The Best Possible Way to Store Fresh Green Vegetables

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Put Your Green Vegetables in Bowls of Water

Here's a tip to keep your vegetables fresh and green - and to save waste. In fact, if you store your cabbage this way, you might find that there’s absolutely no waste whatsoever.

I'm not sure if anyone else does this, I've certainly never come across others who do, but it works well for me. It's a no-brainer idea, and it's so simple, easy and efficient, I'd be surprised if I'm unique with this: -

When you get your fresh greens home from the supermarket, stick them in a bowl of water, as you would fresh flowers. They’ll keep alive and healthy for weeks, even months, like that - and they’ll start to grow.

Quinoa Log With Broccoli and Tomato and Toasted Sunflower Seed Topping
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Update To Storing Fresh Broccoli

I live in a cold climate and since I first published this article, a couple of years ago I've found that in the winter months there's less need to refrigerate broccoli. Broccoli too, kept out of the fridge in vases or bowls in way described here will burgeon.

Especially if it feels a bit limp and rubbery when you get it home from the supermarket, you can put it in water just like the other vegetables mentioned here and it'll start to firm up and thrive. Just make sure you get it into the fridge if you see signs of it flowering.

They'll Start to Grow Little Roots

However, don't immerse them too deeply in the water - just cover the roots, or the area where the roots once were. The idea is to let them draw water up through their stems. The water line in particular, is where most decomposition takes place, and therefore, where you'll get most bacteria. You can throw that bit away, without feeling too guilty about waste.

They start to perk up and regain their vitality after an hour or two in the water; they're not so limp and dull looking.

Cabbages, spring greens, kale and celery all respond well to this type of storage. Eventually, they even start to grow little roots all around where the harvesters cut the original roots away. The leaves on celery grow very quickly this way; they shoot up past where the old leaves were cut, in no time. Of course, celery is used mainly for the stalks, in mirepoix(s), (dunno how to spell the plural) and salads, so the leaves aren't really used for eating, but they brighten up the kitchen. However, I eat everything - (except, I wash off the bird pooh).

Lettuce stores well this way too - but it’s not as hardy as cabbage; it tends to rot up from the roots after a while. However, it survives, full of vitality, much longer than in the vegetable rack, or the fridge, like this. Mind you, if you want your lettuce fresh, you can buy it potted now, still growing in soil, as you can many of the fresh herbs available in the stores, these days.

If you have quite a few cabbages growing in bowls like this at the same time, you'll be able to peel off the outer leaves, which the sun has turned green (photosynthesis, I think it's called), and you'll always have fresh green sun-kissed leaves to eat. Given time, as the outer leaves turn green, they also start to pull away from the body of the cabbage, (to soak up the sun’s rays better, I suppose). That way, you don’t need to cut, or get violent with the cabbage, and it'll hold together in its unadulterated cabbage shape until the next time you need to take some fresh outer leaves off it.

White cabbage isn’t so easy to peel the leaves off, but it will grow roots and survive as long as other kinds, such as Savoy and Sweetheart cabbage. However, you can slice bits off and it will continue to survive, grow, and even turn green. It doesn’t seem to feel a thing, if your knife is sharp enough (arf arf). (I've never heard one complain yet.)

However, this idea doesn't suit all green vegetables: If you put broccoli in water, it starts to flower. These little green buds that constitute broccoli, start to open up, and yellow flowers appear in no time - which isn't how we expect our broccoli to look; it might be just as nutritious, but it's not what we're used to seeing on our plates.

You can buy Brussels sprouts still on the stalk these days; putting these in water works quite well too.

One other thing I should mention is that you should change the water quite regularly or it starts to niff a bit. I completely immerse all my cabbages and celery in water, and allow them to soak for a few minutes every day, so any impurities are long gone before I get around to eating them. I wash my face, clean my teeth and wash my greens - but not in the same water.

So there you are then - the freshest possible way to store your greens, with neither excessive waste, nor, excessive waist. You might say no waste/waist whatsoever. (Please yourself.)

© amillar 2011

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Comments 40 comments

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

What a novel way to store greens, amillar! I'll have to try it with a cabbage. I'm putting it in water today. If the cabbage starts to swim, you'll hear from my solicitor! :)


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya drbj,

If it swims you're laughin', phone the circus; if it drowns we'll both hear from its family solicitor - that would be the Brassica family, I suppose - (a right shower)

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

I was hoping all the way down you would say whether to change the water. Thank you, great info, I use to cut up a large container of mixed veggies for my kids and put in water,don't know why I didn't think of this. I have found out to leave my celery in its bag or it will wilt in no time but last fairly good in the bag. So now I have to go in search of large containers. Do you cover them?


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya Jackie,

I don't really put my cabbage in flower vases, or bowls I just describe it that way in this hub, to appear civilised. I actually use the old plastic containers that we get from the supermarkets with things like mushrooms and tomatoes in them. I don't like waste. Your celery will flourish BTW if you put it in water this way.

Thanks for visiting and commenting.


loves2cook profile image

loves2cook 5 years ago from Portland, OR

These are great ideas, thanks! I recently got a lettuce storage container that keeps a small film of water below, with a small vent in the sides to keep the leaves fresh. And so far it works well beyond how I thought it would. It's amazing to me how adding moisture end up keeping the produce fresh, when for some reason I've always thought to leave things dry so they don't wilt.


TajSingh 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi amillar! This is an excellent idea to store cabbages. And as you said this will keep the cabbage fresh.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya loves2cook,

I just got the idea that if you can bring a bunch of flowers home and put them in a vase to stop them from wilting, maybe you can do the same with cabbages; it worked - so that's how I've done it ever since. My freezer is almost obsolete now.

Thanks for commenting and all the best with your cooking.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi TajSingh,

Thank you for reading and commenting - and yes, it does keep my cabbage fresh and healthy. Cheers - and good health to you.


triciajean profile image

triciajean 5 years ago from Bantam, CT

Thanks, amillar. I'm going to use this method. My fridge is rather small and this will help a lot. Also, if the vegetables keep longer this way, I could buy more at once. It's almost an indoor garden. grin


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

Cabbage keeps for me pretty good and it's the only thing. That's great info though because I absolutely love celery unless wilted (that calls for potato soup) and with prices rising we need no waste and I am just like you to recycle what I can, if for nothing else it can be a cat bowl. haha


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya triciajean,

It is a bit like having an indoor garden. I have all these along the draining board full of cabbages and celery - the Irish know nothing when they talk of ‘forty shades of green’.

Sometimes I talk to my cabbages and the cat looks askance, but if Prince Charles can speak to his plants, I reckon should speak to my cabbages.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Jackie,

Your celery should thrive if you put the base in some water. The leaves will branch out and the stalks will be firm and crunchy. You bet we need no waste these days.

Thanks for dropping by again. Cheers.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Well done, my friend. I really enjoy your tips. My mother loves to use vegetables in our daily menus. I'll show this to her. Rated up!

Prasetio


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya Prasetio30 - I hope your mother will find this idea useful - she won’t have to make so many trips to the supermarket for cabbages if she gives them plenty of water to drink and keeps them fresh and healthy.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

I didn't notice the first time but it sounds as if you are saying the leaves are no good on celery? If so...wrong...not only are they delicious and decorative but I have read something somewhere sometime, they have something you don't get from the stalks so I use these right away in salads and soup and if I grow more doing it your way I will be double lucky. The price sure is rising here in America so thanks for the knowledge to get as much life from them as I can, the only way my husband will eat celery is in potato soup and with just the two of us too much goes to waste so I rarely make it.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya Jackie,

I don't say you can't eat celery leaves; I do. I chop them up with the stalks and put them into a mirepoix, mainly. I think what I meant to say in the hub was that celery is bought for the stalks. It's just that I've found that the leaves burgeon when they're put in water - although, the leaves aren't what most people buy celery for.

I’ve just had a thought: I bet that if you chopped celery leaves up, they’d make a good garnish in place of parsley.

Thanks for dropping by again happy eating.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

No I don't chop them to use for decoration, they are so pretty just how they are and the little stems make them sturdy enough to place about anywhere in anything. I just today put my celery in water straight up, it will be fun to see if they grow more leafs. Oh and I make this cabbage salad and have for quite a few years now; but just lately found out what all good it does, you should check that out it is amazing, maybe the difference in life and death I am not kidding! Next I am going to check on the celery because I vaguely remember seeing something great about that too. This has been a fun hub.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Jackie,

I'm glad you've enjoyed the hub. It seems you have a healthy lifestyle - cabbage salads sound good to me. I would eat my cabbage broccoli and other greens raw for the best health benefits but we have to consider bacteria, so I generally make a mirepoix of onions carrots and celery (the traditional trio) and add fresh ginger root and apple. That gives it plenty of flavour, then I don't need to use salt - or spice mixes. Then I lightly steam the greens on top of that, to deal with any bacteria - then mix it together.

However, when I get home grown greens I'm more inclined to eat them raw.

Happy chomping - thanks for dropping by again.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Wonderful hub! I am so happy to learn about keeping cabbage, etc. in water. Question: Did I read that you keep yours on the counter and not in the refrigerator? Thanks. Rated up. :)vocalcoach

PS: bookmarking this one!


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya vocalcoach - yes I put them into plastic containers with about half an inch of water - just enough to cover the base of the stalks, and they seem to thrive. I don't think they like being refrigerated any more than we humans do. Triciajean put it very well (above comment), when she said, "It's almost an indoor garden".

I'm not sure how well it works in warmer climates; you might need to change the water more often.

However, it doesn't take much to experiment - thanks for dropping by and commenting. It's nice to see you again.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

Since we talked you would not believe what I have found out on cabbage and celery,,unbelievable, I didn't think they would go through but did and I am gonna start living by them. I am going to start drinking celery juice! Just did the celery one and told about sitting the bottoms in a little water that I had been told by a friend and I will give your name if you like, just thought I'd ask, celery is all I mentioned and I would be more than happy to. It never occurred to me until I had it posted but not too late. ???


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Jackie,

I don’t mind being named on your hub about celery. You’ve obviously done a lot of research and are becoming an expert on the subject. We should spread the word about vegetables and their benefits - it can do nothing but good.

Thanks for dropping by and keeping me up to date.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Thanks for the great tips. Not only are they useful, but they are inexpensive ideas. Looking forward to more of your food wisdom. Rated up and awesome.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi toknowinfo, thank you for visiting and for your encouraging comment and for voting me up and awesome - I hope do some more of these hubs sometime soon.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

Gee, seems I am monopolizing this hub and I don't mean to but I made a celery juicer, smoothie, whatever you want to call it yesterday,and it dropped my blood pressure 30 points and it was the best tasting smoothie I have tasted yet, might have to do a hub on it, and I put your link there. Oh, but my celery is not doing so hot in the just a little water in the fridge, should I cover the tops?


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hello Jackie,

I don't know much about smoothies; I haven't a juicer. That might be an interesting thing for me to try someday. The trouble with all these gadgets is I use them once and then they end up languishing in the cupboard.

I'm glad that your blood pressure has dropped; it seems you have a healthy lifestyle. I think you should share these good ideas by writing a hub and spreading the word. Everyone should have healthy blood pressure.

I never put celery in the fridge; I give it a drink of water and let it soak up the sun.

Thanks for dropping by again - I'll look forward to your celery smoothie hub.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

Ok, well if I do, but in case I don't I just used my blender, (I can pick those up all summer long at yard sales for a buck or two) haven't opened my smoothie maker yet, and the key to not messing up the blender and eating all of the vegetable and fruits is adding liquid first and I use apple cider almost always and add more if it needs it. Getting ready to make today's dose.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Apple cider Jackie? Steady on! That's a bit too strong for me. I'd end up throwing the smoothie away and drinking the bottle of cider.

No seriously, these smoohies sound really healthy and tasty. I look forward to the hub.


Ashlea B profile image

Ashlea B 5 years ago

interesting... i may need to try this with my celery and lettuce. the longer they last the better.


suejanet profile image

suejanet 5 years ago

Thanks for these great tips. I am always looking for new ways to preserve my vegetables.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya Ashlea B - the more I do this the better I like it. Green veg that comes back from the supermarket looking limp and sad, becomes vibrant and strong and stays that way for weeks. I've put some more pics up on my blogspot: I Blog 2 amillar.

Thanks for visiting.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi suejanet - I've found that this works very well for me - I douse all my green veg in water every day, and then arrange them back in their bowls of water. I don't worry about overstocking, because they stay healthy for ages like this.

All the best.


carolinemoon profile image

carolinemoon 5 years ago

Great Idea. Very interesting.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi carolinemoon,

It works very well for me; I have a Savoy cabbage that I've had for months now (I've kept it going as an experiment) - it's still going strong. It's getting smaller because every time the outer leaves go green I eat them. I douse all my vegetables in water daily, but that's not a problem; there’s no shortage of water here in Scotland.

Thanks for visiting and commenting.


kims3003 5 years ago

I never knew many of these things - great hub- very useful! Nice work!


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hello kims3003, I'm quite new to the idea myself, because I didn't stumble upon the idea until sometime last year. I find it works well for me.

Thanks for dropping by and for your encouraging comment.


Southernmapart 4 years ago

Great ideas for keeping vegetables fresh and green. I keep celery in a glass with water, but it has never come to mind that other veggies will keep the same way. Ol' timers once kept carrots in a bucket of sand. Anyone have experience keeping carrots? I'm late to this Hub party, but perhaps some one of you is reading.


amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Southernmapart - I find that it works well for me. I stock up on as much green veg as I can carry - or have room for at home - not having to worry about it rotting. I wash it every day in cold water to keep the bacteria in check. Maybe I should go to the seaside and get a bucket of sand for my carrots; that seems a good idea.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


Southernmapart 4 years ago

I don't have sand, only red clay. Today, took carrots out of the frig and put them in a glass with a little water and set them next to the celery. Hah! My table continues to hold a bowl of tomatoes fresh from the garden and the whole arrangement looks festive for fall.


amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

That seems very attractive Southernmapart. "Festive for fall" indeed, and no doubt, tasty too.

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