Monday, November 9, 2009

Parsing parsley

A common problem for cooks who don't cook with parsley on a regular basis is what to do with the rest of the bunch after you've snipped the 2 tablespoons you need for a recipe. If you don't use it, the bunch will become a slimy green mass in its plastic bag within a few weeks and end up in your compost pile (or worse).

Here's one idea. Chop the rest of the bunch, pull out the thick stems and dry the chopped leaves. You can air-dry them, or use the microwave.

After you have snipped, chopped or minced your parsley, spread it out on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Put it in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave, cover with a second towel and pat out moisture. Fleck off any parsley that sticks to
the top towel and put the plate back in the microwave.

Cook on high for another 30 seconds, fluff up a bit, and put back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat. You should have a plate full of dried parsley after four 30-second sessions. To make sure it's thoroughly dried before you store it, let it sit on the counter for several hours, then put in an air-tight container.

The top photograph is one I took, comparing some parsley that I recently bought from a supermarket that has a pull-date of May 2010. Notice that the home-dried flakes are a deeper green. And as for taste, the home-dried actually had a true parsley flavor. The bottom photo by Tony Ramirez shows the bottle from which the smaller amount of parsley came.

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