Friday, June 22, 2012

Keeping Vegetables Fresh

keepin' crisp

Oh look, it's a post! Apologies for going off the radar for so long. There was class, moving into a new place, I got sick, attended a wedding...things happened and also, procrastination. I am an expert at that. It's amazing the amount of ridiculously bad tv I can consume whilst avoiding any kind of productivity.

But enough of that. I'm here to tell you about keeping veggies fresh and crisp. A while ago I came across some great advice on Oh She Glows about how to prevent vegetables from going limp or drying out: store them in water! It's an amazingly simple and easy solution to something that used to drive me crazy. Limp celery, rubbery broccoli, etc. - who wants to make a salad or stir-fry with those? Blech. But after discovering this method of storing vegetables, I can keep produce fresh for a week - and even longer! - which is usually more than enough time to consume said vegetables.

So I thought I would share with ou a couple of food storage tips that I've picked up over the last few years, cooking in my own kitchen and working in a restaurant, that I think everyone can appreciate. They're simple, straightforward, not to mention useful!

Keeping Vegetables Fresh
This method works great for vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, jicama, rutabaga, turnips, and sugar snap peas, but not great for peppers (they tend to get waterlogged) or mushrooms. But feel free to experiment, and let me know what you discover!

1. Prep the vegetables you want to store: wash, peel (if necessary), and slice them.

2. Transfer the vegetables to a resealable container, and cover them with fresh, cold water. Store in the fridge. This will keep the vegetables fresh and crisp for at least 7 days, and even longer. Now you have prepped vegetables ready to use in salads, stir-frys, baked dishes, or just for ready or on-the-go snacking on hand!

off with their heads!crunch time
carrots, strippedcarrot sticks
splash of orangecelery, stayin' crunchy

Crisping Lettuce
I learned this little trick working in a restaurant kitchen, and it's come in handy many times! Many of us know that lettuce (romaine, green leaf, red leaf, iceberg) goes limp fairly quickly after purchase, but this trick will help you bring that lettuce back to life - no joke!

1. Fill your sink with clean, cold water (but not too cold! you don't want to shock the lettuce).

2. Cut a thin slice off the butt of the lettuce head (I don't know the technical term for it). It will likely look a reddish brown colour, and once you slice of a thin circle, it will look white. Slicing off the dried up part of the head of lettuce will allow it to soak up water and become crisp.

3. Submerge the entire head of lettuce in the sink full of water, and let it soak for about 15 minutes, until the leaves of crisp and firm.

4. Shake the lettuce, and turn it butt-side up to drain on a towel. Or, separate all the leaves, put them through a spinner, and store in a crisper.

Storing Fresh Herbs
This is something I discovered by accident, and I've only tried it with cilantro, but it REALLY works. I buy gigantic bunches of cilantro in Chinatown, the ones that don't have the roots cut off.

Look for herbs that still have their roots. Store them in the fridge in a plastic bag, loosely wrapped so that the bag isn't open to the air. I just fold the opening over to keep it closed. Usually cilantro would go limp after a day in the fridge, but this way, it stays fresh and crisp for at least 5 days! I haven't tried it with other herbs, but I assume it will work the same, though I can't guarantee it.


  1. Oh this a great tip for reviving my lettuce! Thanks :)

  2. Great information! I love discovering little tips and tricks for keeping food fresh. One of my favorites is to wash fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries...) in a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. Spread them out on a towel to air-dry, then store uncovered in the fridge, and they won't go moldy for ages! :)

    1. Thanks! And thank you for the tip! I'll definitely keep that in mind - especially since summer is now upon us! :)

  3. Great tips !! But I'm just wondering if the nutrition value of the vegetables would decrease by leaving it in water?

    1. Thanks! As to your question, I don't think so. The water isn't cooking or pickling them - the vegetables absorb the water which is what keeps them fresh. Vegetables like cucumber, celery, and lettuce are mostly water already anyways. If there is any nutritional loss, I can't imagine it would be very much.

  4. There are is a downside to this method. As far as I know, water soluble vitamins (B & C) wil 'leak' out of the veggies into the water until the level of vitamins in the veggies and water are the same. I think high temperatures just speed up the process. And of course, the longer you you store them, the less vitamins in water and veggies.
    But you can always drink the water to compensate :)

  5. Vegetables are found at the basis of our health, which is why all doctors recommend us to consume them as fresh as possible. There are vegetables which you can preserve for the winter or over the winter, such as peppers or tomatoes. If you want to keep parsley over the winter, here are a few hints on how you can do that.

  6. No one likes to taste a red, juicy tomato when it has a mushy spot on it or to have a salad made with brown, wilted lettuce! It is essential to keep vegetables fresh in order to retain the key nutrients in each vegetable, and to ensure a ripe, crunchy bite every time. Quick nutrition fact of common foods

  7. The next chapter looks at making fruits and vegetables an interesting part of every meal.

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