How to Revive Wilted Greens and Herbs

Wilted Greens
If you've ever opened your refrigerator's vegetable crisper only to discover that "crisp" is a relative term, you can understand the value of being able to do a little quick first aid on your limp cilantro, parsley or dill. Even better, these strategies can also work on veggies like lettuce and celery.

Reviving Wilted Greens and Herbs

Vegetables have stems and veins designed to deliver moisture and nutrients to the plant (usually). You can piggyback your efforts to revitalize your herbs and vegetables onto this natural nutrient delivery network. Here's how:

Make a diagonal cut across the stems of your cut (wilted) produce. This will hopefully make it possible for the plant to take up water. Once that's done, give the herbs a cold water bath in your sink. It's a good idea to add a little crushed ice or a few ice cubes to the water, too. Time is your friend here, so give the leaves time to rehydrate - fifteen minutes or longer is a good rule of thumb.

If you are successful in getting your herbs to firm up, but don't plan on using your refreshed produce right away, then place the stems in a cup of cold water. It's best to do this without taking the stems out of the water bath first because exposure to air can cause bubbles to form on the ends of the stems that block continued water uptake to the leaves. One solution is to dunk the cup in the water bath too, and place the stems inside the cup while both are submerged. It sounds more complicated than it is.

After the restored veggies are in the cup, blot the tops dry and put them in your refrigerator. After wetting them, it's best to use them within a day or so. Another option is to place them in a salad spinner to spin off the excess moisture. (This last method works very well with lettuce.) The principles here can be a little counterintuitive: water inside the plant is a good thing; water outside the plant is usually a bad thing.

When the Prognosis Looks Bleak

If your veggies are really distressed, there may be a last ditch option you can try: Create an ice water bath in your sink and prep the veggies as outlined above, but add a tablespoon of salt and a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the water and swirl it around before adding the vegetables. I'm guessing that the amount of water for this is roughly a gallon and a half. Sometimes this method works and sometimes your poor produce is beyond reviving.