Parsley is one of those things many of us are used to seeing, eating, and possibly growing. It seems to be the most common garnish at restaurants and in many homemade dishes. Parsley can be so much more than just a garnish, however. It is a powerhouse of an herb that deserves a spot on spice racks and in medicine cabinets alike. Thankfully preserving parsley for food and medicine is quick and easy.
The Benefits of Parsley
Parsley is chockfull of nutrition. It's high in vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, iron, zinc and vitamin C. It's tasty and adds a great depth of flavor to many dishes. The flat leaf supposedly has a stronger flavor than the curly leaf type but both are great so use what's near. Parsley is high chlorophyll meaning it helps remove garlic and onion odors (that's why it's often on dinner plates).
Parsley is a strong and safe diuretic helping to remove toxins from the body and helping relieve water retention. It can act as an histamine blocker providing relief to seasonal allergies or a runny nose. Parsley can help dry a mother's milk during weaning as well.
Preserving Parsley for Food and Medicine
All of these methods require very little hands-on time but provide huge flavor ands medicinal punch.
Tie bundles of fresh parsley together and hang out of direct sunlight until crispy. Once completely dry, strip the leaves from the stems and store in an airtight container.
Make a parsley tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of the dried leaves in 1 Cup of boiling water for 20 minutes, strain and enjoy. Drink the tea to get all the medicinal benefits discussed above.
Fill a jar 3/4 full with chopped parsley and cover with vinegar. Let steep for 1 month, strain and bottle the infused vinegar.
Use the infused vinegar as a base for homemade vinaigrette, to flavor hot and sour soup, or anywhere you would use plain vinegar.
Chop parsley finely and put a teaspoon into the compartments of ice cube trays. Fill with water and freeze until solid. Once frozen remove from trays and store cubes in containers.
Melt the frozen cubes into soups, stews, casseroles, etc. for a hit of fresh flavor.
A Word of Caution
Unless specifically allergic to parsley, it is considered safe for anyone to eat in small quantities usually found in food. Drinking parsley tea can cause issue because of the concentrated levels. As mentioned above, it is used to dry mother's milk, so breastfeeding women should avoid the tea until it is time to wean. Pregnant women should also avoid the tea.
Make the most of the herb garden this summer by preserving parsley for food and medicine to last through the winter.