[dropcap]P[/dropcap]arsley is a popular herb used in all kinds of cooking. You've probably heard of the two most common types of parsley: Italian parsley aka flat leaf parsley and curly leaf parsley. You'll often see the little green leaves as a garnish on your pasta dish. Parsley is notorious for being easy to grow in your vegetable or herb garden. There's nothing better than some fresh parsley added to your meals. If you're ready to learn how to harvest parsley and grow your own parsley plant with the best flavor, check out these gardening tips below.
Plating and Harvesting Parsley
Parsley is biennial, meaning there's new growth after you snip off leaves or seed heads. However, this biennial plant is typically grown as an annual. The growing season runs from Spring through Fall. During its first year, it reaches its full size after the last frost, towards the end of the season, then dies in the second year. We suggest planting a new one each Spring.
Many varieties of parsley grow best in morning sun or partial shade, though parsley also tolerates full sun well. It's best to soak the seeds prior to planting for 24 hours in order to speed up germination. You'll want to sow parsley seeds for about 4-6 weeks before transplanting them outside. During the summer, when the weather is hot, mulch parsley around the base of the plant, to ensure it stays cool.
To keep your parsley growing, you'll need to cut parsley stems at the base and remove flower stalks. Prune dead leaves as needed to keep the plant tidy.
How To Store Parsley
If you're storing parsley for the short term (1-3 days), you can keep it in a vase on the counter with a plastic bag covering the leaves.
If you're storing parsley for longer than 2 days, the refrigerator is a great option. Thoroughly rinse the leaves and pat dry with a paper towel. Save the paper towels and cover your sprigs with the towels in a sealed bag. The parsley will stay good up to 5 days.
Frozen parsley is great if you need it to stay good for up to 6 months. The best way to do this is to cut parsley and add it to an ice cube tray with a little bit of water. While it will retain the flavor, it won't keep its crisp texture.
Dried parsley is great herb to have on hand, similar to dried oregano. You can do it yourself at home, without having to purchase a jar. Hang the washed springs upside-down in a dark and ventilated area. To minimize dust, you can tie a paper bag around the leaves. After about 2 weeks, you can crumble the dry parsley leaves and store in an airtight container.
If you have a food dehydrator you can use this to dry your herbs quickly. Dried herbs will keep for up to 3 years.
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