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TIP OF THE DAY: How To Revive Wilted Vegetables

You can crisp everything but the garlic. Photo
by Scott Bauer | U.S. Agricultural Research
Service.

 

Sometimes, you bring vegetables home from the store and find them wilted the next day.

Other times, you forget about the vegetables for days, then find them wilted.

This tip helps you revive asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, celery, greens, lettuce, scallions, zucchini and much of what you’d put on a crudité plate.

Vegetables wilt when they dry out. You can restore the moisture with an ice bath:

Fill a bowl with water with ice cubes. Add the vegetables (cut as you plan to use them) and let them sit for 15 minutes or longer. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain on a cloth or paper towel.

Voilà: Your soft veggies are now crisp veggies, thanks to a chemical process known as turgor pressure.*

IT WORKS FOR GRILLING, TOO

Before you grill them, put your vegetables in an ice bath. When they come off the grill, they’ll be moist and crisp.

 

HOW TO PREVENT VEGETABLES FROM WILTING IN THE FIRST PLACE

Refrigerators have crispers to help vegetables remain fresh in a moister environment; the drawers trap moisture and slow the dehydration.

Some crisper drawers have controls that regulate the moisture level in the crisper. If your crisper has settings, make sure to choose “Vegetables.” Fruits prefer less moisture rather than more: That’s why there are separate drawers for fruits and vegetables.

If there’s no more room in the crisper, store the vegetables in plastic bags or containers.

Mushrooms should be stored in paper bags or wrapped in paper towels, rather than stored in plastic. Remove any plastic wrap from a carton of mushrooms and replace it with paper.

What Not To Put In The Fridge

  • Eggplant, onions (except green onions/scallions), potatoes and squashes. These vegetables prefer cool rather than cold storage.
  • Tomatoes. Cold sucks the flavor from tomatoes. They should be refrigerated only after they are fully ripe and if they have been cut, exposing the surface to bacteria. Even then, use them up quickly.
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    *Turgor pressure: Turgor pressure. In wilted vegetables, the water inside the cells has evaporated, lowering the pressure on the cell walls. Think of a balloon loosing its air. When the vegetable soaks up the water (osmosis), the water pushes against the cell walls, making them hard (crisp) again—like reinflating the balloon. That’s because the water pressure inside the vegetable cells is greater than the air pressure outside the vegetable. Turgor pressure gets its name from the turg?re,  to swell. This is also the root of our word turgid (Latin turgidus), meaning swollen and distended (as well as pompous and bombastic).

      





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