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Being frugal in the kitchen....a mantra being spoken by people who shop, cook and store their foods - especially in these difficult economic times.

You may think that it's not worth the trouble to store flat-leaf parsley (and cilantro) as it only costs anywhere from $.79 to $1.79 a bunch more or less - but if you added up all of the bunches of parsley and cilantro that you've thrown out after only using a few sprigs - over time - that could add up.  Besides the economics, how many times have you thought that you had enough flat-leaf parsley in the refrigerator for mincing and adding to a recipe only to find that the parsley has gone bad and so you do without the fresh and distinctive flavor of parsley.

Assuming that the parsley and cilantro you are buying is fresh and not wilted to begin with, there are a few gadgets on the market that are made to keep and store parsley and other stemmed herbs. I've tried these gadgets but they take up room in the refrigerator so I always return to a tried and true method of cleaning and storing flat-leaf parsley (and cilantro) which gives you access to fresh, clean herbs for over two weeks. 

Yes, I said over two weeks - the photos below represent a bunch of flat leaf parsley that I purchased on February 25, 2009 and using this method of storage, I still have a fully green and crisp bunch of parsley on March 13, 2009, the date of this writing.  I realize you only have my word for this claim, but when you try this method, you will know that I have been truthful.

First, leave the bunch of parsley tied with the twist tie or rubber band that it comes with.  In a sink full of water, or a large bowl of water, rinse the whole bunch of parsley (or cilantro) thoroughly - you will have to change the water several times until the water in the bowl (or sink) is clear of any sand or debris.

Photo #1

Shake the bunch of parsley well, and place it on a double layer of a good quality paper towel (the cheaper paper towels will fall apart) and as shown in Photo #2 and #3, start rolling up the parsley in the paper towel. The roll should be damp from the excess water on the parsley. If the roll doesn't feel damp to the touch, wet the roll slightly.

Photo #2

Photo #3

Place the damp roll into a freezer quality plastic bag (see Photo #4) and store in the refrigerator.  Write the date on the paper towel so you can keep track of how long it lasts.  If you are storing parsley and cilantro, make a mark on each roll to identify it.

Photo #4

Fast forward to March 13, photo #4 - you can see the 2/25 date I wrote on the paper towel - and you can see that the bunch of parsley is still fresh looking and the leaves are not wilted and rotten!

Photo #5

As you use the parsley, unroll the paper towel, take as much parsley as you need, and re-roll the paper towel - if the paper towel is dry, dampen it by sprinkling on some water - store again in the plastic bag and refrigerate.




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