Drying and Storing Parsley
Parsley is widely used as a spice and garnish. Fresh parsley is the most flavorful, but you can only store it for a maximum of about 2 weeks. Freezing parsley is a common method of storing it for a longer period of 5 to 6 months. By drying parsley, you can use it for up to 1 year. A common drawback of most methods of drying parsley is that it will lose some of its flavor. However, the dried version is used much more, because it is available any time of the year and will last a long time if stored properly.
There are a few ways in which you can dry parsley. Start by washing the leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt. After washing, spread the leaves on some paper towels. Pat the leaves dry. If the leaves are moist or wet, they may be susceptible to mold or fungus during the drying process.
Solar drying is a very common method of drying parsley or other foods. Check the weather forecast and make sure there is no chance of rain for a few days before plucking the parsley. Once the parsley is ready for drying, spread it out in a thin layer on a flat tray or a plastic sheet. If using a plastic sheet, weigh it down on the corners. You can cover the parsley with a thin cloth or paper towels. Be on the watch for any cloudiness, in which case you must bring the sheet or tray indoors.
You can also air-dry parsley indoors, by tying a few stems together and hanging them upside down from a nail or rack. Avoid moist, humid places like the bathroom or kitchen. The garage or a shed are ideal for drying herbs. Inspect the leaves regularly for any signs of mold.
Preheat your oven to 200º C. Spread the parsley leaves on a flat baking tray. Once the oven is hot, turn it off, and place the baking tray inside. Leave the parsley leaves in the oven for a few hours, and then check for dryness. If needed, repeat the process. If the leaves are almost dry, you can just bake them in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes. Be careful with this method, to avoid burning the leaves.
Dry Using a Food Dehydrator
If you have a food dehydrator, you can use this method for drying your parsley. Spread the parsley leaves on a rack, and load it in the food dehydrator. Inspect the leaves every couple of hours, and remove when crumbly. You can also use a similar approach if you have a dehumidifier, though the drying process will be slower.
Storing Dry Parsley
You must store dry parsley carefully, or it will lose its flavor. When the herb is ready for storage, wash and dry your hands thoroughly, and then crumble the dry leaves slightly. Discard the stems, and store the parsley in small air-tight containers.