Drying fresh parsley is an easy way to preserve it for storage. If you have an abundance of home-grown parsley in your herb patch at the end of summer, or left over store-bought fresh parsley, try drying it and storing it for future use. It is easier than you think!
Drying Parsley at Home
Parsley leaves are mature when they achieve that dark green color. You can gather leaves from the plant every week or so, as they mature, since the leaves are produced continuously for many weeks. As a bonus, this encourages the plant to produce more leaves, and delays the flowering process.
The intention of drying herbs is to preserve them by removing the water, but without losing the natural oils that give it its flavor. Parsley, like most herbs, is best dried naturally, without using artificial heat. This will help to retain the natural oils better.
Raising the temperature, such as trying to dry herbs in the oven may dry them quicker, but will lead to the natural oils that give the herb its flavor being lost, and the leaves becoming fragile and brown.
The Best Method to Dry Fresh Parsley
If you have a dehydrator then this can be used for drying parsley, however it is not necessary. If you don’t have a dehydrator, the best way to dry fresh parsley is either:
- Dry between sheets of paper or parchment, or
- Dry hanging bunches
1.How to dry parsley on paper
All you need to do is lay the parsley in a single layer between two sheets of parchment and leave in a warm dry position undisturbed until it has dried out.
The type of paper you use is important, coated baking papers or waxed papers will not work. Parchment paper is ideal for drying herbs, but you can also use paper bags, or paper towels. Anything that will help to absorb the moisture in the leaves.
It is important that the air can circulate while the parsley is drying, so don’t cover it with anything other than the parchment paper.
When the parsley has been spread on the drying paper, it needs to be placed in a warm dry location until the water is gone. I have a spot on top of my kitchen cupboards that is ideal. It is nice and warm all day long because of being up near the ceiling where the warm air rises, and they won’t be disturbed as they are up high out of the way of our daily family chaos.
2. Drying Parsley by hanging bunches
If you have a lot of parsley to dry, then hanging it in bunches is a good technique to use.
All you need to do is cut the bunches of parsley, and tie them with twine. Then hang the bunches upside down in a warm place where they wont be disturbed. I find up high in my kitchen is an ideal spot for this.
You will likely find that it takes a little longer to dry the parsley using this method, but if you have more than one tray’s worth to dry then using the method above isn’t really practical for most of us.
Drying Parsley: FAQ & Tips
Yes you can. Air drying is the best way to dry parsley. Either hang the parsley in bunches in a warm dry place, or spread parsley leaves between sheets of paper or parchment to dry.
Drying parsley in the microwave is not recommended – raising the heat to dry herbs in a microwave or regular oven destroys the flavor of dried herbs by allowing the natural oils to evaporate. Dry parsley naturally whenever possible.
Yes you can. If you have a large amount of parsley to dry this is a great way to do it. It may take slightly longer than drying flat in paper, but is easier for bulk amounts.
The easiest way to preserve fresh parsley is to dry it, either with a dehydrator if you have one, or naturally in air (by hanging or in paper). You can also preserve it in oil or vinegar.
How to Dry Fresh Parsley – Step-by-step guide
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- Large tray or baking sheet
- Baking parchment or paper towels
- Scissors, shears or a knife
- Harvest the parsley - cut the parsley when the leaves are mature (dark green).
- Wash the parsley leaves thoroughly. Gently shake off excess water and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Prepare the drying surface - line a large tray, baking sheet or other flat surface with parchment paper or paper towels.
- Cut parsley leaves from the main stalk, and spread them out in a single layer on the prepared drying surface.
- Place another layer of parchment or paper towels over the parsley leaves.
- Place the tray in a warm dry area where it will not be disturbed, and leave parsley to dry. This will take a few days - after 4 days start to check daily to see when the leaves have lost all their moisture.
- When the parsley leaves have completely dried out (they will crunch rather than bend when pressed), remove from the parchment, chop as finely as desired, and store in an air tight jar or pot.