Adding a dash of herbs to our favorite dishes is a common practice in the kitchen. After all, who here isn’t eager to try out a new savory and aromatic dining experience– a fresh new take on otherwise bland and redundant food? Infusing our dishes with the right combination of herbs can easily transform them into a culinary work of art. However, this culinary method is not without a few struggles. We all know that herbs are best served fresh. That way, you can really take in its flavor and aroma. Whether you get your herbs from the grocery store or your own garden or grow tent, they don’t have a long shelf life. So, what exactly do you do to preserve your herb’s freshness? Let us count the ways.
Serve them immediately.
If you do find yourself in this tricky situation, you may want to call up a few friends and turn a lonely dinner into a party! Find recipes on the internet or a cookbook that uses the herbs you have lying around.
[Grins, for the parents and teachers … ] Herbs can also be served in cocktails, in case you’re wondering. A good way to keep it fresh and ideal for cocktails and syrups would be by blanching.
Perhaps the most common way of preserving herbs, especially in the Spring is by drying them and getting rid of any moisture that bacteria could thrive in. The only problem with drying herbs is that it loses its aroma, flavor, texture, and color. If you really have to dry your herbs, there are proper ways to get this done. How to dry parsley from the garden? Let’s learn more about it in the following sections.
Using a Microwave Oven to Dry Parsley
Among all methods of drying parsley and other herbs, using the microwave generates the best results, producing the brightest color and freshest flavor. If you’re looking up on how to dry parsley from the garden, you may want to try out this technique first.
How It Works
The thing about microwaves is that they zero in on moisture while they’re heating. This emits long electromagnetic radiation waves that flip polar molecules trapped inside your food back and forth. Since water is the most profuse polar molecule in whatever food we eat, microwaves target these molecules most– not heating the food entirely, but the water it contains. Because of this interesting mechanism, the bright pigments and savory compounds get left behind, mostly unscathed.
If you want to get the most out of your fresh produce and multi-purpose herbs, you must know one of the most basic storage culinary techniques: how to dry parsley from your garden using a microwave oven. We’re not only talking about parsley here. This can also be applied to herbs of any kind. Let us now proceed:
- Carefully lay out the parsley leaves on a clean paper towel.
- Cover with another clean paper towel.
- Pop into the microwave oven for 1 minute on high heat setting.
- Take the parsley out and check if these are still soft.
- Repeat the process until the parsley comes out completely dry. You’ll have to perform a little bit of experimentation for this process since power outputs in microwave ovens vary. Note your results for each herb for future use.
- When the parsley is completely dry, let it cool, and store in an airtight container, away from light, heat, and moisture. This should remain potent for several months.
Other Advantages of Drying Herbs Using a Microwave Oven
Aside from retaining the herb’s lush color, potency, aroma, and flavor, here are some other reasons why you should go for a microwave oven to dry your precious herbs.
It is very low-maintenance.
The only things you need to master how to dry parsley from your garden using this technique are the following: a microwave oven, a couple of sheets of paper towels, and your fresh herbs. There’s nothing else to it, not even patience because it can be achieved in a few minutes or less.
It is quick.
If you’re a busy person, and you don’t really have much time to preserve some herbs, this is the quickest solution available. Unlike drying herbs using a traditional oven, you don’t have to preheat or treat the microwave to make a few batches of dried herbs, saving you lots of time and effort.
Dried herbs can be ground into powder quickly.
Since the microwave takes away the herb’s entire water content, it comes out very dry and brittle, but with almost the same aroma and flavor, making it easy to grind into powder. Powdered herbs make for some of the best seasonings and rubs there are.
After reading this article, we bet you’re going for the kitchen to finally try out this super quick and easy technique to preserve your favorite herbs and spices. Share your experience with us by writing in the comments section below!
Science Dave Comment
This was a guest post by Lucy, founder of GardenAmbition.com. She has a wonderful site for just about anything you want to know about gardening … and as shown above, what to do with some of the things you grow there.
Given this is a science project site, you can easily turn what Lucy wrote here into a “Drying Herbs” science project by gathering different types of herbs and following her microwave instructions above. Be sure to take in-process photos, then write down your results and explain what just happened. You should also look up at least one or two other drying techniques and report on those using the same herbs as you did in the microwave project.
When finished with the last drying technique, you should write your conclusions. Which method was the easiest? Which took the least time and which provided the best tasting herbs after the dried ones were soaked in water to make them soft again? How did they smell, how did they look, how did they taste, etc. Be as descriptive as you can.
Then take a look at the dehydrated potato project we did earlier. How is that dehydration project different than what you did here?