Freezing parsley preserves its fresh flavor more effectively than drying it. Determine how to prepare parsley for long-term freezer storage by considering how you intend to use it. Keeping the leaves separate enables you to remove as little or as much as you need when you cook with the herb. If you typically use large volumes of parsley, though, you may prefer a compact log from which you can slice significant portions of the herb as needed. Freezing the leaves in cubes of water or cooking oil allows you to drop the portioned seasoning directly into food as you cook, saving time and prep work.
Things You'll Need
Wash the sprigs in cool running water.
Dip the parsley into a saucepan of boiling water with tongs for several seconds to blanch the leaves, if desired.
Arrange the sprigs in a single layer on a baking sheet or paper towel to air-dry after you rinse or blanch them. It is vital to dry the leaves thoroughly before freezing them unless you freeze them in cubes with liquid. Residual water will become frost, which degrades the quality of the herb.
Wax Paper Prevents Clumping
Tear a small sheet of wax paper, approximately the size of a sheet of notebook or typing paper. Storing the parsley in wax paper prevents the leaves from sticking together when they freeze.
Fold the wax paper in half, then unfold it. Lay the paper flat on your work surface.
Pull the parsley leaves off the stems, if desired. Arrange the leaves or sprigs in a single layer on half of the wax paper. All of the parsley should be to one side of the crease.
Fold the uncovered half of the paper on top of the parsley. Fold the wax paper repeatedly until it is small enough to fit inside a freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag.
Place the folded wax-paper packet of parsley into the plastic bag. Force as much air out of the bag as you can as you seal it. Excess air can condense and degrade the quality of the herb.
Form a Parsley Log
Remove the dry parsley leaves from the stems and place them in a freezer-safe plastic bag.
Force the parsley down to the bottom of the bag to compact the herb. Keep your fingers on the outside of the bag, and manipulate the herb through the plastic. Leave the bag unsealed while you compact the parsley to force excess air out of the bag. Pinch the bag just above the compacted parsley to keep it in the log-like shape.
Lay the bag on your work surface. Continue holding the parsley in the compacted shape. Fold the parsley-filled portion of the bag over to secure the log.
Place one hand on top of the freezer bag, to prevent it from unfolding, then seal the bag with your free hand.
Fold or roll the parsley log repeatedly to wrap the excess plastic around the compacted herb. Wrap a rubber band around each end of the parsley log to secure the shape. Slice portions of parsley from the frozen log, as needed.
Remove the parsley leaves from the stems. Mince the leaves with a knife or mezzaluna.
Pack the chopped parsley into an ice cube tray. Distribute the parsley evenly among the cube cups. Fill each cup close to the top. To ensure that all of the parsley is covered by liquid, do not allow the parsley to tower above the top edge of its respective cup.
Pour water or cooking oil into each cup until each portion of parsley is completely covered. Use cool, room temperature or boiling water if you prepare water-based parsley cubes. Boiling water blanches the parsley immediately before it freezes. Only use room temperature cooking oil: Hot oil would cook the parsley before the cubes could freeze.
Place the ice cube tray in the freezer overnight or until the parsley cubes are frozen solid.
Remove the cubes from the tray, and place them in a freezer-safe bag for long-term storage.
Thaw and drain parsley cubes that contain water before you use them, unless you are adding them to a water- or broth-based soup. Place parsley cubes that contain oil directly into a preheated skillet or saucepan to cook or flavor food.
References and ResourcesPurdue University 4-H Youth Development: Freezing Fresh Herbs
A Way to Garden: Growing and Storing a Year of Parsley
Organic Gardening: How to Freeze Herbs
Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service: Approximate Storage Times