How Long Does Fresh Parsley Last and How to Keep It Fresh

Here’s all you need to know about the shelf life and storage of fresh parsley. Learn how long parsley lasts, how to store it, and when to toss it.

So you’ve bought a bunch of parsley, and you’re wondering how many days it can sit in the fridge. How long does fresh parsley last?

Or maybe you feel like yours always wilts and goes mushy way too soon, and you’d like to fix that. So how do you keep parsley fresh?

Sounds familiar?

If so, this article is for you. Read on.

How Long Does Fresh Parsley Last?

Fridge
Fresh parsley in plastic bag5 – 7 days
Fresh parsley wrapped in moist paper towels in a zip-top bag10 – 14 days

Fresh parsley typically lasts for about 5 to 7 days if you refrigerate it sealed in the produce bag. If you’d like to prolong that to 10 to 14 days, wrap the bunch in a moist paper towel and place it in a zip-top bag.

Of course, these periods are only rough estimates. Your storage time may vary because it also depends on how fresh the parsley was when you bought it, how well you wrapped it, and so on.

Generally speaking, your fresh parsley should keep for at least 5 days if you simply toss the plastic bag in the fridge. And if you need more, a bit of effort is required.

Let’s talk about helping your parsley stay fresh for longer.

Iceberg lettuce salad
Iceberg lettuce salad with parsley

How to Store Fresh Parsley to Keep It Fresh for Longer?

The best method to store fresh parsley is to wrap it in a damp paper towel and seal it in a resealable bag. The paper towel helps the herb retain moisture for longer and wicks away any excess, while the bag keeps all the moisture inside.

And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

Like other herbs, fresh parsley typically wilts and turns mushy over time. And after the bunch becomes wet, the process seems to speed up.

That’s where the paper towel comes in. It absorbs any extra water, so it doesn’t end up as water drops on the parsley. But what’s even more important, it’s moist (not wet) to prevent or at least significantly slow down the water loss in the first place.

That’s what helps the parsley stay fresh for longer, and that’s why using a dry paper towel isn’t nearly as effective. The parsley still loses water quite quickly and goes soft pretty soon if not wrapped in a moist towel.

(Similar approach works for other fresh herbs, including chives or rosemary.)

But what if you don’t feel like spending that extra time wrapping your parsley?

Storing Parsley in the Produce Bag

Leaving your parsley sealed tight in its produce bag is good enough for the herb to retain decent quality for 5 to 7 days. All you need to do is to twist the bag and place it seam-side down in the fridge.

The bag keeps all the moisture inside, which results in the parsley losing water much more slowly than if it wasn’t sealed.

Of course, simply twisting the bag or tying a knot isn’t a perfect seal, so some leaves near the closing will probably wilt, but the majority should survive the mentioned five to seven days pretty well.

Other Storage Methods

There are a few other storage methods, such as storing the herb in water, but they don’t seem to help all that much. You might get an extra day or two of decent quality, but it’s probably not worth the effort.

The two ways to get the most bang for your buck are:

  • twist the bag and toss it in the fridge if you’re pressed for time, or
  • wrap the bunch using a moist paper towel and seal it in a freezer bag.

If you’re interested in learning a bit more about storing fresh parsley, this article in the Kitchn is a really interesting read. It covers storing parsley in water in more detail, including what happens if you actually do so.

If you have much more parsley than you can ever use in a week or two, other preservation options include drying and freezing.

If you’re thinking about drying the herb, you can do so using:

But for now, let’s talk about freezing.

Plate of creamy carrot soup
Creamy carrot soup, topped with frozen fresh parsley leaves

Can You Freeze Parsley?

Freezing parsley is as simple as it gets. You wash and dry the herb, cut it up, transfer it to a freezer bag, and then in your freezer.

The most important part of the process is properly drying the leaves after washing.

I usually spread wet parsley on a clean kitchen towel and leave it to air dry for about 30 minutes, then come back to remove any leftover moisture using paper towels.

Once the leaves are nice and dry, you chop the parsley as you usually do for your recipes and place it in a freezer bag. Then you release any excess air from the bag, seal it tight, and freeze it.

Tip

If it’s not obvious that parsley is inside the bag, I suggest you add a label with the name and freezing date for later reference.

Some recommend pre-freezing the parsley on a cooking tray so it doesn’t stick. But if you do a good job of drying the leaves, there usually isn’t any sticking, hence no need for pre-freezing.

Last but not least, it’s best to scoop frozen parsley with a spoon instead of your fingers so that you don’t defrost a whole bunch of leaves with your warm fingers.

Finally, let’s talk about the spoilage signs of parsley.

How to Tell if Parsley Is Bad?

Discard parsley if:

  • It’s slimy or mushy. These are the typical signs of water loss, and if your parsley gets to that point, it’s time for it to go.
  • The leaves are yellowing or otherwise discolored. Even the greenest bunches often have some discolored sprigs, and I suggest you discard those before or after washing. They aren’t bad (spoiled), but they’ll probably taste bitter or off and might affect the taste of whatever you’re cooking. It’s best to toss them, but using them won’t make you sick.
  • The bunch smells off. If your fresh parsley gives off a putrid smell, it’s obvious it’s no good.
  • It’s moldy. Too much moisture might lead to mold. This isn’t common in herbs, but if you notice any mold growing on your bunch, it’s done for.

As always, if anything else about your parsley seems off, trust your gut and discard the herb. Better safe than sorry.

Parsley Shelf Life and Storage Summary

Thank you for reading this short guide on parsley. Let’s briefly recap what we’ve covered above:

  • How long does fresh parsley last? Fresh parsley lasts about 5 to 7 days if sealed in a plastic bag and refrigerated. If you wrap it in a moist paper towel and store it in a zip-top bag, it should retain quality for 10 to 14 days. For longer storage times, consider drying or freezing it.
  • How to store parsley to keep it fresh? The best way to store parsley is to wrap it in moist paper towels and store it in a resealable bag. If you’re pressed for time, take the bag and place it seam-side down in the fridge.