There are 5 main different ways to dry parsley, some are quicker than others. The process of drying preserves the leaves, but slightly weakens the flavor, so you may well need to add more dried parsley than you would fresh.
- Dry parsley in the microwave for the quickest process. Just make sure to keep an eye on it.
- Air dry parsley by hanging in loose bundles in a cool dark area for around 2-3 weeks.
- Sun dry parsley on a sunny day. Do not leave on a metal tray but use a wooden block.
- Using an oven to dry parsley can take around 2-3 hours on the lowest setting.
- Use the Herbal setting on your dehydrator. This can dry parsley to a nice crunch in a stable environment.
Drying herbs like parsley mean you can enjoy the flavor all year round. But also you can make up your own herb mixes. Which is great for convenience and cost effectiveness.
1. Using a Microwave To Dry Parsley
- Wait until mid morning to pick your parsley, this stops the sun draining the essential oils from the leaves, but avoids morning moisture.
- Trim the stalks and keep mostly leaves and the thinner stalks. Save the fresh stalks for a bouquet garni if you like.
- Take two pieces of paper towel and sandwich the leaves and smaller stalks.
- Set the microwave to high and place the paper and parsley sandwich on a plate, let it run for one minute.
- Check on the parsley and see if it is brittle to the touch. The leaves may need a little longer.
- Only give them 10-15 second blasts. Any longer and they will go too dry. This is the biggest problem with using the fast microwave drying method.
- Once dry and cool enough to handle, remove the parsley from the paper and finely chop.
- Pour into an airtight glass jar. Store in a cool dark cupboard.
2. How To Preserve Parsley By Air Drying
- Mid morning you will cut the parsley stems, keeping them nice and long. Remember that parsley is a biennial so regular harvesting is essential to healthy growth!
- Use an elastic band to tie a handful of stems together. The key here is to keep the bunch loose. Air needs to circulate to avoid rotting and dampness to build up. I am not giving an exact number of stems as our parsley stalks vary so much with how full they are.
- Use a paperclip inside of the rubber band to make a hook. This just makes it easier to attach to a suitable hanger. Even a clothes hanger will be perfect.
- Choose a location that is not dark, but that doesn’t receive hours of direct sunlight as this will fade the color of the parsley before it has dried. You also want air movement to keep the damp away.
- After around 2-3 weeks check on your bunch of drying parsley and test the leaves. If they are still pliable and not brittle, leave for a few more weeks.
- When the leaves are dry the parsley is ready to come down.
- There is flavor in the stalks, but people tend to find them too woody once dried. So you can use them for a sachet d’epices but they are not really suitable for adding to a dish. Cut them away and finely chop the leaves.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool dark cupboard or store room.
Parsley packs a real punch in terms of nutrients and health benefits, even when dried. So use liberally in many dishes!
3. How To Use An Oven To Dry Parsley
For this method you will be in or around the kitchen the whole time. Do not leave herbs drying in an oven and go out as they can over dry and you will have lost that crop.
- Cut your parsley in the middle of the morning, before the afternoon heat has had a chance to burn off the aroma but after the morning dew has evaporated.
- Remove the thicker stalks before chopping the leaves and thinner stems.
- Put into boiling water and then almost immediately remove (perhaps around 5-10 seconds in water) Then plunge into iced water to stop the parsley leaves from cooking.
- Line an oven proof dish with baking paper. Laying your chopped parsley out on the paper evenly to dry.
- Set the oven to the lowest temperature and leave the oven door slightly ajar when the tray of parsley goes in. This way the moisture will leave the oven and not cause the parsley to steam cook.
- Depending on how thinly you chopped the parsley and how well watered it is, this should take around 2-3 hours. You can use an aga or an oven for this process.
- Check that the parsley leaves are dry by seeing how brittle they are. If they are almost crumbly to the touch, then they are done. If not keep them in the oven a little longer.
- When they are dried the parsley leaves will need a slightly stronger chop to a fine texture.
- Store in an airtight container and keep in a dark, cool cupboard for up to 2 years.
4. Pros & Cons To Using A Dehydrator To Dry Parsley
- A big pro is that a dehydrator uses warm air to gently dry out your herbs, parsley retains it’s flavor and aroma much better in this way.
- Another pro in favor of the dehydrator is the convenience. Simply set it to the recommended timings and heat for herbs and parsley and it will work its magic.
- The biggest con against using a dehydrator is the initial outlay and if you are not intending on using for various projects it can be a solid investment.
- Another con is if you don’t lay the parsley out evenly and make sure to remove woody stalks first, it can really impede the drying process. Dehydrators can be effective if you use them correctly though.
- For us we love the smell of herbs drying in the oven or dehydrator so this is a real bonus for drying parsley, it sort of freshens the whole house.
- Dried herbs can be immediately crushed in a mortar and pestle and stored in air tight containers. A short timescale from harvest to storage.
Using The Sun To Dry Herbs
This can always be tricky due to the climate. We live in the UK and you would like to think that Summer time meant sunshine, not storms and heavy rainfall. Coinciding a sunny day with a bumper crop can be a fine art. So this is for those of you lucky enough to live in a climate with predicable weather!
- Cut the stems early in the morning, shaking off any wildlife that may have found a home amongst the leaves.
- Use a wooden chopping block or any other food safe wooden board, we also have a muslin cloth screen which is ideal for this, but it is an investment, well worth making only if you are going to be drying various herbs and flowers through the year.
- Set it out in a sunny spot and lay the parsley stems out in full sunshine to dry.
- Turn them through the day and make sure to follow the sun, otherwise it may give an uneven dry and you will have to carry on to a second day.
- We find that this method has taken several days of in at night and out in the morning. It is very inconsistent and to be honest we avoid it now preferring to air dry, or dry in the oven.
We love to grow our own herbs and use them all year. You can grow parsley indoors on a windowsill successfully. You may have a much larger crop growing seasonally outside, so this is a perfect way to use up any excess during the Summer months, whilst leaving enough for the Winter months to act as a fresh garnish.
Once you can dry your own herbs effectively you will save money and be able to create some unique herb blends and mixes for your family.