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The Secret Shame of Parsley

September 23, 2012

Yesterday was the first day of fall, and I could imagine no better way to bring it in than by driving around the northernmost edges of the Capital Region (and maybe just slightly beyond) enjoying some delicious apple cider donuts. The full tale of the day is going to have to wait. But it was fun to spend the equinox eating donuts with new friends and with old.

Transitions into seasons are never quite a cut and dry affair. The first sign of fall was the first leaf that I saw which wasn’t entirely green. The second sign was the closing of Jumpin’ Jacks for the season. And even with the passing of the equinox, one could argue that fall isn’t officially here until one spends the day raking leaves.

And on the flip side there are the remaining vestiges of summer. Mrs. Fussy was saying just yesterday that we may have had our last warm and sunny day for the season. Only time will tell.

The one that’s on my mind however is the parsley.

Every Tuesday during the summer and fall, I pick up my haul of produce from our local CSA distribution spot. In addition to the array of fresh seasonal vegetables, there are also typically some fresh herbs for the taking. In the height of summer it’s basil. But even after the basil is gone, there is parsley.

And every week, for the past few weeks I’ve been taking my allotted small handful of parsley. I really like the stuff. My favorite thing to do is make an Italian salsa verde. It’s a quick spin through the food processor with some capers, anchovy, garlic, red chili flakes, lemon, oil and some other seasonings.

Except it’s a bit too intense for the kids. Earlier in the summer I was eating it with grilled vegetables. But I’ll even spread the salsa verde on toast to eat as a snack. My breath is something fierce afterward, but it’s delicious.

Despite my love of this fragrant condiment, perhaps the prospect of more salsa verde crostini was just too much to bear. Because I stopped making it. And the parsley began to stack up.

Now this isn’t the only use for parsley. I happen to enjoy a simple French persillade, which is just a fancy name for saying parsley chopped up with garlic. I enjoy tossing sauteed vegetables with the mixture to brighten them up.

The only problem is that all those little green bits in the food drive the fussy little children into apoplexy. And since I really just don’t want to have that fight, I keep this off the menu.

It’s been too warm to make chicken stock, but that soon will change, and I’ll start using up my chicken carcasses again. If I have any parsley on hand by the time that rolls around, I could put some in at the very end of the cooking process to lend some bright green flavor to the long cooked broth.

And I also know that it’s simple to chop up the parsley and freeze it in an ice cube tray for use in the winter.

However, none of this stops the parsley from just sitting in the fridge.

Week after week it just sits. When it comes home, I put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. And there it stays. For the past few weeks I haven’t touched any of it. So the subsequent Tuesday, a new bag sits on top of the old one. Now I have four weeks of parsley stacked up in the fridge, and I can’t bear to look and face my shame.

Certainly not all of it is past redemption. But I hate to waste food, and I hate to admit to failure. So I’ve been quietly ignoring the growing pile of old parsley in our fairly limited refrigerator space.

The one good news is that last week I thought the refrigerator was dying. So I turned the thermostat a bit cooler in the fridge. That caused some of the parsley to actually freeze. You might be asking yourself, “Why is damaged parsley a good thing?”

Because then I can throw it away with a clean conscience.

That is the secret shame of my parsley. It’s a mess. I am wantonly wasting precious food. And what could potentially be saved I’m ignoring, just so I don’t have to face my shame. It’s a vicious cycle, and I know exactly how it will end. It is not going to be pretty.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2012 8:20 pm

    Dude, hang and dry it, then store for future use! We have all manner of herbs, garlic, lavender, chamomile hanging from a rack in our kitchen. When it’s dried, we hand pick it into containers for winter. You can do it too.

  2. September 23, 2012 10:24 pm

    Make friends with someone who has a guinea pig (ahem) or a rabbit. Probably one with a critter closer to you would be helpful.
    Or even better, buy your kids one. You’ll never waste herbs again! ;)
    (Kidding, pets are a big commitment…blah blah blah)

  3. September 23, 2012 10:54 pm

    Make it into tabbouleh… huge consumer of parsley. Then take said tabbouleh to a From Scratch Club food swap and trade it for sweet or soft things the Fussies will eat.

    Or, deep fry it. Parsley has a sturdy cell structure that takes well to this. Serve it to the kids and tell them it is green french fries.

  4. September 25, 2012 4:01 pm

    I learned a few new recipes for parsley reading this! You can always puree and freeze in an ice cube tray for future use.

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