Reviving Carrots, Celery & Potatoes

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2010 • all rights reserved

Got less-than-crispy celery, carrots or potatoes? Learn how to revive them rather than throwing them out!

Do you have droopy celery?  Rubbery carrots?  Squishy potatoes?  Think you need to throw them out?  Don’t!  You can revive them.

I’m embarrassed to let you see my celery in the photo above (but scroll down to see that same celery after it was revived).  That’s some celery I had before I learned to store it tightly wrapped in foil.

The good news is that I had learned how to rejuvenate soft celery, carrots and potatoes a while back, so I didn’t have to throw it out.

As a kid, my mom had taught me to put limp veggies in ice water — or in water in the refrigerator — and they’d revive.  And she was right.

The problem was that this doesn’t always work on a boat.  I never had ice on board.  And some boats don’t have a refrigerator.  Or they have a small refrigerator and no extra space to chill a container of water and veggies.

I never like to throw food out.  I particularly don’t like to when I’m on a boat, away from town and can’t immediately get more.  So I decided that I needed to figure out how to revive my carrots, celery and potatoes without ice . . . and preferably without needing space in my refrigerator.

With a little experimenting, I learned that you can revive limp celery, carrots and even soft potatoes in room temperature water.

  • Got less-than-crispy celery, carrots or potatoes? Learn how to revive them rather than throwing them out!Celery:  cut a bit off the bottom end before putting in the water.  Place bottom down in the water.
  • Carrots:  cut a bit off the top end before putting in the water.  Place top (fat end) down in the water.
  • Potatoes:  Peel and cover with water.

Left whole, it will take 2 to 3 hours to make these veggies crisp again. That celery in the photo at the right is the same celery as at the top of this article, after 2 hours in the glass of water.

Note that if you cut the veggies into strips or 1″ pieces and totally cover them with water, it will take as little as 30 minutes.

Drain the water and use the veggies as you regularly would.

Don’t throw the water out once the veggies have been revived — you can use it in other cooking.

SCIENCE PROJECT FOR BOATS WITH KIDS: If you have some wilted celery, put some food coloring (red works best — easiest to see) in the water, and make sure the celery stalks are partially out of the water (it’s even better if there are some leaves on the part out of the water).   Watch as the color moves up the stalk and into the leaves.  For more ideas on observations to make with this, see this science experiment.

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  1. Shannon Scott says:

    What a great idea. I’ve have also found that cutting the ends off of asparagus and placing them in water also extends the life of the asparagus substantially. I will cover my celery in foil right away. Thanks.

  2. This also works with other root vegetables. I did this last night to some withered parsnips. I just them in half and peeled a little of the skin off and put them in a bowl of water in the fridge. They are revived and ready to eat! I am going to make some soup this afternoon with them.

  3. I’ve put celery and asparagus in water, but I’ve never heard of carrots or other root vegetables being revived. Great information!

  4. That’s a good one. You never know what cool tidbit you’ll learn from TBG.

  5. Wow. I had no idea. I’ve been tossing mine. But no more!! Thanks!!

  6. We have a wagon full of fresh carrots that have gone limp. Once revived, can I pressure cook them?

  7. D and Don says:

    I find parsley and other herbs can be kept for days in a similar way. Recut the ends on a slant, put into water and cover the top with a plastic bag. I use a rubber band around the bottom of a small glass. If you don’t have a place for a small glass, then you can wrap the cut ends with a wet paper towel and insert into a zip lock bag or Lock and Lock container. This method works well for transportation from boat to boat.

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