Parsley grows better if you regularly cut a few stems to use in the kitchen.
By cutting back, you stimulate the development of new leaves. The plant will then become nice and bushy. But you should also remove leaves that are wilted or infested with pests.
Does Pruning Stimulate the Growth of Parsley?
Cutting parsley actually stimulates the growth of the plant. Therefore, it is important that you regularly cut suitable stems of the tasty and nutritious spice plant.
Here’s how to proceed when cutting parsley:
- Cut stems with at least three pairs of leaves
- Keep the heart of the parsley standing
- Always cut the outer stems first
- Cut out yellow leaves
When you want to harvest parsley, always cut the outermost stems first as a general rule.
At least three pairs of leaves should have formed on the stem, then the leaves are particularly aromatic.
Should I Cut Back Parsley Vigorously Before Vacations?
If it is foreseeable that you will not harvest your parsley for a long time, e.g. because you are on vacation, cut back the plants beforehand.
You can do this by removing all parsley stems except for the middle ones. You must not cut back the heart of the plant because the plant will die then.
By pruning, you prevent the leaves from turning yellow while you are away. And you will also encourage the growth of the parsley plant.
Upon your return, you will be able to harvest fresh parsley from a particularly bushy plant.
How to Cut Biennial Parsley
Parsley plants are biennials. In the second year, they begin to bloom in the summer. After that, they are no longer edible because of the poisonous apiol content.
Therefore, harvest any plants growing the second year beforehand and freeze the leaves if necessary.
Do You Need to Cut Back Parsley Before Winter?
Perennial parsley does not need to be pruned before winter.
Towards the end of the fall, the leaves will turn yellow. Eventually, the stems will pull back on their own.
Just before that, harvest the plants again and freeze the leaves. Then you will have almost fresh parsley available until the appearance of new parsley leaves in the spring.
Hot to Cut Parsley in the Kitchen
To prepare parsley for cooking, you should first wash the picked stems thoroughly to remove dirt and insects.
Cut the stems and pluck the leaflets from the top stems. Do not cut parsley into small pieces if you want to use it for decoration, but place it on the plate as a whole leaf or small clump.
If you want to season cottage cheese or other dishes with parsley, you should cut it nice and small.
Place the leaves on a cutting board while they are still wet, press them together a bit, and cut them into small pieces with a sharp knife. Experts cut parsley with a mezzaluna knife, which can have one or two blades.
If you have harvested too much parsley, you can simply freeze the parsley and use it later.
Can You Store Parsley in the Frige?
If you cut too much parsley, you can store any stems that aren’t going to be used right away in the refrigerator.
Wrap them in a damp kitchen paper towel and the herbs will stay fresh longer. However, you should not wait too long to process them.