How to Revive Limp Vegetables
Don't throw out your wilting veggies! Give them new life with these easy steps.
We've all been there before, your week is busy as can be and by the time Friday rolls around, your dinner options are a bunch of limp produce in the crisper. But don't toss those vegetables just yet! We've got solutions for reviving them that are a snap, from renewing ice water baths to reconstituting dry produce with sauces.
Learn how to save your produce with our easy steps:
We've all had scallions turn into a slimy unusable mess. To prevent that from happening, remove the rubber band holding them together and pop your bunch of scallions in a glass for a few hours, just like a bouquet of flowers. Use only an inch of cold water and refill it as needed, keeping the glass in the fridge. If your scallions were sitting in the crisper or on the counter and do turn slimy, you can enact this same process, shocking the roots in cold water, but it may not remove all the stickiness. If so, take a sharp chef's or paring knife to them and peel off the outer layer to find the center that is still fresh, which you can still use.
With carrots, which are relatively hardy, you can usually easily revive them overnight. The diagnosis is this: if your carrots can be bent into any shape but a straight line, they need some TLC. Cut a thin slice off the bottoms and submerge them in a bowl of cold clean water, which you'll place in your fridge on the coldest shelf. Sure, you can use them after about an hour of soaking, but if you ignore them until the next day you should have crisp carrots just begging to be eaten.
Limp celery is the worst — after all, it's that crunch you love. If you want to see if you can still make your kids' favorite snack of ants on a log, then you have two options: you can do the "bouquet of flowers" trick and stand them up in a glass of cold water in the fridge for at least a couple hours, or you can shock them in a bowl of ice water in the fridge for an hour or more. We find that for celery in a dire, limp condition, cutting the leaves and roots off and shocking them entirely works better and faster. If it's just not happening, you can use your celery for a mirepoix or as the base of a stir-fry or soup.
Lettuce (And Other Delicate, Thin Greens)
Yes, you can actually revive lettuce and delicate greens of all kinds. If you've been away on vacation during the hot spring or summer months and returned to wilted lettuce in your garden, you can water the plants to give them some extra life, or you can pick the leaves that are (seemingly) irreparably wilted and plunge them in an ice bath with a little splash of lemon juice or vinegar.
Kale (Or Any Dark Leafy Greens)
If your kale isn't crunchy anymore, it's time to crack open your freezer. Since the large stems should absorb water better than the tough leaves, try standing your kale up in a glass of water with some ice cubes in it. Or if your greens are in really bad shape, plunge them into a salad bowl with some ice water and a tablespoon of salt. If cold water doesn't work, try making kale chips in the oven, though you'll want to check them frequently, since they're already dryer and will take less time in the oven to turn into chips.
Peppers are a tricky bunch, with their ability to bounce back depending on the type of pepper and the thickness of the skin. If they've lost their crispness and you want them for salads, you can slice them up and try a 10 minute ice bath in a bowl. You can also pickle the peppers, even in their limp state. If they've gotten too dry to return to crispness, pour boiling water over them, then allow them rehydrate for 20 minutes and rinse them in cold water before cooking. If none of the above work, puree the peppers and add them to spaghetti sauce, make hot sauce, or stuff the peppers and roast them.