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How to Harvest Parsley Without Killing the Plant? Try This!

An herb garden is one of the easiest things to grow, and parsley has long been a kitchen favorite! 

This little low-maintenance herb will produce an abundance of beautiful green leaves, perfect for adding flavor and fragrance to your culinary delights.

Most beginner and novice gardeners start with herbs – and for a good reason! These incredibly-adorable plants take very little skill to grow, and your efforts will be rewarded with fresh flavors to use most of the year-round.

And even if you are short of space, don’t let that stop you from growing parsley herbs! Herbs will grow happily on a kitchen windowsill or in the tiniest of yards.

But once you have a flourishing parsley plant, how do you know when to harvest it? And what’s the right way to harvest parsley without killing the plant?

Let’s look at everything you need to know about harvesting parsley!

Shall we?

How to Harvest Parsley

Firstly, let’s establish what parsley is! We’ve all been using parsley for years, whether in bunches fresh from the grocery store or as a blend with other dried herbs.

But did you know that there is more than one type of parsley? Understanding these slight nuances is the hidden key to harvesting parsley correctly – especially if you want an ongoing parsley harvest that lasts!

Yes, that’s right! So, if you are growing parsley in your garden, you could have either of the following:

curly vs flat leaf parsley
Curly or French parsley vs flat-leaf or Italian parsley

Curly or French Parsley

This type of parsley has tightly curled leaves with a light, fresh flavor. It is the type most often used for garnishing. Curly parsley plants will reach an average of 8 to 14 inches in height.

Flat-Leaf or Italian Parsley

Flat-leaf parsley is pungent in flavor and tastes heavenly in soups, casseroles, and stews. These plants are much taller, reaching heights of up to three feet.

Luckily, the type of parsley plant you have does not affect how you harvest it! (That much.) So don’t panic if you can’t figure out what you’ve brought home from the store, as we can tell you exactly how to harvest parsley without killing the plant.

Read More – How to Harvest Basil Without Killing the Plant! Step by Step!

How to Harvest Parsley Leaves

Parsley is at its best when used as a fresh herb. When picked straight from the garden, the taste and flavor of this herb are incredible, and nothing else quite compares!

When using parsley as a garnish or cooking ingredient? Most chefs we know use the leaves. The stems can be markedly tough and lacking in flavor.

However, if we were to attempt to pick leaves straight from the plant, it would take forever! The easiest way to harvest parsley leaves is to cut off the stem holding the leaves and remove the leafy parts once you return to the kitchen.

This harvesting technique is also the best way to keep your parsley plant happy and healthy. Taking a whole stem will encourage the plant to send branch out and gives you a constantly renewable supply of parsley leaves.

The most important thing to remember is to take the outer, thicker stems – these will have the biggest and thickest leaves. Targeting larger leaves gives space for younger shoots towards the inside of the plant to grow.

harvesting fresh garden organic parsley in sweden
If you harvest parsley correctly – you can enjoy up to four generous harvests during the season! Harvest your parsley in the morning – after the dew has left the stems, buds, and leaves.

How to Harvest, Dry, and Store Parsley

dried parsley in dehydrator
Parsley can be dried in your dehydrator or using a solar drying system.

Parsley leaves can be stored and dried, but they will lose flavor with time. The taste of dried parsley is far less intense than its fresh counterpart, so you may need to use more of it.

As fall approaches and your parsley plant starts to lose vigor, you can cut the best stems for the kitchen. Keep these in a cup of water. Your reward will be fresh leaves for several weeks.

But eventually, no matter what you do, you will run out of fresh parsley leaves. But no worries! It is great to have some dried parsley on hand, so why not try drying it yourself?

The best time to do this is in midsummer when your parsley plant is at its most productive. Take as many stems as you can – these leaves will shrink to nothing once dry! Dry them using any of the following methods:

  • Air dry by hanging small bunches in a warm, dry place for several weeks
  • Use your dehydrator to dry parsley, or set up a DIY sun-drying system
  • Dry the parsley in a low-heat oven for several hours

Once dry, gently crush the leaves and remove any stems. You will love the flavor of freshly dried parsley. It’s far superior to anything you could buy from the store!

Top tip – if you want to extend the growing season for your fresh parsley, grow some in a pot and move it into the greenhouse or a warm windowsill for the winter. Potted parsley can continue to produce leaves well into the winter months!

fresh parsley growing in garden soil
Drying parsley is the easiest part of harvesting! Toss a handful of chopped parsley in a paper bag. (Don’t use a plastic bag!) Then – check the paper bag in your fridge. After a few weeks – you’ll have an aromatic, rich, and green mound of dry parsley herbs!

How to Harvest Parsley Seeds

In these uncertain times, seed saving is an essential part of homesteading! We may not be able to rely on a constant supply of seeds in the future, so now is a great time to learn about how to save our precious seeds for next year.

The first thing to remember is that parsley will not flower until the plant is in its second year. So, at the end of the first year? We suggest leaving a few parsley plants in the ground for the following year. You won’t be able to harvest leaves from these plants. But your pollinating insects will appreciate the flowering buffet the parsley plants provide!

When harvesting parsley seeds, you need to pick your moment carefully. The seeds are ready to harvest when the seed heads are brown – they will look completely dead!

If you harvest them too soon? The seeds may be immature and not entirely dried out. Harvesting prematurely means they will not store well. And they may not germinate when sown the following spring.

The problem with leaving seeds too long before harvesting is that you may miss the crop altogether. Dry seeds fall easily from the seed heads and will scatter on the soil around the plant. If you’re lucky, some of these may germinate if the birds don’t get to them first!

The best technique to successfully harvest parsley seeds is to place the seed heads inside a breathable bag. You can use a large paper bag, or one of these seed-saving bags would work perfectly.

Leave the seed heads inside the bag until they are dry – a gentle shake now and again will allow seeds to fall from the plant. Then all you need to do is separate your seeds from any plant debris and store them in a cool, dry place. They’re ready for next year.

Free seeds with minimal effort – you don’t get much better than that!

Best Parsley Seeds for Home Gardens

Parsley is one of the first herbs we recommend homesteaders and gardeners start growing.

If you’re looking for excellent parsley cultivars that produce good yields and are easy to grow – then these are our favorites.

  1. Curled Microgreens Parsley Seeds | True Leaf Market
  2. Curled Microgreens Parsley Seeds | True Leaf Market

    These parsley microgreens are delicious! They are excellent for sandwiches, fresh garden salads, garnishes, roll-ups, and more! But - there is one caveat. The seeds take longer to germinate than other parsley cultivars - and we recommend growing in soil rather than hydroponics.

    Get More Info

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  3. Heirloom Parsley Seeds | True Leaf Market
  4. Heirloom Parsley Seeds | True Leaf Market

    Italian flat-leaf parsley is a biennial herb with hardy green leaves. It's also mouth-watering and grows like the wind! Sprinkle some in soups, salads, sandwiches, tacos, and atop your best BBQ meats. It matures in roughly 72 days. It's also a fabled leaf - with a history that dates back thousands of years. Neat!

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  5. Moss Curled Parsley Seeds | Eden Brothers
  6. Moss Curled Parsley Seeds | Eden Brothers

    Want dark green parsley that makes excellent garnish? Then Moss Curled parsley might be your favorite. It matures in only 60 to 75 days. It also grows fast and harvests early. Perfect for pasta - or pesto! It grows without fuss either indoors or outdoors - and deers don't like it.

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Parsley Harvesting FAQs

We know that getting the best from your herb garden can be a lot of work!

So we’re happily answering some of the most common parsley harvesting questions.

Find all the answers below!

Read More – Harvesting Chives Without Killing the Plant! Full Guide!

DIY Tea Herb Garden Kit

This DIY herb garden kit helps you grow and brew homemade tea! Perfect for unwinding after a hard day of mowing, de-weeding, or cleaning your chicken coop. The DIY tea-growing kit is one of our favorite kits for new gardeners - and it makes an excellent gift for homesteading or gardening friends.

The homemade tea-growing kit gives everything you need to grow and brew delicious homemade tea. You don't have to spend too much at your favorite coffee shop. Not anymore. Instead, you can germinate and grow the most flavorful tea herbs. And you can start the seeds indoors!

The DIY tea-growing kit includes seed packets containing peppermint, chamomile, thyme, tulsi, and echinacea. Germinating and growing the seeds is a ton of fun - and wait until you get to harvest and drink them. The stress in your life melts away - and you can't beat the refreshing properties of locally grown, homemade tea.

You also get a mini windowsill greenhouse and a step-by-step instruction book. You won't encounter stress germinating the seeds - and the instructions take the guesswork out of the tea growing process. You also get peat pellets to help germinate the tea seeds on your windowsill without fuss.

We always say that growing herbs is the best way to start your garden. We also promise there's nothing like harvesting a handful of fresh herb leaves from your garden and brewing a fresh cup of tea. Herbal rewards and relaxation await!

Grow and Go also guarantees that your tea seeds will germinate. Or - they will send you a fresh batch!

Get It at Grow and Make
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Conclusion

fresh garden parsley harvesting with scissors
Parsley is one of our favorite biennial herbs that’s easy to grow! The best thing about parsley is that it’s so easy to reap. You can harvest as soon as the leaves look big enough – and you can enjoy your parsley freshly cropped or dried!

Parsley is one of our favorite herbs for new homesteaders! It’s even excellent if you don’t have much room or time to grow.

Harvesting parsley is also easy – and forgiving. It grows and replenishes fast! So if you love to make pesto, soups, and salads with a fresh dash of parsley, you’ll have plenty to go around.

Thanks for reading – and let us know if you have good parsley harvesting tips. Or questions!

Have a great day!

Read More – How to Harvest Kale and Keep It Growing! 10+ Tips!

Author

  • Kate moved to Portugal last year and lives with her husband, two cats, six hens, and a glorious Brahma rooster called Mary. Earlier this year they purchased a half-hectare ‘quinta’ – traditional terraced land with olive trees, grapevines, and a house to renovate. They are currently living in a small campervan which is a challenging but fun experience! Kate has over 15 years of experience in the UK veterinary industry and is also a passionate gardener – turning a grassy field into a productive vegetable patch in just three months. Future plans include more animals, particularly sheep and goats for milk production to make cheese, butter, and yogurt! Kate and her husband are aiming to create a self-sufficient off-grid life on their quinta, fulfilling a life-long dream.