Parsley, also famous as garden parsley, is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the central and eastern Mediterranean region and often used in American, European, and Middle Eastern cooking. It is a widely cultivated herb, commonly used to levitate the flavour of dishes like soups, salads, and fish recipes. Aside from its many culinary uses, parsley is highly nutritious and has many powerful health benefits. And if you are a regular user, getting fresh parsley can be tough, so preserving it is the only option, and knowing how to dry parsley can save you.
Why is Parsley Healthy?
Parsley is widely used as a herb and as a vegetable and known to have multiple health benefits and is a vital ingredient in most kitchens around the world. A native of the Mediterranean region, it has been used as a herb since ancient times; also used to treat or cure different conditions, including certain allergies, lifestyle disorders etc. In the present day, parsley is used as a herb, as an active ingredient in cooking, and also as a garnishing ingredient. It offers numerous nutritional values and many health benefits. Let’s look at the following possible health benefits that have been linked to consuming parsley.
Benefits of Parsley
- It contains a variety of important essential nutrients, especially for people following a plant-based or vegetarian lifestyle.
- It contains folate, potassium, a variety of vitamins, some amount of protein and fibre; also rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids and is rich in fragrance. These may prevent cell damage and promote longevity when accompanied by a balanced diet.
- Parsley is also beneficial for bone health and protects bones from becoming brittle.
- It contains lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin. These are nutrients essential for our eyes and protecting our vision. With work from home being the new normal, we are bound to use screens all the time. Therefore, a diet that helps protect our eyes becomes essential.
So we know now that parsley is a vital part of a healthy diet and can add flavour, colour and nutrients to our diet. Therefore, it is necessary to include it in our daily meals. While having fresh parsley is the best option, it might not be possible to have fresh parsley at hand every time, and therefore, drying parsley before storing it is the next best option. So here are four ways to know how to dry parsley at home.
1. Air Drying
Bundle the springs into small bunches and loosely tie them using a rubber band. Then, put these bunches onto your clothing rack and allow the air to dry the parsley naturally. After a couple of weeks, the leaves will become brittle, and you can take them down and store them in an airtight container.
2. Sun Drying
Choose to use this method on a warm, sunny day. Take the parsley leaves and spread them over a lined baking sheet on a baking tray. Keep the tray on the window sill or anywhere where it gets enough sunlight. After a few hours, turn the leaves over or just give them a toss to let the other side dry. Parsley will be ready by evening, and you can then store it in an airtight container.
3. Oven Drying
This method requires a bit of preparation. Give the leaves a quick chop and blanch them in boiling water. Transfer the blanched leaves to cold water to stop them from cooking further. Once they are dry, position them on the oven tray and pop them into the oven for 2 to 4 hours. Keep the temperature to a minimum level to avoid burning the herb. Check on the parsley regularly. It is dry enough when you can crumble it with your hands. Store it in an airtight container once it cools down.
4. Using a Dehydrator
This is one of the simplest ways to dry parsley, but it can be a bit expensive. If you always have leftover fruit and vegetables that need drying, you can invest in a dehydrator. Preheat the dehydrator according to the manual instructions and layer the parsley in it. Ensure that the leaves do not overlap. Now, set the dehydrator for as long as instructed, and store it in an airtight container once done.
These were the four steps you can follow on how to dry parsley. For its longevity, ensure that you store the dried parsley in an airtight container and keep it away from heat, or use glass or mason jars to store it. You can use this dried parsley for about a year if stored well. So dry the parsley with the above-shared tips and enjoy it with your meals.
Also Read: Parsley is just one of the many herbs. Here are some more herbs and ways to use them.