Seasonal Cooking 18 Jul 2011 08:29 pm

Perking Up Wilted Greens

Wilted ChardIt’s happened again. “Oh dang,” you say, opening the fridge door and looking in at a sad, droopy bunch of chard or lettuce or basil. It looked so hale when you brought it home from the market, and now it’s gone all wilty.

But wilted greens is a problem there’s a solution for. And it’s a simple one. Just wash out your sink and fill it with ice water. Untie your bunch of greens and drop them in. Wait 30 or 40 minutes. Pull them out of their chilly bath and drain them on clean kitchen towels. Problem solved: your greens are proud once more.

“Oh why bother,” you say. “They’re the same leaves even if they’re wilted, aren’t they? Can’t I just chop them up and cook them like they are?” You can, of course, especially if you feel like you must punish yourself for not wrapping them up better in the first place. But in a more forgiving mood you’ll agree that perking up your greens in an ice water bath makes them easier to handle, makes them cook better, and gives them back their crispy texture and fresh flavor. It’s worth the time and the ice cubes.

4 Responses to “Perking Up Wilted Greens”

  1. on 20 Jul 2011 at 10:42 am 1.C. Spencer Beggs said …

    Hi, Dave, found your wonderful blog through the CSA e-mail. When I recharge my wilted greens, I throw in a few tablespoons of white distilled vinegar (I do it in a baking bowl, not my sink). It can crisp up some pretty sorry-looking foliage.

  2. on 22 Jul 2011 at 4:25 pm 2.daveklop said …

    Great tip — Thanks Spencer!

  3. on 01 Dec 2012 at 4:39 pm 3.Margaret said …

    I purchased fresh kale, spinach, and collard greens and put them in the frig,in the grocery plastic bags 5 days ago. Today, most of the leaves were yellow in each bag. How can I avoid wasting my money, can I use for broth or should I toss them? How should they be stored next time? Thanks for your help in this matter, new to this raw vegatabe scene.

  4. on 29 Dec 2012 at 12:45 pm 4.daveklop said …

    Margaret, I don’t typically use greens when I make stock (and I’ve read that spinach, in particular, will make a very strong-tasting stock). I’d also advise against using veggies that are yellowed or otherwise way past their prime: if the veggies are off, your stock will be off too. At this point the best bet is probably to put them in the compost pile.

    To store them, wrap them in paper towels before you put them into the fridge. You can use dry paper towels, or you can wet the towels first then fully squeeze them out. Either way seems to work well, though I tend to use the wet-towel method for greens.

    Good luck and enjoy! Leafy greens are versatile and super good for you. If you’re looking for a great idea for spinach, try this:

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