Flat-leaf parsley

I used to do much more canning and freezing than I do now. With our household down to just two, we’re cooking smaller meals and don’t need to have as much food around.

But there are still quite a few garden crops that I squirrel away in my freezer or pantry, and one of those is parsley. I can chop and freeze a huge basket of fresh-picked parsley in about 15 minutes. With a half-dozen sessions like that throughout the summer, I can have plenty of frozen parsley to last right through fall, winter and spring.

When harvesting parsley, I pick stem and all, right to the base of the plant. This encourages strong re-growth and makes cleaning the leaves a snap. When you get to the kitchen, just grab all the stems like a bouquet and run the foliage under cold water (or if it’s really gritty, you can swish it through a basin of water). Then give the whole bunch a shake to remove most of the water. Pull off the leaves, leaving stems behind, and put them into a food processor. Pulse to chop the leaves medium-fine (not too much or you’ll create a paste) and then pack into zip-top freezer bags. Flatten the bags to about ½” thick, label them with the year and stack in your freezer.

Frozen parsley keeps its bright green color and fresh flavor for a year. With plenty on hand, I add it generously to most cooked vegetables, as well as in stews, soups, stir-fries, stuffings, dips and of course in tabouli. Here’s an easy tabouli recipe that can be made in about 15 minutes at any time of year. The only fresh produce required is scallions, and in a pinch I substitute some finely chopped red onion. If you’re chopping your parsley by hand (as opposed to in a food processor) you’ll want to double the amount you use in this recipe.

Anytime Tabouli

1 cup bulgur
1½ cup boiling water
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh)
1½ cup finely chopped parsley
3 scallions, chopped, with greens
  salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put bulgur in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let sit for about 20 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Add all the other ingredients and refrigerate for about two hours to let the flavors meld.

So rather than planting just one parsley plant this year, put in a whole six-pack and enjoy fresh-tasting, homegrown, organic parsley all year.

-Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening