Parsley is a hardy biennial herb, meaning that it goes to seed in it's second year. Typically, it starts to bolt in the springtime as temperatures warm up; it puts it's energy into producing gangly, woody stems and see heads, instead of its tasty emerald leaves. And like clockwork, that's exactly what happened to my abundant overwintered parsley. Instead of cutting it down and composting it, I took off the best sprigs so that I could dehydrate them for future use. I ended up packing a whole salad spinner full of nice looking sprigs.
Making dried parsley is easier than you think. You can dry leftover parsley that you buy at the store, or, better yet, dry your own homegrown organic parsley from your garden! The taste and colour difference is striking. You will certainly notice it right away.
You can make your own in only a few easy steps:
1) Wash your parsley and pat dry with a tea towel to remove some of the surface moisture.
2) Remove any larger stems.
3) Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet into an oven on the dehydrate setting (or as low as possible, around 150 degrees).
4) Check parsley after an hour. If it easily crunches and crumbles between your fingers, it is ready. If not, check it in this manner after every half hour.
5) Gently scrunch the parsley by closing it in your palm. Don't overdo it or you'll end up with dust.
6) Let it cool to room temperature.
7) Seal in sandwich bag with air removed, or in air-tight container.
Voila! Easy peasy! And there you have it. Dried parsley at home. If you went through the trouble if growing this versatile herb at home, you definitely don't want to waste it. Dried parsley will last for months and hopefully you will have fresh parsley growing by the time you run out.