How to Perk Up Leafy Greens that Are Wilting in Your Crisper

how to revive wilted greens

You pick up a bunch of fresh kale at the store with the best intentions of using it tonight. But then you get a craving for takeout pizza and that poor kale gets forgotten in your crisper, until you remember it a week later and find it looking sad and wilted. Sound familiar?

But don’t toss those greens in the trash! There’s an easy way to revive leafy vegetables—like kale, Swiss chard and spinach—that are a bit past their prime. You don’t even need special equipment. Here’s how to do it.

How to revive wilted leafy greens:

1. Fill a large bowl (or, better yet, a salad spinner) with ice water. If you don’t have ice, that’s OK. Just use the coldest tap water you can get. But ice water is preferred.
2. Place the wilted greens in the ice water and make sure they’re completely submerged. (If they won’t stay submerged, try placing a small plate on top to weigh them down.) Let the greens hang out in the ice water bath for at least 30 minutes and ideally overnight.
3. Drain the ice water out of the bowl. If you used a salad spinner, you can spin the greens to get them really dry. Otherwise, dry the greens with a clean towel.

Voilà, your once-wilted kale should now be crisp and like-new. The method works because it rehydrates the vegetables. Veggies are composed of mostly water, and once they’re harvested, the water starts to dry up, causing the cell walls to shrivel and the veg to wilt. It’s kind of like when you don’t drink enough water during the day.

Even better, this method works for other types of produce, like green beans, broccoli, asparagus, celery and even fresh herbs. Don’t believe us? Try it with the limp bundle of parsley in your fridge right now. Happy cooking, y’all.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...