6 Ways to Use Up Limp Vegetables

Photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/lelivingandco/">Le living and co</a>/Flickr/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons</a>

After all those holiday gatherings, you might find a few vegetables still lingering in the fridge, and you might even think they're on their way out.

But wait!

Unless those vegetables are moldy, slimy, or smelly, a little limpness never hurt anyone. Root vegetables (like carrots and radishes) and leafy greens (like lettuce and kale) go limp because of loss of moisture. All vegetables are composed primarily of water, and after being harvested, packed, shipped, stocked and then stored in your home, they naturally lose water in their cells. It doesn't help that the cold, dry air of your refrigerator eventually sucks all the moisture out of them, either.

If you find that your vegetables have gone soft, simply soak them in a sink full of cold water. Within a couple of hours, they'll crisp up again. This is handy if you're making a salad, but if you'd intended to cook your vegetables anyway, there's no need to take that extra step. Limp produce is perfectly suited for a number of delicious dishes, so before you toss them in the compost, consider using them in these hot meals.

1. Soup
A big simmering pot of soup is the ideal catch-all for all kinds of vegetables: chard, spinach, carrots, peas, beans, celery, turnips, cauliflower, zucchini. You can make a classic minestrone, or puree a single vegetable into a creamy soup. Try our Farmhouse Vegetable and Barley Soup or Carrot-Fennel Soup.

2. Savory pie
Whether you make a hand pie, pot pie, or shepherd's pie, a smorgasbord of vegetables with a flaky, buttery crust is always a winner. Try our Chicken Apricot Pot Pie.

3. Casserole or gratin
You can create just about any combination of vegetable, meat, cream and carb and come up with a satisfying one-pot meal. It's also a good way to try new grains if you're tired of the typical rice bakes: barley, farro, kamut, and wheat berries all retain their taste and texture without getting lost in a sea of other ingredients. Try our Farro, White Bean, and Broccoli Rabe Gratin.

4. Omelette or frittata
The ultimate breakfast-for-dinner option, an omelette or frittata stuffed with last night's leftovers or half a head, bunch, or stalk of your favorite vegetable makes for a hearty meal. Try our Asparagus, Ham, and Gruyere Frittata.

5. Pizza
Tomatoes and mushrooms are not the only vegetables that are good on pizza. Think beyond the Veggie Delight at your local pizza joint and concoct a gourmet pie with what you already have in the kitchen: carrot, asparagus, broccoli, green onion, sweet corn, sweet potato, or radicchio. Try our Summer Squash, Cherry Tomato and Goat Cheese Pizza or Deep-Dish Amaranth Greens Pizza.

6. Roasted root vegetables
All root vegetables turn richer and sweeter with the heat of a good roast, so if your carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, or radishes are looking a little limp, toss them in the oven with a drizzle of oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Roasted vegetables are an easy side dish to a rotisserie chicken for those nights when you don't really feel like cooking (you can roast a whole week's worth of vegetables ahead of time and simply reheat). Or, toss them with a bowl of rice, noodles, or salad greens; the caramelized juices from the roast omit the need for a sauce or dressing. Try our Cider-Glazed Root Vegetables with Apple and Tarragon.

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