Early in August we began harvesting our parsley crop, picking enough at a time to fill our food dehydrator. This is the easiest method for us to use to ensure that the parsley is thoroughly dry. The amount of dried parsley from a single batch should last us, if used sparing, until the next years crop is ready to harvest. This year, 2020, we managed to dry three batches. Parsley is also one of the herbs we use the most in cooking, and luckily for us it grows very successfully in our garden during the cooler months.
We harvested stalks of the parsley, rinsed them under running water to remove bugs and any bits of soil. The leaves were then gently washed in a bowl of water to remove any remaining bits of soil and bugs. It is amazing what you can find hiding under the leaves!
The water was then drained off using a colander, and the leaves were gently patted dry on a clean tea towel.
The parsley stalks were removed and composted, and only the leaves were dried. The leaves were placed directly on the wire drying racks of the dehydrator. I do not normally overfill the drying racks when drying produce as this would hamper the airflow and cause uneven drying. However, with parsley I find that the volume shrinks rapidly leaving sufficient space between the leaves to allow good airflow and even drying of the leaves.
As each tray was filled it was placed in the dehydrator.
We dried the parsley at the lowest temperature setting (35 to 40 degrees centigrade), for approximately 5 hours. We avoid using higher temperatures to dry the parsley as it could destroy the colour and flavour. Air temperature and humidity influence the drying time, and on rainy days it can take longer to dry the product that it would on hot dry days. Once dried, the parsley can be loosely crumbed between your fingers and then stored in air tight bottles in the fridge.
From the huge bunch of fresh parsley which filled up 10 dehydrator trays, we got about 2.5 cups of dried parsley, which should last us until the following season. It is certainly an easy way to preserve parsley.