Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme

I’m celebrating a little personal gardening victory today: just chopped a large mound of Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, yielding one full measure cup from half of one plant. I’ve never had this much fresh parsley before this year. Usually it bolts by August. Still more remains for me to harvest for fall and winter soups and stews.

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In spite of a summer of yo-yo temperatures and almost a couple of weeks of smoke from wildfires, the herbs in my potager have blessed me with bountiful yields. Not only the Italian parsley, but also sage, rosemary, and two types of thyme — German and Lemon. All these, along with basil and dill, I used during the summers by pinching off just what I need for a particular recipe.

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Last year I learned how to chop parsley at the butcher’s in Rosauers when I paused to watch him chopping away on a large wood cutting board.


He was better than a television cooking show!

However, my first attempt at home was less than satisfactory. Just picked fresh herbs, with stems still attached, don’t yield right away to a knife blade. My first bunch merely turned to mush, so I decided to used only fresh leaves as I needed them for recipes. Now I know better.

First step after harvesting about half the plant is to rinse the bunch under cool running water. Roll loosely in a kitchen towel and pat somewhat dry. Spread on a drying screen or in a large vegetable strainer.

When you are ready to process the parsley, carefully remove the leaves from the stems and pile in the middle of a wood or marble board. Keep your piles small enough to chop finely through with a large kitchen knife or herb cutter.

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Return the finely chopped parsley to the drying screen or basket and spread out. Set aside away from heat and allow to dry thoroughly before storing in small glass jars. Label and date.

Sage and thyme can be harvested or left to snip as needed all winter, even under snow. Rosemary, however, must be potted and brought indoors in most climates.

I dry sprigs of thyme on a screen, then rub bunches between my palms to release the dried leaves and discard the stems. Finally, I store the crushed leaves in a glass jar.

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Just short of fifty years of holy matrimony, I am blessed to be a mother of two and grandmother of seven. Much of my writing speaks to the culture and tradition of the Deep South, where I spent the first thirty-five years of my life before relocating to the Pacific Northwest. As a poet and essayist, I’ve published both online and in print media. In mid-February 2019, I launched Roses in the Rain: A Daughter's Story, following a successful couple years of Invitation to the Garden, both on Watch for upcoming installments to the memoir blog every Tuesday. The garden posts follow on Friday/Saturday. I look forward to hearing from you all!

6 thoughts on “Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme”

  1. This year I grew the flat leaf parsley in addition to the curly leaf, which I usually grow. It seems to have been slower to produce than the curly leaf. I harvest it and make Parsley Pesto in my food processor. I also dried some in my dehydrator. I have tried to grow rosemary as a perennial here like everyone did back in North Carolina, but alas, even the cold-hardy species succumbed to our cold winters. So I just dry all the leaves and buy a new plant each year. And, I had several parsley plants come up from reseeding from last year! I was stunned!

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    1. Congratulations, Peg! You are still learning! So am I, and I’ve been a transplanted Southerner long than you have. Through trial and retrial, I learned that rosemary must be potted and brought inside for the winters; however, the plant actually grows better when planted in the ground, but that means extra work to dig up and pot it. Therefore, I just keep it in a large clay pot and haul back and forth. Even so, my rosemary plants usually thrive for three years max, then just wither away in dried needles.

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  2. I see from your photo you put bay leaves in a jar. I keep a potted plant inside by the French doors and harvest leaves as I need them. I’ve been harvesting herbs and seeds this week as well, putting calendula leaves in oil, etc. It takes a LOT of dried herbs (Mandarin orange balm, lemon balm, lemon verbena, sage, hyssop, thyme, lemon thyme, elderflowers, orange mint, apple mint, spearmint, etc. to keep me in teas all winter!) Love your cutter…forget the proper name for it.

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    1. Thanks, Carolee, but actually I don’t have one of those curved cutters yet. I had to “borrow” that picture from online stock photos. Yes, I put bay leaves in jars or empty tea cannisters, whatever is handy. Sadly, a little bay tree, potted, doesn’t last more than a winter or so inside because of dry forced-air heat. And I forgot all about my spearmint growing almost wild in the perennial borders. I prefer to use any of the mints fresh as I can crush the leaves into a beverage for a livelier flavor and scent.


      1. Just looked it up: It’s called a French Curved Chopper, or Mezzaluna Round Knife, and costs $100+ each. No wonder I don’t have one! Maybe Amazon? $10 to $30 and up to nearly $100. Maybe for Christmas?


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