The Best Possible Way to Store Fresh Green Vegetables
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.
Some info about the benefits of green vegetables from Jackie Lynnley
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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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