Herbs - Safely Trimming

Hi, everybody...
I am really new to this, so please bear with me...
I have started collecting herbs, parsley, coriander, etc. My undertanding is that I can keep these growing permanently, and just trim off a bit now and then for putting into dinner.
However, I am unsure about how much I can trim, while keeping the plants healthy.
Right now, I have them in 4-inch containers from the local store. Unless there are any other ideas, this weekend I will spread the individual plants/stems out a bit, and transfer them to 10- litre (2.5 gal) buckets.
Currently, the stems with leaves are up to about 10-inches.
Can I eat some now? Or should I wait for more growth?
Thanks for you help, and I love this NG!
Oh, oops... I should mention that I am in the Southern Hemisphere, so we are just now approaching springtime.
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snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.com says...
<snippied loads of very informative stuff about herbs>
OK, thanks very much for your help!
I've transferred them to 10-litre buckets, and will do some research for the long-term prospects regarding seeds.
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