Speedy Fresh Herb Trick: Skin the Leaves Off the Stems

Chopping herbs isn't a new skill to any cook in the kitchen, but we've recently come across a method that cuts down the time it takes to pick leaves off stems. This is especially useful for cilantro and parsley, where it is often necessary to use just the leaves and not the stems. This is a simple trick, not one that will change your life, but it can speed up your herb prep quite a bit!

Here's what we do. Instead of pulling leaves off stems one by one or in big clumps (and then rolling them together to make chopping easy) instead try to hold the bunch in your hand and run your knife straight down the stems. It's like peeling or skinning a vegetable, or scraping scales off a fish. The majority of the leaves will be removed in just a few seconds, leaving only a few left on the inner stems.

It's not earth shattering, but we have found this useful. Sometimes knowing a few little tips like this can put a meal together faster or promote the use of fresh ingredients instead of turning to the spice cabinet.

Do you have a quick kitchen tip, especially one on chopping or stemming herbs? How do you pick the leaves off parsley? (Or do you just chop everything, stems and all?) Drop us a line or leave us a note in the comments below.

• Related: Tips: Three Ways To Preserve Fresh Herbs

(Images: Sarah Rae Trover)