or some leaves may not dehydrate properly.
- Start dehydrating the parsley as per the instructions. This may take up to a few hours.
Drying Parsley in a Microwave
This is one of the fastest and the most effective way to dry the parsley leaves and yet retain its natural color. In fact, it is as simple as sliding the tray in the microwave, listen to beep beep twice and voila! You are done. You have your freshly harvested herb, preserved and ready for use.
- To dry the herbs in the microwave, lay the leaves in a single layer on the baking sheet lined with wax paper or on the glass tray.
- Cover the herbs with a kitchen towel before you start the microwave on. Arrange the leaves in such a way that the larger leaves are set on the outer side and the smaller ones in the middle, as the microwave gets warm and is the hottest near the edges.
- Depending on the power output the time may vary from one to two minutes.
Start by microwaving on high for 30 seconds. If not done continue for another 20 seconds. If you are using this method for the first time, then it will be a bit of experimenting. Once you know how long does it take in your microwave, then it is only a matter of a few seconds.
To preserve the parsley in an oven, blanch the parsley leaves for 15 to 20 seconds. Immerse the leaves in ice-cold water to prevent it from overcooking from the residual heat.
- Once cooled, arrange the herbs on a baking tray lined with brown paper.
- Arrange the leaves in a single layer without overlapping the leaves or clumping the leaves in a single place.
- Place the tray in the oven and set it in the lowest heat setting so that you do not burn the herb in the drying process.
- It should take anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to dry completely, depending on the humidity and the altitude of the place you are living in.
- Keep a check on the herbs.
- You will know your herbs are ready when you can easily crumble the leaves with your fingers.
- Take the dried stalks of parsley out from the oven.
- Once cool, remove and crush to store away for later use.
Tips to Store Dried Parsley to Retain Freshness
- Always store your dried herbs away from sunlight, in a cool dry and dark place.
- Make sure that the containers you are storing in containers with an airtight lid.
- When storing, ensure that the containers are also clean and moisture-free. If preserved properly, the parsley remains aromatic even after 6 to 8 months.
- It is best to use up the dried parsley with 6 months as after that it starts losing its strong aroma.
Some FAQs about Drying Parsley
Q.1 How much fresh parsley is equals to dried?
Ans: If a recipe calls for fresh parsley you want to substitute it with 1/3 of that amount in dried herbs. So for 1 Tablespoon of fresh parsley, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon of dried parsley.
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Equals How Much Dried Parsley. One rule of thumb says 1 tsp dry equals 1 tbsp fresh. There are 4 tbsp in cup fresh so you would need 4 tsp dry.
Q.2 How to freeze dry fresh parsley?
Ans: This is quite an easy tip to preserve your parsley leaves and use it in summers. Just wash the parsley leaves, and either spin them in a salad spinner and/or dry with a paper towel. Next, mince the parsley and put it in a container or freezer bag, and freeze. You can also try this method to preserve fresh basil or cilantro leaves.
Which method are you going to use to dry your parsley? You can also dry other herbs that are growing in your indoor garden, like rosemary, basil, cilantro, peppermint and many more, in the same manner.