|Dry garden parsley before it freezes and enjoy all winter!|
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If you go to the store to buy parsley, basil, or some other herb for a recipe, you usually use a tablespoon and, quite often, the rest goes to waste. Well, in two minutes you can turn parsley into parsley flakes and save them for later use.
And if you are growing herbs in your garden, they will soon freeze so it's time to start drying those too.
I use a lot of dried parsley when I cook. It's a nutrient powerhouse. One tablespoon provides 8% of your daily requirement of both iron and manganese. It is also is a very good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, riboflavin, calcium magnesium, and potassium and a good source of vitamins E and B6, niacin, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium.
|Parsley grows easily in the garden.|
There are several ways to dry herbs. You can use a dehydrator, let them dry in the sun, place them in a warm oven, etc. But a technique that I think works the best is to put them in the microwave.
OK, I can hear you screaming from here as some of you feel very strongly about microwave cooking. So let me tell you how I personally feel about microwave ovens.
* I have never personally cooked a meal in a microwave oven. I think the results are inferior to other forms of cooking.
* I use them to rapidly heat up or defrost food using ceramic and glass vessels and I NEVER cover them with plastic wrap or any kind of plastic material that could leach into the food.
* I never stand in front of a microwave oven when it's in use - not because I am convinced scientifically that it's bad but just in case.
* Since drying herbs takes only minutes, I believe that this technique preserves their nutrients.
Start with dry parsley. If I'm getting it out of my organic garden and it's fairly clean, I just shake it off. If you purchase it and want to wash it first, make sure it's completely dry before you start.
Place a paper towel on the bottom of your microwave. If you have a turntable, place the paper towel on the turntable.
Remove the large stems from the parsley and place small clumps across the paper towel in a single layer.
|Ready to be microwaved.|
Close the door and microwave for 2 minutes.
|After 2 minutes.|
Test the parsley to see if it's completely dry. If not, set it for another minute.
Remove the parsley. If it's still warm, let it cool a bit.
|Dried parsley before removing the small stems.|
Holding the small stems, pull the parsley off into a dish. Leave the flakes large or grind them into smaller flakes by rubbing them between your fingers. It's best to leave them larger and crumble them later when needed.
Place in a jar and store in your spice cabinet. Notice how the parsley retains its bright green color using this technique.
You can use this same technique with other herbs. The time may vary with each herb and with your particular microwave so experiment with small amounts until you get the formula down to your liking.