How To Harvest Parsley Again, and Again, and Again…
You’re cultivating your new herb garden and want to how to harvest parsley without killing or damaging your plant. Cut the parsley stalk just above ground level with secateurs, taking from the outer stems first where leaves are large and abundant. This allows the younger, inner stems to continue maturing and filling out. Harvesting also stimulates the parsley to regrow.
In today’s chat, we explore how to harvest parsley without killing the plant and also provide some great tips on growing parsley, including a guide on storing parsley in your kitchen.
Grab a coffee, put your feet up and let’s get started!
How to Harvest Parsley So You Can Keep Coming Back for More
Harvesting parsley is so easy! Simply cut off the stems you need, starting from the outside of the bush where the stems are thickest. This will give you the greatest amount of leaves. Younger growth is found on the inner stems, so if you leave these alone they’ll have a chance to mature. Pruning off stems also stimulates new plant growth, so you’ll be able to enjoy parsley season-round.
Does Parsley Come Back Every Year
We are often asked if parsley comes back every year and the answer is technically ‘no’. Parsley is a biennial herb, which means it lasts for two years or two gardening seasons.
During the first year, parsley produces tasty leaves and stores energy – this is the best time to harvest. After the second season, the parsley plant will flower and seed (also known as ‘bolting’). Many people eat bolted parsley by simply adding the flowers to their cooking, just as they would the parsley leaves.
Good news – you have two wonderful harvests to include this delicious herb in your cooking. Enjoy!
When to Harvest Parsley
You may be wondering, ‘when is the right time for harvesting parsley?’ Simply – anytime! When the leaves are large, your parsley plant is ready to cut and use. The best time of the day to harvest is first thing in the morning after the dew has evaporated.
In the autumn months, you will find some of the strongest, healthiest stems for harvesting. Summer also produces abundant leaf growth. During the winter months, you can still harvest parsley, but it will be more delicate and have a shorter shelf life.
Keep an eye on your plant and when the leaves look fresh and vibrant, go ahead and snip them off! You’ll be able to enjoy fresh parsley all year round.
Step Instructions for Harvesting Parsley
This is our complete guide on how to harvest parsley, without killing the plant. Equipped with these steps you will have success with your parsley plant.
- Start with a clean pair of secateurs
- Select an outer, thicker stem that has lots of leaves
- If you want a bunch of parsley, just cut one stem at a time
- Gently hold the base of the stem and cut just above ground level
- Avoid pulling from the roots
- Don’t cut the whole parsley plant – just what you need
Parsley Growing Tips
Parsley grows easily on a window sill or in a veggie garden. Little skill is needed to cultivate and produce abundant, healthy leaves ready for the picking. We encourage everyone to grow parsley!
The two main varieties of this popular herb are curly leaf parsley (also known as French parsley) and flat leaf parsley (aka Italian parsley). These can be grown from seed or seedlings. The growing season for parsley is from early spring to winter.
Parsley loves warmth and sunshine. Position them in a sunny spot that captures at least 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. Growing parsley in pots gives you the flexibility to move them around the garden for optimum conditions. As parsley prefer mild winters, extend their life during colder periods by moving them to a warmer spot like a hothouse or your kitchen window sill.
Parsley in pots usually needs watering 2-3 times a week. However, over summer they may need to be watered every day. Parsley enjoys moist soil but ensure you don’t overwater. Ensure the pot has good drainage. During hotter days, parsley may need watering a couple of times a day. Parsley growing in your herb garden will need a thorough soak at least once a week.
Parsley is great for any garden as it attracts pollinators such as bees, as well as other beneficial insects like predatory wasps and flies, that eliminate garden pests.
Growing From Seed
A few weeks prior to the last frost, it’s time to get your parsley seeds and start sowing. If you have cold winters, it’s best to start growing indoors. Otherwise, you can sow directly into your herb garden.
- Soak the parsley seeds overnight in water. This will stimulate germination
- Prepare your seed tray or garden with potting mix and top with a little seed-raising mix
- Sow seeds at a depth of ¼ inch, with a couple of seeds in each hole.
- If planting directly into the garden keep at least a 4-inch gap between seeds
- Cover seeds with a little soil and gently pat down
- Water with a spray bottle or a soft hose spray from the garden
- Place a plastic cover over the seed tray to promote warmth and keep moist
- Position in a warm, sunny spot
- Water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Don’t overwater
- Sprouts should appear any time from 14-28 days
- Seedlings can then be repotted into a container
We love harvesting seeds from our own parsley plants that have bolted. Simply snip off the flower heads that have dried and grown brown, and rub gently to release the seeds. Sow these seeds and watch a new parsley plant grow, and enjoy another harvest season.
How to Store Parsley
Our top tip for storing parsley is to roll it in a damp paper towel, place in a zip-lock bag, and store in the fridge. This will keep parsley fresh for up to 2 weeks.
Another quick and easy method – pop a bunch of parsley into a water-filled glass jar and place on your windowsill.
Using Parsley In The Kitchen
Parsley is a versatile herb, that infuses fresh flavor into your pasta dishes, stir fries, and egg dishes. Chop and add whilst cooking – or simply sprinkle as just a garnish. The bonus of fresh parsley is it’s packed with nutrition, including:
- Vitamins C, A, K, B6
How to Freeze Parsley
If you want to keep your parsley longer, freezing is the way to go. Just wash and dry your parsley, then pop it in a freezer bag. Roll up the bag tightly, to remove all the air, and store in the freezer.
Another option is to freeze parsley in ice cube trays. Just blend the parsley leaves with a little water and olive oil, pour into the tray, and voilà! You’ve got fresh parsley anytime you need it. Just remember that frozen parsley doesn’t last forever, so use it up within a year for the best results.
How to Dry Parsley
Dried parsley is delicious in cooked dishes and can sit on your pantry shelf for 6-12 months. With these few quick steps you’ll be drying parsley in no time:
- Wash the herb first and pat gently with a paper towel
- Leave out to dry in an airy, warm spot
- Once parsley is completely dry, remove the leaves from the stems
- Store leaves in an airtight container in your pantry or cabinet
We hope you’ve learned something new today, on harvesting parsley without killing your plant. We are sure with these tips and advice, you’ll have success growing and storing parsley. And of course, enjoying this delicious, healthy herb in your cooking.