With all the rain that fell here in Northern California, the herbs that survived the winter have exploded! Last year, I waited a little too long, and my parsley bolted before I could savor a single leaf. Rude, nature, rude. This year, February or not, I decided to make the most of my parsley before it goes to seed again.
All told, I pulled about three packed cups of stems and leaves from my one plant. I left the young growth for later, and I’ll be revisiting it every couple of days to watch for buds.
Method 1: Drying
This one’s easy. Rinse and dry the parsley, then tie 10-15 stems together with kitchen twine, leaving a long tail. Tie a loop in the tail, and hang it somewhere that gets plenty of airflow, but not a lot of light. Mine is in the kitchen near a north-facing window. It will be ready to crumble in about a month.
Method 2: Freezing
For this, take rinsed and dried parsley, and remove the stems. (Save them for later.) Chop to your preferred texture – I went with halfway between chopped and minced. Then, grab an ice cube tray, and put about a tablespoon (loosely packed) of parsley into each section. Cover with water, and freeze for 24 hours. Store in the ice cube tray, or in a freezer bag until needed.
Method 3: Pesto
This time, I made a sunflower seed pesto, but pesto is gloriously flexible. Pretty much any soft stem herb, and any nut or seed plus a little oil and you’re in business. I was getting toward the end of my trimmings so I didn’t get as much as I would lave liked. You can easily double or triple this recipe if you have more parsley, or want to add in other tender green herbs. This makes a pretty thick pesto, too, so if you prefer yours a little thinner, you may want to thin it out with more oil or a little water.
Makes about 1/2 cup, or 4 servings
- 1 cup (packed) parsley
- 1/4 cup raw, hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- salt to taste
- Remove the stems from the leaves to make a cup of parsley leaves, packed pretty well.
- Add the parsley, garlic, salt, and sunflower seeds to the food processor, and pulse a few times to help chop.
- Add half the olive oil, and all of the lemon juice. Run the processor until everything makes a rough paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly.
- Add the second half of the olive oil, and any extra if necessary. Continue processing until you have a smooth paste.
- Let rest for at least an hour to let the flavors mingle.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze until needed.
*Nutrition Info at the bottom of the post
Method 4: Infusion
Still have all those stems? Use them to infuse vinegar or oil. Choose a neutral flavored oil or vinegar (I went with simple white vinegar), add stems to a jar, and cover. Let rest for at least two weeks. Use in pasta or salad dressings, pickles, or vinegar cocktails.
Good luck with your almost-spring bounty!
Nutrition Info for parsley pesto:
|Amount Per Serving (2 tbsp)|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 18 g||28 %|
|Saturated Fat 2 g||11 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 12 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 82 mg||3 %|
|Potassium 156 mg||4 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 4 g||1 %|
|Dietary Fiber 1 g||5 %|
|Sugars 1 g|
|Protein 2 g||5 %|
|Vitamin A||25 %|
|Vitamin C||42 %|