How to Use Freshen Wilted Vegetables

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Fresh vegetables are so much tastier and healthier than their canned or frozen counterparts, but they don't always stay fresh until you can use them. And who has time to go to the store every day or two? Here are some tips to keeping fresh veggies fresh for a much longer time and how to perk them up when they're getting wilted looking.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar

Don't Wash

  • Don't wash your cabbage. Leave it just as you bought it. If there's any wrapper, take it off and put it in your fridge - in a vegetable drawer - unwashed and it will last for weeks.

  • Cure them: The trick to keeping some of the orange veggies in great shape for the long haul is to cure them. Put them outside when it's nice and sunny and the temperature is about 80 degrees - five degrees one way or the other won't hurt anything. If the weather outside isn't terrific, try the cellar if it's the right temperature or the attic. Leave them there for about 12 days and they should keep through the entire winter for you.

  • Place in water: When celery becomes limp and unappealing, cut the bottom off (the part holding the stalks together) and stick them in cold water. Add a little bit - a tablespoon or two is good - of white vinegar to the water. The stalks will firm right up and be as crunchy as before.

  • Store properly: Carrots become limp really quickly. You can avoid this by cleaning them well and storing them properly. Use a scrub brush under the running water to clean the carrots. Dry them well with a clean dish towel. Put them in a zip-lock plastic bag. They will stay fresh for one to two weeks like this. If they do get wilted, use the same trick you did for the celery in step three.

  • Rinse and dry: Lettuce keeps best if you put it in a lettuce keeper after rinsing and drying it. Romaine works well if you take off the leaves, rinse and pat them dry and place them in a container with a tight seal. Most other leafy greens do well if you plop them in ice water with about a tablespoon or two of vinegar for eight or 10 minutes. This will liven them up and give them their crunch back.

  • Use them: Another alternative to hopelessly wilted vegetables is to use them as they are. Cook carrots, turnips, rutabagas and mash them - these taste great together. You can mix anything you can mash into mashed potatoes - mashed broccoli is great as is cauliflower. Throw in a little cheese and it'll taste just like you planned to use these this way.

  • Make pot pies, shepherd's pies, mixed vegetables in casseroles - add some breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs with butter or cheese and they'll be wonderful. Unless food is spoiled and bad for your health, there is always something you can do with it to make it appetizing. Look on-line for recipes and try something new. You may like it better than just plain fresh veggies.

Tips & Warnings

  • Water - cold with a little vinegar - will restore lots of veggies to their former crispness.
  • Consider cooking soups, casseroles or mashed potatoes mixed with veggies if you can't get them as crisp as you'd like.

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