Making parsley turn in boxes or “the putting green” as it is commonly referred to as is time consuming to say the least. First you have to find parsley no easy task sometimes. You need to find parsley that is all the same shade of green – and that looks alike. You may decide to do a combo lettuce and parsley box or straight up lettuce the choice is yours! I personally do parsley boxes 100% of the time. Our team is small – just my husband and I and the occasional friend that shows up. This task always falls on my lap. I have had many a night where myself and a few friends have had parsley parties working on the 4 turn in boxes for an hour or more. . However I have begun to get into the habit of doing them at home prior to a contest and transferring them on site. I first saw a version of this on the Pickled Pig Forum. This is how I do it.
Start with 4 turn in boxes and label them for each category – depending on how you present your food you may want a box that is fuller and or lower in height with the parsley.
Wash and rinse your parsley thoroughly. Parsley is grown in super moist soil and it can be very gritty when you purchase it.
For 4 boxes I will use anywhere from 12- 18 heads of parsley depending on the size and quality. If you are attending a contest with friends consider splitting the cost of a case. I place my parsley in a bin with a couple inches of water at the bottom to keep it moist and hydrated. IF you are keeping the parsley in your fridge for a couple of days make sure to change out the water.
For those teams travelling to the US from Canada – I suggest you buy only US parsley. We have never had a problem at the border. I keep a couple of the tags from the parsley to show it is a US product. This parsley is from Lil’ Bear Produce grown in Edinburg, Texas.
You will need heavy duty plastic wrap for this. – This stuff doesn’t stick to itself as much as a regular use plastic wrap. It is also much stronger.
Line a turn in box with plastic wrap leaving enough on each side to completely cover the turn in box.
Build your parsley box. For great instructions step by step you can visit the BBQ Brethren website. I skip the base of lettuce and just pack in a lot of parsley. (Thanks to Kim Groneman from Smoke on Wheels for teaching me this great tip!)
When you are all done and complete spritz with water.
Layer on damp paper towels and then the excess plastic wrap from the sides.
Place in fridge until you are ready to transport to a competition. I have done this 4 days in advance and as long as the parsley is fresh and the fridge is cold- it keeps just fine. A tip – each day ensure the paper towels are still moist. Not dripping just moist.
When you arrive on site and receive your real turn in boxes its time to transfer the parsley.. First spritz the plastic wrap with a bit of water to make the parsley slide easier.
Lift up one side and place your hand over the parsley.
Slide it all in. Make sure your plastic wrap is laying out smoothly to make the transfer easily.
Adjust any stray pieces and you are done. Cocktail time!