Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fruit and Vegetable Facelift - Keeping Them Fresh - Crisp - and Plump

First, I just want to point out the cute apron Princess Four is wearing in this picture of her washing the comfrey for me. I made each of the girls an apron from overalls a few years ago. It is nice that they actually use them. Here is the link to  post 1 and here is the link to post 2 on the aprons.

The other day, I made hamburgers for dinner and pulled out some grapes that Princess Four brought home with her from college. She emptied out her fridge and make my fridge rather full so they got forgotten in the back. During that time, they shriveled and got wrinkled. 

When I pulled them out, the girls wouldn't eat them because they looked old. I told them they were still sweet and all they needed was a little soak in cold water. They gave me blank looks and so, I shared how to refresh grapes and leafy vegetables. I guess I had never shared that with them. 
Also, my girls are really spread out from the oldest to the youngest so in my mind, I already told "the girls" this or that or shared this or that or have taken them here and there. Later, I find that I did all that with my older girls but hadn't done it with the younger girls so I don't always remember who knows what and who has been where. It makes for confusing conversations at times.

So, I soaked the grapes in cold water in the fridge overnight and guess what, the grapes were firm, round, healthy looking and great tasting except for the few sticking out of the water! The ones that were soaked were perfect. 
I figured, perhaps if my girls hadn't learned that elsewhere, then maybe other people didn't know that information as well so I thought I would do a quick video and blog about it. It is a simple fix to old fruit and veggies! Make sure before you soak the fruit or vegetable, that you remove any old, mildewy or moldy ones so they don't contaminate the others you are soaking. 
The same can be done with leafy vegetables. Lettuce, spinach, kale, parsley, comfrey, collard leaves, chard etc. If your lettuce is getting limp and old looking, you can soak it in cool water for a few hours.

If you are planning on taking a trip or a picnic, you can dampen some paper towels with cool water and place the lettuce leaves in between the towels and they will crisp up or remain more crisp as long as you keep them cool. I will put them in the ziploc bags between damp paper towels and put it in the fridge overnight for a picnic the next day and keeping it in the cooler before use that day keeps it nice and fresh for your salad or sandwiches.    

If you are planning on leaving things for more than a day, don't leave them soaking as they will get overly wet and may burst. Things like celery can get slimy if you don't change the water frequently. So, leave them in just long enough to get re-hydrated but not over hydrated! 

I have used this method for years and have only had great results. The other thing I mention on my video is about presentation. When the grapes get down to "sticks" with a few grapes, people don't want to eat them. Pull them off the vine and put them in a bowl and they will be eaten. 

I mention how when I have parties, people don't want to eat anything at the bottom of the bowl so when chips, popcorn etc, gets down to the bottom, I usually pour them into a bowl that just fits them so it is full! 

People will magically start eating them again. When that bowl gets down to the bottom, I pour them into a smaller bowl still making the bowl "full" and this always works. For some reason, people don't like to eat the bottom of the bowl so I do this with all the bags of chips in the cupboard. If they are almost empty, no one will eat them. I pour them into a bowl on the counter, they are gone by days end. Funny how that is a common human behavior. 

I have done this to my kids for years and they never figure it out. I pull out whatever I want them to eat and leave it on the counter and within a day or two, it is gone. Just this week, I had two or three bags of instant oatmeal, some ramen soup cups and a few other things that Princess four brought home from college. Rather than putting them in the cupboard, I just left them on the end of the counter and yes, they did eat them. :-)

Just some tips from the single mom who hates to see anything go to waste and has learned how to stretch everything into lasting longer or transforming it into something usable from something not wanted. 

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