How to preserve parsley

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “how to preserve parsley” and discuss the methods used to preserve parsley.

How to preserve parsley

Herbs and spices were found to be the second major dietary sources of salicylates in the Scottish population (17%) but in the diet of Poles they only contributed 7% of the total amount of salicylates. Several studies confirmed that salicylic acid (C7H6O3, 2-hydroxybenzoic acid) and its derivatives (salts and esters) may have pro-health properties (1).

Parsley can be preserved by:

  • Refrigerating
  • Freezing
  • Drying

Parsley and its uses

Parsley is one of the best-known herbs worldwide and is used as a garnish for a variety of dishes.

Freshly picked parsley has the most flavor and it is common to grow this herb in a pot and cut off some leaves when cooking up a dish. Fresh parsley can also be purchased at supermarkets. Since most dishes call for a small quantity of parsley, it is not uncommon to have an excess of this flavourful herb.

The parsley is known in traditional medicine as an effective remedy against digestive disorders, nephritis, kidney trouble, high blood pressure, and eye disorders. The effect relates to the presence of biologically active compounds in the leaves in stems. Parsley is rich in secondary metabolites of a wide spectrum of biological activities, such as phenylpropanoid apiol, oleanolic acid, furanocoumarin isoimperatorin and oxypeucedanin. It is also rich in vitamin C (3).

How to preserve parsley by refrigerating

Refrigerating is the best and easiest method to preserve parsley. Refrigerated parsley will have the same flavor and texture as fresh parsley. The only drawback is that refrigerated parsley must be used within 2 weeks.

In a study minimally processed parsley sealed in polyethylene bags was stored at 4°C for 12 days and had a shelf life of up to 12 days of storage, with little modifications of sensory parameters (2).

There are 2 ways to refrigerate parsley, one is by wrapping a damp paper towel and the other is by immersing the stems in water.

To refrigerate parsley in a damp towel:

  • Wash the parsley in clean water.
  • Remove the excess water by using a salad spinner or paper towels.
  • Wrap the parsley in a damp towel.
  • Place the towel inside a plastic bag.
  • Refrigerate until needed.

The above method preserves parsley for about 10 days and they don’t have to be washed again before using in a recipe (6). 

To refrigerate parsley by immersing stems in water:

  • Do not wash the parsley beforehand.
  • Trim off a small section of the parsley stems.
  • Immerse the parsley stems in a glass of water so that the leaves stand upright.
  • Cover the leaves with a plastic bag.
  • Place it in the refrigerator.
  • Replace the water in the glass every 2 days to prevent microbial growth.

The above method allows parsley to be stored for about 2 weeks and they must be washed before being in a recipe. A study showed that  leafy parsley stored using the traditional method of tufts immersed in water lose significantly more vitamin C than when stored in  modified atmosphere packaging at 32°F (3).

How to preserve parsley by freezing

Freezing is a food preservation method that can potentially deliver a high degree of safety, nutritional value, sensory quality and convenience. The original advantages of freezing, compared to other preservation methods, were mainly in providing better quality vegetables. The essential step in freezing is to lower the temperature of foods with the intention of preventing, or at least minimizing, microbial and chemical changes (7).

Freezing properly will preserve parsley for about 6 months (5). A study showed that, after being stored frozen for 6 months, parsley leaves and stems significantly lost its typical flavor compared to the freshly prepared standard and developed off-odors and off-tastes, revealing substantial quality loss during frozen storage (4).

Frozen parsley will not retain the texture of fresh and refrigerated parsley but most of the flavor will be preserved. Frozen parsley cannot be used as a garnish since they lose texture once thawed. However, they can still be added to other recipes where the parsley will be heated or cooked such as soups and stews.

There are quite a few ways to freeze parsley including. You can freeze whole parsley stalks, chop or mince them up, or even freeze them in ice cube trays with or without water. Chopped parsley can also be mixed with other herbs of choice and then frozen.

To freeze parsley leaves (5,6): 

  • Wash the parsley in clean water. 
  • Remove the excess water by using a salad spinner or paper towels. You can either freeze with or without the stems.
  • Place the leaves inside a ziplock bag and squeeze out all the air. Leaves can be chopped or minced into a desired size at this point but whole leaves will retain more flavor. 
  • Seal, label and place the bag in the freezer.

To freeze parsley leaves in an ice cube tray:

  • Wash the parsley in clean water. 
  • Remove the excess water by using a salad spinner or paper towels. Remove the parsley leaves from the stems.
  • Place a few parsley leaves inside each cubicle of the ice cube tray and top up with water. Be sure to use as little water as possible. Olive oil or cooking oil can be added instead of water if a stronger taste is preferred. Parsley frozen in oil will melt sooner when added to dishes.
  • Chopped or minced parsley can also be instead of whole leaves.
  • Place the tray in the freezer until all the cubes are frozen.
  • Transfer the frozen cubes into a ziplock bag.
  • Squeeze out the air, seal, label and return it to the freezer.

How to preserve parsley by drying

Drying is an ancient and unparalleled physical procedure of food conservation used for direct preparation of food products as well as for further processing in the food industry. It has always been a valuable and common practice of conservation, ensuring the availability of food and medicinal products all year long (8).

Drying will preserve parsley for about a year, when stored in the refrigerator and up to three months when stored in a cool, dry location (5). However, all the texture and some flavor and aroma will be lost by drying. Dried parsley is mostly used to flavor mixed with other dried herbs.

There are several methods to dry parsley. 

Parsley can be dried by:

  • Air-drying
  • Sun-drying
  • Using a food dehydrator
  • Using an oven
  • Using a microwave

Dried parsley must always be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place away from moisture. Dried parsley can also be frozen for about a year and a half but once again, there will be a loss of flavor.

You can find out more about the methods used to dry parsley here.

Other FAQs about Parsley that you may be interested in.

Can you cook parsley?

How long does parsley last in the fridge?

What can I substitute for parsley?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve parsley” and discussed the different methods used to preserve parsley.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.


  1. Gajewska, Danuta, et al. Intake of dietary salicylates from herbs and spices among adult polish omnivores and vegans. Nutrients, 2020, 12, 2727.
  2. RANGA, Adriana DAVID, and Mircea MUNTEAN. The Effect of Cold Storage on Some Quality Characteristics of Minimally Processed Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Dill (Anethum graveolens) and Lovage (Levisticum officinale) Giorgiana Mihaela CĂTUNESCU, Maria TOFANĂ, Crina MUREŞAN, Floricuţa. Bull UASVM Agri, 2012, 69, 2.
  3. Sitarek-Andrzejczyk, Monika, Jarosław Przybył, and Marek Gajewski. The effect of post-harvest treatment and storage conditions on vitamin C content in two leafy parsley cultivars. International scientific conference RURAL DEVELOP, 2017
  4. Nübling, S., Hägele, F., Schweiggert, R.M. et al. Effect of Different Wash Water Additives and Deep-Frozen Storage on the Quality of Curly Parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. crispum). Food Bioprocess Technol, 2019, 12, 158–165.
  5. Lambert,A. Preserving Herbs. 2022. University of South Dakota.
  6. Harvesting, cooking with and preserving herbs. University of Illinois.
  7. Evans, Judith A., ed. Frozen food science and technology. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
  8. Calín-Sánchez, Ángel, et al. Comparison of traditional and novel drying techniques and its effect on quality of fruits, vegetables and aromatic herbs. Foods, 2020, 9, 1261.