How to air dry parsley

How to air dry parsley

Can you use dried parsley flakes as a substitute for fresh parsley? Most chefs and culinary experts agree that it is best not to substitute dried parsley for fresh parsley as the flavor of this common kitchen herb changes quite significantly when it is dried.

Fortunately, most large grocery stores sell fresh parsley year-round, and you can also grow your own parsley microgreens at home, even in winter (for more information, check out the article How to Grow Parsley Microgreens Indoors).

However, in case of an emergency, you can of course resort to dried parsley provided that you use the appropriate “fresh to dried parsley” conversion ratio. To substitute dried parsley flakes for chopped fresh parsley, use the following conversion ratio as a general guideline:

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley equal 1 teaspoon of dried parsley

As mentioned earlier, it is best not to substitute dried parsley for its fresh counterpart if you are able to source some fresh parsley sprigs. In case fresh parsley is simply not available and you are hesitant to use parsley flakes as a substitute, consider using fresh chervil, celery microgreens or cilantro as a substitute. All of these herbs are related to parsley and can be succesfully used as a substitute for fresh parsley in many recipes.

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How to air dry parsley

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How to air dry parsley

If you grow your own parsley at home, you can often be looking at a glut over the growing season. Drying parsley for use over the winter is a great way to preserve those fresh flavors for year-round use.

We've rounded up three easy methods for you to try, suitable for both flat or curly-leaf parsley.

What You’ll Need

Tools and Supplies

  • Garden twine or string
  • Dehydrator
  • Scissors
  • Baking tray
  • Storage jars

Ingredients

  • Fresh parsley (homegrown or store-bought)

Instructions

How to Dry Parsley in the Oven

How to air dry parsley

Oliver Strewe / Getty Images

Using your oven to dry parsley is one of the quickest methods, and it also retains maximum flavor. You will need to keep a close eye on the parsley as it dries, so set aside a few hours and make sure to check how the parsley looks at regular intervals.

Place Parsley Leaves on a Baking Tray

Pick each washed and completely dried parsley leaf away from the stem and lay them out flat on a baking tray. Be sure to leave space between the leaves.

Even-sized leaves will dry at a similar rate, so if you have any leaves that are larger than average, chop them into smaller pieces, roughly the same size as the other leaves.

Turn Your Oven on Low Heat

Use the lowest heat setting possible. Place the tray of parsley leaves onto the middle shelf.

Most parsley leaves will take between 30 minutes and 2 hours to dry completely. Check the leaves every 10 minutes and adjust the time accordingly.

Test Leaves and Check if They’re Dry

To check if the leaves are completely dry, take one out of the oven and allow to cool. Crumble it between your fingers. If it feels crunchy and easily breaks into smaller pieces, then the leaves are ready.

You can dry the parsley stems if you want to use them too, but as they’re tougher than the stems and contain more water, they’ll take longer to dry. If you do want to dry them, remove the leaves after they’re dry and continue drying the stems.

Store Leaves for Later Use

Once the parsley leaves are dry, remove them from the oven and allow to cool. Crumble them into smaller pieces with your fingers, or cut them into pieces with scissors. Other options include using a pestle and mortar, or a food processor.

Glass jars work well for storage. Keep your dried parsley in a cool and dark place when you're not using it.

How to Dry Parsley in a Food Dehydrator

How to air dry parsley

Ekaterina79 / Getty Images

If you have a food dehydrator, this is a great way to dry your parsley for storage while also preserving its vibrant color and intense flavor. This method does take quite a long time, but you can dry parsley at the same time as other herbs or foods.

Preheat Your Dehydrator

Set your dehydrator to around 95F. If your dehydrator doesn't list specific temperatures then choose the lowest setting.

Place Parsley Leaves on a Dehydrator Tray

Lay out your washed and dried parsley leaves on a dehydrator tray. Place the tray in the dehydrator and set a timer.

Depending on your dehydrator, it may take eight or more hours for the parsley leaves to fully dry.

Test if the Leaves Are Dry

To check if your leaves are ready, take one out of the dehydrator, allow to cool, and do the crumble test as described above. If all your leaves are the same size, they should all be dry at the same time.

If you're also drying the parsley stems, they will need more time to dry than the leaves. Remove the leaves and place the stems back in your dehydrator to continue drying. Repeat the crumble test to check when the stalks are dry.

Store Your Parsley

Once your parsley leaves are cool, you can prepare them for storage. You may decide to crumble them into small pieces with your fingers, or chop them up with scissors.

If you're preparing a lot of parsley, then quicker options include using a pestle and mortar, or a food processor.

Glass jars work best for storage. The best spot is somewhere cool and dry.

How to Air Dry Parsley

How to air dry parsley

Mizina / Getty Images

Air-drying parsley doesn’t use any electricity or gas, and although it takes longer than other methods, the end result will be fairly similar.

Tie Your Parsley Into Small Bundles

Gather your stalks of washed parsley into a small bundle and tie them together with some garden twine or string. Make sure you tie them together tightly, as the stalks will start to shrink as they dry out.

If you have a lot of parsley to dry, split it into separate bundles, with a diameter of no more than half an inch per bundle.

Hang Bundles Up to Dry

Hang your bundles of parsley in a cool, dry, and dark spot. Check the bundles every few days to see if they’ve dried out. To test, see if a leaf will crumble easily between your fingers.

In areas with high humidity, air drying can take a long time. In that case, oven drying or using a dehydrator may be a better choice.

Put Dry Parsley Into Jars

Once your parsley leaves are dry, you can put them in jars for storage. Crumbling them into small pieces is an easy method, but if you have a lot of parsley then using a food processor or pestle and mortar will be a faster option.

Keep your dried parsley somewhere cool and dry, preferably out of direct sunlight.

How to air dry parsley

There are several methods used to dry parsley for storing. The most popular options are air drying or sun drying. For fast results, an oven may be used when you want to dry parsley for cooking. If the herb is to be used for its medicinal purposes, the heat of the oven can destroy many of its benefits, however.

No matter what method you choose, start with freshly picked herbs before drying. Flat leaf parsley is typically preferred because curly parsley tends to lose all flavor in the drying process; freezing is usually better for this type. Fresh picked herbs should be gently rinsed and patted dry before the drying process begins.

Air drying is one of the easiest and most foolproof ways to dry parsley as long as you have a hot, dry room available. In most instances, an attic, garage, or garden shed are good options because there is typically less moisture in these rooms. If you run a dehumidifier in your house, you can dry parsley inside. For this method, create bunches of freshly picked, clean parsley and tie them together with a string. Hang them in a warm, dry room and keep them there until the leaves and stems are dry and brittle to the touch. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the room, this can take anywhere from a few days to a week.

It is also possible to dry parsley in the sun. Place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and spread the parsley out in a single layer over the rack. Put the parsley outside on a dry, sunny morning when you are not expecting any rain for the next several days. Leave the parsley outside to dry, turning it over once a day. To protect the herb from dew accumulation at night, take the parsley inside at sunset and place it back outside the next day. Depending on the weather, this method will typically take two to five days.

If you are in a hurry or expecting very wet weather for the foreseeable future, you can dry parsley in the oven. Simply spread the herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in a 180° Fahrenheit (82° Celsius) oven for two to four hours. You may want to adjust this temperature depending on whether your oven runs hot or cold.

During this process, check on the parsley every half hour to ensure it is not burning. Once the leaves and stems are dry, crumbly, and before they turn black, remove the parsley and allow it to cool. While this method is fine for cooking with parsley, the high heat of the oven can destroy the medicinal properties of this herb. In this case, sun or air drying is preferred.

Food preservation, especially preserving fresh herbs can sometimes be tricky, but drying parsley is so easy. If you use parsley a lot in your cooking, you need to learn how to dry parsley!

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Learning to dry parsley will help you have home-grown parsley to use for your cooking all year round! It is also great to get some surplus built up (I just throw it in a mason jar) to put in your food storage. We dried our parsley like this last summer and just barely ran out, so it is time to refill the parsley jar in my spice rack again. It’s so easy!

How to Dry Parsley

How to air dry parsley

Preserve fresh garden herbs

  • After you pick your fresh parsley, wash it, let it air dry (you can speed up the drying by blotting lightly it with a paper towel if you like), and then place it in a paper bag.

How to air dry parsley

  • Fold over the top of the paper bag, lay it on its side, and then just let the parsley dry for 10-14 days. (I don’t recommend just drying it on the counter without the bag. The paper bag will keep dust from settling on it.)

When it is ready, it will look something like this:

How to air dry parsley

  • Once the parsley has completely dried out, remove the stems and break the parsley up into little bits.

How to air dry parsley

  • Once I have dried and prepared the parsley, I just refill the spice jars on my spice jar (love that thing-it’s so handy having almost all of my spices right there next to the stove and it comes with FIVE YEARS of free spice refills, which comes in handy for the spices that you don’t grow in your own garden!).
  • Place the dried parsley in the spice jar and seal it with the lid (if you have a lot, a mason jar works great, too!).

How to air dry parsley

Now wasn’t that easy? We grew more parsley this year than last, so I think we will have a little more surplus for food storage.

How to air dry parsley

Pssstt…We have also used this tip for drying fennel seed (which is a MUST in my yummy marinara) and cilantro. Having homegrown dried herbs on hand is such a great addition to whatever you cook. Just remember that dried herbs have a bit less flavor than fresh herbs, so you need to use a bit more!

How to air dry parsley

Drying herbs like parsley mean you can enjoy the flavor all year round. But also you can make up your own herb mixes. Which is great for convenience and cost effectiveness. Parsley is the perfect windowsill herb and will grow without full sunlight all day, the dappled shade of your kitchen window is just fine!

1. Using a Microwave To Dry Parsley

  1. Wait until mid morning to pick your parsley, this stops the sun draining the essential oils from the leaves, but avoids morning moisture.
  2. Trim the stalks and keep mostly leaves and the thinner stalks. Save the fresh stalks for a bouquet garni if you like.
  3. Take two pieces of paper towel and sandwich the leaves and smaller stalks.
  4. Set the microwave to high and place the paper and parsley sandwich on a plate, let it run for one minute.
  5. Check on the parsley and see if it is brittle to the touch. The leaves may need a little longer.
  6. Only give them 10-15 second blasts. Any longer and they will go too dry. This is the biggest problem with using the fast microwave drying method.
  7. Once dry and cool enough to handle, remove the parsley from the paper and finely chop.
  8. Pour into an airtight glass jar. Store in a cool dark cupboard.

2. How To Preserve Parsley By Air Drying

  1. Mid morning you will cut the parsley stems, keeping them nice and long. Remember that parsley is a biennial so regular harvesting is essential to healthy growth!
  2. Use an elastic band to tie a handful of stems together. The key here is to keep the bunch loose. Air needs to circulate to avoid rotting and dampness to build up. I am not giving an exact number of stems as our parsley stalks vary so much with how full they are.
  3. Use a paperclip inside of the rubber band to make a hook. This just makes it easier to attach to a suitable hanger. Even a clothes hanger will be perfect.
  4. Choose a location that is not dark, but that doesn’t receive hours of direct sunlight as this will fade the color of the parsley before it has dried. You also want air movement to keep the damp away.
  5. After around 2-3 weeks check on your bunch of drying parsley and test the leaves. If they are still pliable and not brittle, leave for a few more weeks.
  6. When the leaves are dry the parsley is ready to come down.
  7. There is flavor in the stalks, but people tend to find them too woody once dried. So you can use them for a sachet d’epices but they are not really suitable for adding to a dish. Cut them away and finely chop the leaves.
  8. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark cupboard or store room.

Parsley packs a real punch in terms of nutrients and health benefits, even when dried. So use liberally in many dishes!

3. How To Use An Oven To Dry Parsley

How to air dry parsley

Blanch the Parsley before oven drying

  1. Cut your parsley in the middle of the morning, before the afternoon heat has had a chance to burn off the aroma but after the morning dew has evaporated.
  2. Remove the thicker stalks before chopping the leaves and thinner stems.
  3. Put into boiling water and then almost immediately remove (perhaps around 5-10 seconds in water) Then plunge into iced water to stop the parsley leaves from cooking.
  4. Line an oven proof dish with baking paper. Laying your chopped parsley out on the paper evenly to dry.
  5. Set the oven to the lowest temperature and leave the oven door slightly ajar when the tray of parsley goes in. This way the moisture will leave the oven and not cause the parsley to steam cook.
  6. Depending on how thinly you chopped the parsley and how well watered it is, this should take around 2-3 hours. You can use an aga or an oven for this process.
  7. Check that the parsley leaves are dry by seeing how brittle they are. If they are almost crumbly to the touch, then they are done. If not keep them in the oven a little longer.
  8. When they are dried the parsley leaves will need a slightly stronger chop to a fine texture.
  9. Store in an airtight container and keep in a dark, cool cupboard for up to 2 years.

4. Pros & Cons To Using A Dehydrator To Dry Parsley

  1. A big pro is that a dehydrator uses warm air to gently dry out your herbs, parsley retains it’s flavor and aroma much better in this way.
  2. Another pro in favor of the dehydrator is the convenience. Simply set it to the recommended timings and heat for herbs and parsley and it will work its magic.
  3. The biggest con against using a dehydrator is the initial outlay and if you are not intending on using for various projects it can be a solid investment.
  4. Another con is if you don’t lay the parsley out evenly and make sure to remove woody stalks first, it can really impede the drying process. Dehydrators can be effective if you use them correctly though.
  5. For us we love the smell of herbs drying in the oven or dehydrator so this is a real bonus for drying parsley, it sort of freshens the whole house.
  6. Dried herbs can be immediately crushed in a mortar and pestle and stored in air tight containers. A short timescale from harvest to storage. For a full guide on drying herbs in a dehydrator we have put together a free guide available here.

Using The Sun To Dry Herbs

  1. Cut the stems early in the morning, shaking off any wildlife that may have found a home amongst the leaves.
  2. Use a wooden chopping block or any other food safe wooden board, we also have a muslin cloth screen which is ideal for this, but it is an investment, well worth making only if you are going to be drying various herbs and flowers through the year.
  3. Set it out in a sunny spot and lay the parsley stems out in full sunshine to dry.
  4. Turn them through the day and make sure to follow the sun, otherwise it may give an uneven dry and you will have to carry on to a second day.
  5. We find that this method has taken several days of in at night and out in the morning. It is very inconsistent and to be honest we avoid it now preferring to air dry, or dry in the oven.

What Next?

We love to grow our own herbs and use them all year. You can grow parsley indoors on a windowsill successfully. You may have a much larger crop growing seasonally outside, so this is a perfect way to use up any excess during the Summer months, whilst leaving enough for the Winter months to act as a fresh garnish.

Once you can dry your own herbs effectively you will save money and be able to create some unique herb blends and mixes for your family.

Drying herbs can be a simple way to maximize their usefulness — herbs have a stronger flavor dried than fresh, and they keep for much longer. Parsley is a relatively robust herb that can stand up to drying by air, by dehydrator or even in the microwave.

Preparing the Parsley

Pick the fresh parsley early in the morning, if you grow your own. The leaves are most flavorful before the sun heats the plant too much.

Wash the stalks gently in cool water. Shake them and then carefully towel them as dry as possible. This speeds up the dehydration process.

Remove any damaged or discolored leaves.

Air Drying

This simple, low-tech system requires no special equipment but takes considerably longer than the other methods.

Tie the parsley into small bunches. The smaller the bunches, the more air can circulate around the leaves and the shorter the drying time.

Hang the parsley bunches upside down in a dry area. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, drying herbs outdoors can leach some of their color and flavor, so hang them indoors if possible.

Check the leaves for dryness after several days by crumbling them between your fingers. When the leaves crumble easily, the parsley is finished drying.

Drying in a Dehydrator

If you have a food dehydrator, you can use it to dry parsley and other herbs. Check the instructions for your model for specific drying times and safety guidelines.

Heat the dehydrator to the setting the instructions recommend for drying herbs. This is probably the lowest setting, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the parsley in single layers on one or more of the dehydrator trays. Place the trays inside the dehydrator per your model’s instructions.

Dry the parsley in the dehydrator until the leaves crumble easily between your fingers. Depending on the model, this may require anywhere from 2 hours to 24.

Drying in the Microwave

For smaller quantities of parsley or if you don’t have a dehydrator, a microwave can do the trick just as well and in a fraction of the time.

Test-dry a stalk or two of parsley to determine the right drying time, as microwaves vary. Place one or two stalks on a plate, and microwave them for 20 seconds. Remove them from the microwave and allow them to cool. Check the leaves by crumbling them between your fingers. If they don’t crumble easily, return them to the microwave for another 10 seconds, and repeat the process until the leaves are fully dry.

Spread the rest of the parsley on the plate in a single layer, and return the plate to the microwave. Cook the parsley for the total length of time the test stalks needed to dry. Remove the plate from the microwave.

Allow the leaves to cool, then check them for dryness. Return them to the microwave for additional cooking in 10-second increments if necessary.

Storing the Parsley

For the longest-lasting, most flavorful parsley, store the dried stalks and leaves whole in a dark-colored jar. Keep the jar in a cool storage area, and use the parsley within six to 12 months. Crumble leaves immediately before use for the freshest taste.

These days I am preserving herbs, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and store them for long use. I’m learning a lot about air fryer cooking, how to toast/roast herbs, nuts in the air fryer, and how to use them to make different dishes, spices, and many more. It’s a whole new world, but it’s becoming easier, helpful. Drying your own herbs is a great way to preserve it. These dehydrated herbs also make great spice blends. It is one of my more frequently reached for herbs when cooking in the winter.

Video Recipe:

Before you, dehydrate/roast/toast anything in the air fryer, make sure you wash all of your foods thoroughly. Pat them dry afterward before placing them in the Air Fryer. Drying herbs of all kinds seem to be the best method of storage I have tried. They take up relatively little space and are easy to use once dry.

Why you should roast/dehydrate Parsley in the Air Fryer?

Getting store-bought dried Parsley may seem convenient but they come at a cost to our health and budget. Here’s why I love dehydrating Parsley in the Air Fryer:

How to air dry parsley

I love herbs! Don’t you? What starts as a couple small plants quickly turns into a wonderful smelling herb jungle! I’ve talked a lot about preserving herbs on the blog. I’ve showed you how to dry herbs indoors, how to dry oregano in 1 hour, how to dry mint and how to dry basil in the oven, but today I’m talking parsley! This is the quick microwave method but here’s how to dry parsley in the oven if you prefer that.

We grow both curly leaf and Italian flat-leaf parsley in our garden bed. Besides smelling great, it’s often used as a garnish or to add flavor to pasta, soups, salad and fish dishes. It also makes a delicous tea (recipe coming soon!). Although I love fresh parsley, I’m usually left with too much parsley from the garden.

I use parsley often in recipes year-round, so whatever parsley I don’t use fresh, I dry to keep in my cabinet for recipes and the occassional cup of parsley tea. This dried parsley easily lasts me until the next gardening season where we begin this cycle all over again!

Because I’m all about saving time in the kitchen, I wanted to share with you a super fast way to dry parsley in the microwave- it seriously only takes a minute.

How to air dry parsley

How to Dry Parsley in the Microwave

Pick parsley from the garden. I usually just shake my parsley to remove dirt and debris as it’s not very dirty. If yours is dirty though, you’ll want to run it under water and allow to dry completely before moving on to the next step. I recommend letting it sit on a towel overnight to dry.

How to air dry parsley

If your parsley is on the tall side, chop off the stems so it’s mostly just leaves. This will allow it to fit on a plate.

How to air dry parsley

Place paper towel down on plate, laying out parsley in a single layer so they try not to overlap. Add another piece of paper towel on top to cover the parsley.

How to air dry parsley

PLEASE BE CAREFUL IN THE NEXT STEP. STAY THERE AND WATCH YOUR PARSLEY. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED IN THE MICROWAVE.

Put your parsley in the microwave and microwave for 1 minute. After 1 minute, check your parsley and see if it’s dried. Most likely it will need more time. If so, do increments of 10 seconds. Microwave for 10 seconds, check. Not done? Do another 10 seconds. My parsley usually takes 1:30-1:50. Repeat until all parsley is dried, changing your paper towel as needed.

How to air dry parsley

Remove parsley from the microwave. Over a bowl, gently rub the stems so the leaves fall off.

How to air dry parsley

Once the bowl is filled with parsley stems, use your fingers (or a spoon) to crush into dried parsley. I often use my mortar and pestle for this. Store dried parsley in glass spice jar.

How to air dry parsley

I hope this method helps you on how to dry parsley quickly next time you have alot of parsley, but not alot of time!

How to Store Dried Herbs

Keep dried herbs in a glass jar in your kitchen cabinet. You want to store them in a cool, dry, dark space. Ideally, you don’t want to store herbs above your stove as when cooking steam can travel up into the cabinets, causing moisture to get into your jars of herbs.

How Long Does Dried Parsley Last?

Dried Parsley when properly stored will easily last for 2 years in your kitchen cabinet. Even after 2 years, it’ll still be usable, it just won’t as strong in flavor.

A tip to see if the herb is still good is to put some in your hand and rub it with your fingers. If it still has a strong smell, then it’s still good to use. If it has a weak smell (but still smells like the herb) you can still use it, but you might need to double the amount the recipe calls for.