My Parsley Problem, solved

What I used to refer to as “my parsley problem” was the fact that I wasted so much of it. It’s a staple in our house, I use it for a few of our favorite meals, and so I’d buy it at the market almost every week. And every week, I’d toss out at least half of it, or the whole thing if we hadn’t had clams linguini or salmon patties. It usually lasted a couple of weeks, but it was never used up. I know some people have this same problem with cilantro or other fresh herbs. You want to have it on hand, but at the same time you never use the entire bunch.

This was the easy solution. I bought a parsley plant for about a dollar, planted it with whatever potting soil I had, and made sure I watered it a couple of times a week. Now every time we have clams linguini, I just go outside and clip off what we need. No waste, ever.

It’s a small thing, but you know my philosophy: baby steps. It’s easy to change a habit by incremental degrees.

Maybe I should be posting this the next time we have zero food waste, but I felt like mixing things up a bit! Do you have any examples of a problem you’d accepted for years, that you were able to change with one small action? Something that saved energy or food or time or money? Tell us about it in the Comments section.


  1. Bellen says

    Same problem, my solution:
    Parsley is a biennial – will bloom the 2nd year, works well as a houseplant in the winter as long as it gets sun. Two years with only one purchase. Now I plant seeds.

    Cilantro is a very,very easy plant to grow as an annual. When the plant gets out of control I dry the cilantro, crumble and put in a jar for use in the winter. If it goes to seed you get CORIANDER!! A dual plant is wonderful. Saves me from buying either herb – a packet of seed has lasted 3 years, cheaper than one plant.

  2. Cate says

    I'm dying to plant some herbs. Some of the time I don't even buy fresh herbs because I'm afraid we'll waste them, even though they really make a huge difference in the way things taste.

  3. RedStateGreen says

    Problem = too many paper grocery bags + too much trash

    Solution = put paper trash and other compostable stuff in paper bags, dump full bags in compost bin, add the bags if they are greasy/soiled.

  4. Jill says

    I treat herbs as if they were cut flowers.
    I trim the stem ends under water and place the bunch in a jar with water an inch or two above the stem ends. If you have a kitchen window [and no cats!!] you can keep them there for quite a while. Just change the water regularly.
    I have no window in my kitchen, so I keep mine on the door of the
    fridge…always fresh herbs on hand.
    This works well for green onions, as well.

  5. This Thrifted Life says

    Fresh herbs are the BEST. We had parsley and basil last year, and I can't wait to have an entire herb garden this year. Herbs are so easy, delicious, and make the kitchen smell wonderful.

  6. Angela says

    Bellen- I haven't ever planted seeds, but I think I'll try it in the spring. Good to know my parsley plant should last another year (a year and a half since I planted in May).

    Cate- I think the easiest to start with is basil- if you get a plant that's happy where it is, it grows really fast. I think you can plant some herbs inside as long as they're near a window.

    RedStateGreen- That's a great solution- I could use more "brown" like paper bags in my compost bin.

    Jill- That's a great idea. We've been doing that with lettuce and it lasts for weeks!

    This Thrifted Life- I love them too. We had parsley, basil, thyme, and marjoram this year and I used them constantly. Fresh herbs make vegetables taste so much better.

    Thanks for all your comments!

  7. Ellen says

    Come on over in the spring and I'll split some of the herbs in my garden for you. My favorite is my garlic chive plant. Also gotten into many different kinds of basil–pineapple basil, chocolate basil–fun stuff!

  8. Non Consumer Girl says

    Your "green thumb" could also be the solution to your salad greens dilemma with food waste that you have previously blogged about.
    My Dad grows a variety of mixed lettuce leaves in his small garden and says they are very easy to grow, and just pulls off some leaves when needed for the salad.

  9. Gayle A. Robison, DVM says

    You will find that Italian flatleaf parsley is just as easy to grow, and much more suited for culinary purposes. Remember that parsley is a heavy feeder and likes nitrogen. It is prone to bolting in the heat, and may or may not automatically bolt in the spring since it is a biennial.

  10. Angela says

    Ellen- I will definitely take you up on that offer- thanks! Herbs seem to be super easy to grow in California.

    Non Consumer Girl- I think you're right. I'm going to try growing some lettuce in crates this spring. Our soil is awful, so the pots or crates work well.

    Gayle- Thanks for the tip. I only use this in two specific dishes, but they're ones we eat pretty often. I'll see what this plant does in the spring. So far so good, being California.

    Biche- You're welcome. It really couldn't be easier. All I do is water it every 3 or 4 days. It takes care of itself.

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