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Jan 27, 2005 11:12 AM

Efficient way to de-stem fresh herbs?

  • l

There must be an easier way to separate thyme/oregano/cilantro/parsley leaves from stems than laboriously hand-plucking. In a fit of sloth, I sometimes chop parsley with the stems, but that doesn't work for the woody stems of fresh thyme.

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  1. Why not run them between the tines of a fork, while lightly pinching with your thumb and index finger as you drag?

    Mr. Taster

    1. For parsley or cilantro, I run my knife along where the leaves join the stem and that gets most of the leaves off. The rest I just remove by hand.

      1. a
        A Fish Called Wanda

        For parsley, cilantro, and dill, I hold the stem in one hand, gently grab the leaves with the other hand and pull them off the stem (in the direction of growth). This allows you to do a whole sprig at once without having to do each individual leaf.

        For rosemary, and thyme (or tougher herbs), I go the other way. Hold the tip of the sprig where the leaves are the yongest with one hand, and pull the leaves of the stem with your other hand (against direction of growth).

        So there is no super fast way, but there is a way to do it a sprig at a time rather than a leaf at a time.

        Hope this helps.

        1. When using chopped parsley as an ingredient in recipes, I usually don't remove leaves from stems; I even take about another inch or so of stem along with leaves. Am I wrong to be doing this? Funny, that the topic should appear now because I was going to post this question the other day, but I wanted to search for answer in my cookbooks first; I couldn't find answer, though.

          1. I was going to ask this very question today. I only have issues with the thyme I have growing in my garden. Maybe I am growing a particularly small leaf variety, but it takes FOREVER to get these tiny little leaves off the woody stalks. The leaves don't strip off nicely like they do with other herbs. They are so small that I can hardly get my fingers on them. I'm going to plant some other variety this spring and hope for the best. As for parsley and cilantro I am guilty of chopping some stems with the leaves. I do remove the larger main stems though.