A Damp Paper Towel Is All You Need To Keep Cut Vegetables Crisp

Fresh vegetables are a delicious and nutritious ingredient to keep on hand. Their bright colors and crispy textures make them perfect either as a quick snack or as the foundation of a refreshing meal, like this crunchy shirazi salad or this loaded sprouts and avocado sandwich. That is why it is such a shame when you pull out your fully prepped veggies to find them limp and dry. While this is a common issue with pre-cut vegetables, it is also one that is easily fixed: All you need is a damp paper towel to ensure your veggies get the moisture they need.

All vegetables are plants, and one thing plants really need is water. Even after vegetables are harvested, they hold onto water in their cells to keep them plump. This is what gives vegetables their signature crunch. Over time, however, the water begins to evaporate, causing their cells to shrivel and the vegetables to go soft. This problem is one of the many reasons that grocery stores spray their produce with water throughout the day. The rate at which this water loss occurs speeds up even more when the vegetables are cut, since the exposed interior will allow water to disperse even faster. By storing your vegetables with a damp paper towel, you help to trap moisture where it needs to be, keeping those veggie cells full and firm.

How to properly store cut vegetables

After chopping your vegetables, you can employ this technique by simply putting the produce into a container, adding a single, slightly wet paper towel, and placing the container in the fridge. It is important that the towel is not overly saturated and dripping with water — a little bit of moisture keeps vegetables fresh, but too much can encourage spoilage from mold and other pathogens. For the same reason, it is best to change the paper towel frequently. Using this storage method will allow the vegetables to remain crisp and fresh for up to three days.

If you find your vegetables have still gone limp, all hope is not lost. You can revive most vegetables by giving them a quick soak in ice water. The cold, fresh water will reinvigorate the plant cells and should make your produce delightfully crunchy once more. Should your veggies still be too far gone, don't rush to the trash can — instead, consider repurposing them for soup.