Rosey the Riveter

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Revamping the Spice Cupboard

Have I mentioned how much I love my garden?  I have the previous owner of the house to thank... he made all the raised beds and planted a bunch of perennial herbs in one of them.  Sage, Rosemary, Chives, Garlic Chives, Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Dill, and Lavender were all thriving when we moved in.  I quickly added parsley and cilantro, and they have over-wintered very well.  However, I'm not sure how much longer they are going to last.  So, I've been harvesting the parsley every so often and dehydrating it, just to make sure I always have a good supply.  It puts the store-bought stuff to shame, and tastes exactly like fresh once it is rehydrated in whatever I happen to be cooking.

The first step is to wash it and give it a ride in the salad spinner.

Next, use kitchen scissors to snip off the leaves.  You want as little of the stem as possible.  I do it right over the dehydrator tray.

All of the parsley picture above looked like this once I finished de-stemming:

Dry at 95 degrees for about 8 hours, or until it's crunchy.  It shrinks up pretty well.
Can you see how pretty it is and how much greener it looks than the store-bought stuff?

I store it in a canning jar and crumble it when I use it.  Keeping the leaves whole while in storage makes it taste better and last longer.

If you're harvesting in warmer weather, be careful not to get any Black Swallowtail Caterpillars.  (It's worth it to plant parsley just to watch the caterpillars grow.  If you plant it, they will come!)

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