Spices and natural seasoning often come from sources like plants and vegetables, wherein those who plant them harvest them and turn them into most of the dry spices that you can see in common households most days now. A common spice or garnish used in a lot of dishes is parsley. Parsley is a green, light, leafy spice that is used in dishes like pasta, pizza, and chicken. It belongs to the same family as carrots and cumin and had been harvested for more than a thousand years since.
Parsley is also known for its health benefits and not only for uses for spices in dishes. It is a very nutritious plant and has been proven to improve your health. Parsley has a high content particularly in vitamin K, which is good for your bone health and blood clotting, and vitamin A which has antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants are substances that help prevent your cells from damage free radicals. While on the other hand, free radicals are compounds that are produced in your body that cause damage to your cells. They are produced when you break down food or are exposed to tobacco or radiation. With that said, this is where consuming parsley can help you. Parsley can help you provide the antioxidants your body needs to balance the free radicals in your body.
Planting your own parsley can help provide you with a fresh source of this seasoning or garnish, especially since this is not as fresh when bought from the market or store. However, similar to planting other vegetables and plants, you would need to have knowledge in different areas related to caring for plants, such as knowing when to harvest parsley.
1. How to dry parsley
Drying plants and preserving them helps you make use of the plant for longer periods of time. This helps save on time and money, especially when you do not need a much garnish or parts of the plant when you cook a certain dish. Drying helps remove the moisture in the plant that accelerates the withering and rotting of the vegetable, since moisture hastens up the production of bacteria when coupled with heat in food such as vegetables and parsley. How to dry parsley is also a process that you have to take note of, especially if you plan on preserving whatever amount you have planted in your own garden. Sometimes the growth rate is faster than the rate at which we need to use parsley, which is why learning about this skill can be useful when you want to keep more parsley for future use.
To dry parsley, you need to make sure that you have enough material to dry it, as well as a microwave to heat up the parsley and allow the moisture to evaporate due to the heat. To begin drying your parsley, you can start by laying out the soft paper towels that you have gathered on a flat surface or a plate. Make sure to spread it out evenly, and to have enough paper towels for whatever amount of parsley you want to preserve. Next, put the paper towels and the parsley in a microwave-safe bowl or plate, and microwave the whole thing for one to two minutes. At this point, the microwave should be able to dry out the parsley. Once done, remove the plate and check if the leaves are crunchy. If they are, then the parsley is dry enough to store. As an added option to this, you can even cut up the parsley into tiny pieces, and place them in a spice container. Once in the spice container, you can use said parsley to help garnish your own dishes.
2. How to harvest and dry parsley
Parsley is a pretty simple spice to grow in your garden and can be a great starting point for most beginners. After some time, you will begin to see the small leaves which characterize parsley, which might be ripe for the picking. To know how to harvest and dry parsley, you should know what parsley looks like when it has matured or is fully grown. Once they are fully grown and they start to grow multiple stems with leaves connected to each stem, it is time to take out your scissors or garden shears. The said cutting tools do not have to be large or heavy-duty tools, since the parsley plant does not have thick stems, nor does it grow too large such that heavy-duty tools would be necessary to cut it.
To know if your parsley is ready for harvest you need to check the number of leaves it has. As soon as you see your parsley have three or more clusters of leaves, then they are mature enough for harvest. If the clusters are less than three then they are not ready. Parsley typically takes 70 to 90 days to mature after you have initially planted them.
You may also want to opt to harvest your parsley in its first year. Though you can certainly harvest your parsley after its first year, but if you have the option to do so earlier then it is even better. Harvesting your parsley in the first year will give you the best yield and the strongest flavor.
To harvest parsley, you need to start by using your scissors or tools to cut the bottom of each entire stem no the plant. You need to make sure to cut and remove all the stems that have matured since failing to do so will result in the said stem rotting and possibly killing the entire plant. By removing ready stems, allows the plant to produce more parsley, which in turn, will benefit you for a longer period of time. Once you have harvested your parsley, you can bring all of them inside to wash, and then dry them according to the step by step process of drying parsley provided above.
If it so happens that you have a group of parsley in a single pot, then you need to harvest your parsley from the outer rim and not the inner ones. Do not start harvesting from the inside as you will harvest the underdeveloped stems, but instead harvest the ones that are in the outer rim as they are the mature parsley perfect for your use. Removing the leaves that are in the outer rim ensures that the old ones just don’t grow old and wither. There is also another positive effect on removing the leaves that are on the outside, that is by doing so will allow your parsley to redirect resources to new growth thereby keeping the plant healthy.
The great thing about the parsley is that you can continually harvest them throughout any season unless of course, you have a winter season in our climate. If so, then you may want to harvest the parsley in bulk since as they will die in winter. You may continually harvest your parsley as long as it stayed vibrant green in color.
3. How to trim parsley for growth
Plants can tend to overgrow if they are not trimmed regularly, especially when they are given constant sources of nutrition through water, sunlight, and fertilizers. Some plants grow faster than others, while some grow at a slower rate. Thus, for plants such as parsley, which tends to rot if left untrimmed and unattended, the best way to prolong its life is by learning how to trim parsley for growth. Failure to trim the parsley may result in it becoming droopy or leggy, which is not the best condition for it to be in. To trim your parsley, you need to cut the stems from the base of each stem and cut the stems before the plant actually starts drooping.
Having your own source of spices can be a breather when it comes to having good tasting food since organic and fresh spices from the garden provide the best taste. They are also surely safe to eat, especially since you know where and how these vegetables or plants were planted, having planted them yourself. Learning takes patience and understanding, as well as experience. For spices like parsley, you can even have your own natural spice by planting some from your own home.
Planting parsley can be beneficial and can help you save up on money since parsley plants can provide you with multiple stems to use for your garnish or seasoning. Parsley goes great with a lot of dishes, which is why learning all the skills needed to grow your own, such as when to harvest parsley is going to be one of the best things you can do as a beginner in the field of gardening and planting.