This recipe originally ran in the April 01, 2014 Kokua News email newsletter. A hat tip to Michelle Schwengel-Regala, who recommended the combination of parsley and lemon to me!
You bought a bunch of parsley and used just two little sprigs. Now what?
Used as a seasoning, parsley is a wonderful herb for adding a brightness and balance to the flavor of savory dishes. It's also a nutritious green packed with Vitamin C, iron, and beta-carotene, with a history of being used medicinally for digestion.
To have small amounts on hand for use in cooked dishes, you can freeze parsley in ice cubes. Chop or puree the leaves, measure out into an ice cube tray (a teaspoon per cube works well), pour in enough water to cover the parsley completely, and then freeze. When solid, the ice cubes can be taken out of the tray and stored in a freezer bag or container.
Parsley tea can be made with both leaves and stems - about 1/4 cup, chopped, steeped in 1 cup of boiling water, makes a pleasant drink.
Parsley lemonade is sometimes a sugary drink with just a bit of parsley flavor. This recipe delivers a bracing, unsweetened beverage, great post-workout/post-run replenishment, or for cooling and refreshing in hot weather. You can strain this for a smoother result, or keep all the fiber in if you like. The quantities below are just guidelines - usually I just work with what I have and adjust a bit if needed.
1 bunch parsley, leaves and stems (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
1 cup water
slice of fresh ginger (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)
Roughly chop the stems (the long fibers can wrap around a blender blade assembly and slow or burn out the motor). Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Use about 2 Tbs to a glass of water (about 1 1/2 cups) or to taste. Freeze the puree in an ice cube tray, then use a few cubes as ice in a glass of water (still or sparkling) or put in your water bottle to slowly thaw.
If you have kidney disease or are pregnant, you may wish to consult a medical doctor before consuming more than a tablespoon or two of parsley daily, as the naturally occuring oxalates and stimulant effects may be harmful under certain conditions.