Got Old Veggies?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2012 • all rights reserved

Old Veggies

It happens to us all.  You pull out some veggies you were planning to use in a dish and discover that they’re not exactly at their peak.  And you wonder what to do . . .

Some time ago, I wrote about reviving carrots and celery.  But here’s an even better tip.

If you’re going to be cooking the vegetable in any sort of a liquid, you don’t need to revive it before using it.

Now, I’m not talking about something that’s moldy or slimy. Those do have to be thrown out.

Limp-celeryBut usually the problem with “yucky” veggies is that they’ve lost a lot of water.  That’s why carrots and celery get limp and also why potatoes get soft.  Onions and mushrooms just plain look dried out as will peppers.

Anything that is just dry will reabsorb the water as it cooks.  And the funny thing is that often the flavor is even better as it’s more concentrated — I know that’s the case with mushrooms!

While I don’t deliberately let veggies get past their prime, the reality is that it does happen.  While I used to just them out if they looked “dried up” now I’ll try using them as long as they’re not rotten, moldy or slimy.  And I’ve been pretty surprised at the results!

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Comments

  1. I keep a ziplock bag in my freezer to put veggie peels, seeds cores and veggies that are close to turning. When the bag is full I make soup stock. If I’m not going to be making soup in the near future I process it in jars for the next time I need it.

  2. If my veggies are starting to get soft or dried out, I cut them up and freeze them in a bag. I do quite a bit of cooking in a crock pot, and as you said, who cares if the vegetables started out crisp? By the time they are done cooking, they’ll be pretty soft anyway!

    What I like about this method is that I don’t have to use them right away; they’ll stay fine in the freezer for quite a while. It also means I usually have what I need already chopped up in the freezer. Many of my recipes use carrots, onions, celery and bell peppers, so I always have little frozen bags of those. I worry less about over-buying, too, because the freezer option is always available.

  3. Hm…. ???

  4. Here is a way to keep greens, like parsley, cilantro, etc to live a bit longer. I make a fresh cut on the ends to encourage the influx of water. I place them in a small jar of water. Then I take the plastic bag that I brought them home in, you know the thin veggie ones, and put it over top of the greens and tighten it up around the top of the glass jar. I either use a rubber band or tuck the excess plastic bag up into itself to make a semi seal. I then find a place in the fridge where it will be wedged in and not tip over and it makes them last oodles longer. My Mother taught me this and she may have learned if from her Mom.

  5. Melani says:

    You can also re-grow some of your veggies…like the celery in the picture. As you are using cut the celery off the bottom leaving an inch or two (that part is so so anyway) then put the “core” or the celery, root side down in the room temp water and the center stalks that were tiny and yellow will grow! Using your celery twice! Same with lettuces.

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