Root Vegetable

How to Revive Wilty, Droopy, Squishy Vegetables

November  9, 2015

Squishy Beet, Droopy Celery, and Limp Carrot have been hanging around the bottom of your crisper for some time (weeks?). They’re getting wiltier by the day as you’re feeling guiltier, knowing their destination is not your mouth but really the compost. This happens often. You ask yourself: Why did you buy celery root, again? We can’t answer that, but we can save your vegetables.

Hang in there, bud. We got you.

Vegetables go limp because they’re dehydrated; they lose water as time goes on and lose their turgidity and crispness. They hold up better, then, in more humid, colder environments (i.e., the refrigerator). 

To bring perk back to your vegetables, let them drink water. Plunk them in a bowl of ice water. Or, to save water, you could stick the root part in a jar filled with water, like you did in science class

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Depending on how limp your veg is and what type of veg we’re talking about, the specimen could be revived from anywhere between 15 minutes (celery) and one hour (peeled potatoes). You could also stick the bowl right in the fridge to keep the water and vegetable cool.

Once the vegetable is back in action, use it how you might have when you bought it however many weeks ago. The good news is, when water leaves the veg, minerals and other good things do not. 

Top: Celery after 15 minutes in an ice bath; bottom: Still sad, thirsty celery.

So what all can be revived? We had good success with root vegetables and plants with porous outsides like celery. Herbs, too. In our experiments, we found that sturdier vegetables, like thicker stalks of celery, did a better job being resuscitated. The leaves on our celery were far too far gone to ever see life again. We also wouldn’t try reviving vegetables that have a propensity to rot as days go by, like zucchini and lettuce (though if you’re not afraid of a little mold, let us know how it goes). 

Have you ever brought a vegetable back from the brink? Share your stories in the comments.

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Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.

1 Comment

Liz D. November 9, 2015
I had a limp bunch of broccoli & cut a little off the bottom of the stems, and put it in a cup of water, like you would put flowers in a vase. I covered it with a produce bag & stuck it back in the fridge, and later that day it was firm again. That's how I keep asparagus too, I cut about 1/2 inch off the stems when I get home from the store & put them in a cup of water. It keeps very well that way