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nomtastic's avatar

Why do veggies wilt in my fridge?

Asked by nomtastic (921 points ) June 23rd, 2010

all of the veggies i put in my fridge wilt after like 2 days! beets go soft, spinach shrinks, peas are no longer crispy. i get a lot of vegetables every saturday from my csa, and by monday i have to talk myself into eating them. sigh.

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7 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

It can be a very dry environment in the fridge. You need humidity—some anyway—to keep the vegies looking good. This is why supermarkets are always spraying the lettuce and whatnot.

Some fridges have a special compartment that keeps humidity (supposedly). You can also put them in a paper bag and they will last longer. Or you can mist them a bit yourself.

Best to eat them as soon as possible.

Merriment's avatar

The refrigerator tends to dehydrate fresh vegs.

You can avoid this with a little preparation.

With spinach I rinse it and loosely wrap it in a clean sack cloth kitchen towel. It keeps for days this way.

Fresh peas I would rinse and then store still damp in a ziploc baggie.

You can keep a head of ice berg lettuce for over a week if you rinse it, trim off the end of the stem with a ceramic or non metal blade, and seal it in a ziploc.

The theme to all of this is…add moisture but not so much that you rot the vegetables. And eat them quickly.

andreaxjean's avatar

Whenever we get veggies, like asparagus, we always stand the asparagus up in a bowl of water in the refrigerator if we’re not going to use it right away. The same with fresh basil and such. Try laying a damp towel down in your veggie drawer and make sure the vegetables are loose so they can retain the moisture from the towel. You’ll have to clean the drawer out occasionally to make sure that nothing starts growing in there… Because we all know mold likes cool, damp places. lol

lilikoi's avatar

I’ve heard the rule is if the produce is fresh and has not been refrigerated, DON’T refrigerate it. It keeps longer without it and actually spoils in the fridge. A local grower of tomatoes told me this, but I can’t remember why.

JLeslie's avatar

@lilikoi Depends where you live and how hot you keep your house I think. In FL, and here in Memphis in the summer I can’t keep anything out more than a day. I keep my house at 77.

@nomtastic I find my veggies keep pretty well by making sure I pat them dry (my supermarket sprays water on the vegetables, I hate that) and in a plastic bag in the “special” drawer for veggies in my fridge. Some vegetables do much better if they are not tightly closed inside of a plastic bag, but a allowed to breath a little. The gases given off by vegetables can help the veg ripen and go bad faster. So, wilt, is different than going bad, are we definetly talking wilting? Wilt happens when they are in an environent that is too hot usually. But, I can’t imagine that is the case in your refridgerator.

dpworkin's avatar

Try this: Get a ziploc storage bag large enough for your veggies. Wet one sheet of paper toweling and wring it out well. Place the damp paper in the bag with the veggies, try to remove as much air as possible, and lock the bag.

lilikoi's avatar

Might also depend on variety. But I swear the tomato grower’s explanation had nothing to do with either. It routinely reaches 85F+ here; I consider low 70s cold, and 60s and below unbearable, lol. The grower told me that the reverse is true of produce that is NOT fresh – for these you are supposed to refrigerate it and NOT keep them out. In my experience he is right.

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