Parsley may not be as delicate as herbs like cilantro or basil, but it is still considered one of the tender herbs. Its shelf life can be very short if it is not stored properly; however, the right storage methods can help you to keep your parsley usable for weeks or even months.
Store upright in refrigerator
One of the easiest and most effective ways to store parsley is upright in the refrigerator. You will need a mason jar or other vessel that you can use like a vase. Snip the ends of the parsley stems off and place them in the jar along with about an inch of water. Place a zip lock bag over the tops of the parsley and over the mouth of the jar. The water will provide your parsley with moisture and the bag will protect it from the dry refrigerated air.
Another option is to use a quart container into which you can fit the whole bunch and that you can seal tightly. This minimizes the risk of spills in your refrigerator. The upright storage method can keep your parsley fresh for up to three weeks. Remember to change the water if it discolors before you use up all of the herb.
Roll up in paper towels
After you have washed the parsley, lay it on a bed of damp paper towels. Roll the herbs up and place them into a zip lock bag for storage in the refrigerator. The paper towels will provide the moisture that the parsley needs to retain its freshness.
There are various ways to dry parsley, each of which comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. One of the most efficient involves the use of a food dehydrator. Set your food dehydrator to the temperature recommended for herbs by the appliance’s manufacturer. Spread the parsley sprigs on the trays in a single layer with no overlapping as this can hinder the drying process. Note that it can take up to four hours to dry parsley in a dehydrator.
If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can use your oven to dry parsley. Simply set your oven to 175 degrees. You do not want it to be much hotter than this or you will burn the parsley. Layer the sprigs on a cookie sheet. As when using the food dehydrator, you want to avoid overlapping the leaves. Crack the oven door so that air flows through the oven and dry the parsley for about 45 minutes or until crumbly.
To dry parsley in a microwave, place the sprigs on a paper plate and microwave on high for two minutes. Following this, you will want to microwave the herb in 30-second increments until it is completely dry.
You can also dry parsley using the oldest heat source: the sun. You will need to try this on a day when the temperature is expected to be at least 85 degrees with lots of sunshine. The humidity should also be less than 60 percent. Layer the parsley sprigs on a cookie sheet and place them in a spot that gets direct sunlight for several hours. You will want to turn the sprigs regularly to ensure even exposure on both sides. Depending on factors like the amount of sunlight and the humidity, drying parsley like this can a few hours or a few days.
You can also air dry your parsley by hanging a bundle of sprigs in a location with dry, moving air. Good locations include attics and sheds.
The easiest way to freeze parsley is to use a freezer bag. Place the sprigs in the bottom of the bag and press to squeeze out as much air as possible. Roll the bag up and seal before securing it with a rubber band and placing it in the freezer.