We've all been dazzled by the produce section at the grocery store and gone a little overboard. In fact, that's actually the reason why supermarkets put the produce up front in the first place. Grocers know that if the produce is looking good you'll fill your cart with more food, especially plenty of fruits and veggies. The trouble is, fresh produce doesn't last forever. How many times have you loaded up the crisper drawers in the refrigerator only to find a pile of tired, wilting vegetables hanging on for dear life a week later? The good news is, there's an easy fix to reviving wilted root vegetables like carrots, celery, and radishes: Soak them in a bowl of iced water with a slice of raw potato.
There's a little bit of science as to why your beets and parsnips come alive in a bowl of cold, potato-y water, but basically what happens is that they absorb the cold water and the starch from the potato, which plumps up their cells and perks them right back up. You don't have to be a scientist to understand it though, just let your veggies soak with the potato for at least 20 minutes and you'll see a difference.
How It Works
Just like their name implies, root vegetables are literally the roots of a plant. That means for every carrot and potato there's actually something green that grows above the soil, which is using the tasty root for its water and energy. It just so happens that we like eating the root part of the plant versus the top (although it's perfectly safe and tasty to eat carrot tops). The roots of any plant absorb water and nutrients from the soil using osmosis, according to FutureLearn, and that process doesn't stop just because the root is plucked out of the ground. When you place a root vegetable in a bowl of iced water, the roots will absorb the moisture just like they would in soil. So even without using a slice of potato in the iced water, any root vegetable that's looking a little flabby will perk up eventually if you let it soak long enough.
When you add a slice of potato to the iced water party, however, you're introducing starch and other nutrients from the potato into the water. Plants use starch as energy, so those absorptive roots happily suck the starchy water right up, which fills up the plant cells until they exert pressure on the cell walls. Scientists call this turgor, and it's what makes vegetables firm and crisp.
Prevent Wilting Veggies
The best way to keep your root vegetables crisp and fresh is of course preventing them from getting flimsy in the first place. If you're not already using your crisper drawers for storing fresh produce, it's time to start. Vegetable drawers do their thing by controlling airflow inside the space, and root vegetables like moist, humid air (like well-watered dirt in the field). Also, instead of just tossing your vegetables in those drawers naked, try wrapping them with a damp paper towel to keep them crisp. The air that does come into contact with the surface of your beets and parsnips will sap the moisture out of the cells, which is how they get soggy. If you store them in a bag or container, however, make sure it's not completely sealed so that they can get a little bit of airflow and won't grow mold.
But if it's too late and you open the fridge to find that you've already got flabby Kohlrabi or rubbery radishes on your hands, just grab a potato and some ice water and give everything a quick soak. In just a few minutes your root veggies will be as good as new.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.