How to stop vegetables wilting when picked

by Carol Baez
(Queen Creek, AZ )

Soon after picking some of my veggies they are wilted and soft. Lettuce is the worst. My raddishes are the worst!
Any ideas for me?

Comments for How to stop vegetables wilting when picked

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Jul 08, 2010
by: Anonymous

This works for me.Right after picking I remove the leaves, clean the radish, and place in a bowl of cold water. Put in frige and they are good and crisp when I want them.

Jul 25, 2010
Stopping vegetables wilting when picked
by: Megan

Over the years, I've learned to ignore lots of advice about keeping vegetables fresh once they're picked.
I find plastic bags the best to use (have never bought new bags, just recycle old ones). I put in the vegetables and if possible suck out any air, then fold over bags to seal them in as much as possible.
I don't use perforated bags, except for onions or spuds (which I mostly store in a stone crock or cardboard box in cool, dark place out of fridge, except for mid summer). I then store the vegetables in the crisper bins at the bottom of fridge.

I don't usually wash lettuce or leafy greens before storing. For root veggies, such as radishes, carrots, beetroots etc, I make sure they're as dry as possible, then break off the leaves near the crown first and store the roots sealed in plastic bags and if I want to use the leaves I'll put them in a separate sealed plastic bag.

I tried calico bags — with rave reviews — but for me, hopeless — that idea is a sham!
It's important to handle veggies carefully, as any bruising will go bad quickly. In cold seasons, it's fine to keep spare veggies out of fridge, but still I seal them up in plastic bags. The main point to keep in mind is to keep the veggies cool and out of the sun or any direct heat.
I know putting some veggies like radishes in a bowl of cold water in fridge will keep them crisp, but be careful you don't nick the radishes, because some vitamins could leach out into the water.

Aug 04, 2010
how to save my veggies in the refridgerator.
by: Leny D.

First do not wash them unless the dirt is too much. Then dry them naturally. Second put them in papertowel then in "opaque" plastic bags you find in the grocery store. Do not use the clear baggies!! Third put in the refr.drawer.
My lettuce last up to 2 weeks. Green beans are a little more difficult, let them dry before storing away. Celery,I separate the stems from the leaves, the leaves go in paper and in bags, but the stems I roll in alluminum, and they stay (almost) forever. Hope this helps. Leny

Aug 04, 2010
by: gardnertobejeff

At 63yo I'm preparing my first garden and will soon (Sept and Oct for my region) begin planting cold hardy vegetables.

Of course, I have been reading a lot about gardening and know just enough to be dangerous.

One article (don't remember where I found it) stated that immediately upon harvesting a vegetable, it should be placed in a tub of water to help maintain its freshness. And that this was especially important in the hot summer months.

But when reading about wilting on this fine site, I suddenly realized that nowhere else have I read about placing vegetables in water after harvesting them.

QUESTION: Why not? Is placing freshly picked vegetables in water helpful?

Thank you, and cross your fingers that my bragging to my buddies about the giant vegetables my garden is going to produce will not backfire!

PS: We all need a laugh. My dad built a smokehouse and hung his hams. He then began telling his buddies that he would soon give them some of his soon to be famous country ham. But then his smokehouse burned down. What was he to do after promising country ham to his buddies? He bought some skinned and cleaned rabbits, wrapped them in freezer paper, wrote country ham on the outside, and gave them to his buddies. The rest is history in this neck of the woods.

Happy gardening.

Aug 04, 2010
Celery is dangerous if stored well :(
by: Anonymous

I don't know much about keeping vegetables but I have read that keeping celery crisp and fresh for a long time is dangerous. After three weeks storage, celery develops toxins that are very dangerous to your liver, and you can't taste or smell them. Who would have thought :(

Aug 05, 2010
Wilting Veg
by: Dale

I found that my eggplant, beans & ruby chard all last quite well after being picked, without any attention.

I do wonder how long fruit & veg have been sitting on the shelf before we get to bring them home from the shops.

A guy at work bought a bag of tomatoes from Woolies 6 weeks ago, Blurrgh!!!...... they are still firm red & showing no sign of spoiling - What have they done?? We fed the toms to the chooks.

Aug 05, 2010
My way to store herbs in fridge
by: Wendy

I tried storing herbs like parsley and basil with their stems in water, but it wasn't perfect, so then put them in fridge in water, but managed to tip them over and water went all over! A friend told me to dry herbs, then put in plastic baggie with a paper towel, and put in fridge, so far this is very good.

Aug 06, 2010
Storing Basil
by: Connie

After reading about storing vegetables without them wilting, I thought I'd share my way of keeping basil for when it's out of season. First remove leaves from stems. Wash and dry well. Then place in blender with enough oil to finely process. I then place the mixture in ice cube trays and freeze. Blocks can then be removes from trays and stored in container in the freezer for later use.

Oct 29, 2010
Keeping vegetables fresh after picking
by: Tui

My experiment with wrapping leafy greens in damp cloth has had good results.
I used some old, thin tea-towels, dipped in cold water and wrung out. I then rolled carefully the whole lettuce with roots cut off (also did this with chard and spinach leaves and chives) in the material as tight as possible without squashing or bruising the leaves.
It's harder to see how much is left without unwrapping each bundle, but everything stayed nice and crisp - and I didn't use any plastic!

Jan 03, 2011
Storing pick vegetables
by: BJ

Beetroot needs a few cms of the stalks left on otherwise the colour bleeds into the water if you boil or steam them. It also help stop nutrient loss and keeps the beets crisper if you need to store them in the fridge.

The leaves should be cut off and stored in plastic bag separately to the beets. Young leaves can be used in salads and all leaves can be used in green smoothie drinks.

Jul 01, 2011
Immediate wilting
by: Chris

If I'm not mistaken, I think the original question was about the vegetables wilting VERY soon after picking.
I have this problem as well, and have been asking and searching the internet for three years and can't find any advice. I have read lots about how and how not to store them, but I have never been able to get to the storage point. In three years of gardening (three different houses), the lettuce looks great, acts great, but I've never been able to eat it because by the time I get it to the kitchen counter (about 10 minutes), it's a tiny pile, wilted to the point of being unusable. Radishes are the same for me. Things I've tried:
Washing and drying immediately
Picking leaves and trimming immediately
Not doing a thing to them
Putting them in the fridge, not putting them in the fridge and so on.
Nothing seems to work, the radishes turn into rubbery sponges.
Now, if I stand in the garden, pull them up and eat them right there, they are delicious, perfect texture and flavor.
I'm about to give up on gardening if I can't figure out what's wrong. Any advice for this problem? I can't be the only one in the world this happens to! :)

Jul 02, 2011
How to stop vegetables wilting when picked
by: Megan

Got me thinking about this...and why it's a puzzle for some and not others. A few thoughts:

Market gardeners pick their produce very early morning or late in the day when the sun is not around. I do too, usually just before dinnertime. If I do pick during day for a lunch salad for example, I would keep all sun off it and have it to the sink to be washed in a minute or two. Many leaves like lettuce, spinach etc, close the tiny stomata cells in their leaves to stop transpiration during the heat of the day, so could be slightly limp to begin with and once picked and left in a bowl in the sun, would be really blah in a minute.
You could get a chilly bin (depending on country also called an esky or cooler or polystyrene box) and put in an ice pack covered with a small towel. As you pick your produce, put it into the cool box and close lid.

Remember too, that commercial growers usually grow the most suitable varieties for their region, so they know they will withstand transportation and a bit of handling and delay. So you could try different and hardier varieties?

Make sure your plants have been watered well, at least the day before harvesting, so that when picked and they start losing nutrients and moisture, they have enough in reserve to last until the kitchen and your plate or fridge!

See if these ideas help. ~ Megan

Jul 10, 2011
Surefire method to stop fresh produce from wilting
by: Methra

I always have a bucket of water. I keep it in the shade under an old bench and sink top at the side of our garden. The water comes from hose nearby. I bring this bucket of water to where I am going to pick. As I pick each leaf or a handful of leaves and the same with celery or carrots and others, I dunk them straight into my water bucket and swirl around if any soil on especially with roots. Then I put them dripping into a a big bowl I have and take them into house. Early morning is best because it's cooler and you can see what needs picking in its prime, as sometimes by the end of the day a perfect lettuce may have started to go to seed a bit.

Jun 03, 2012
not about wilting just an FYI
by: Anonymous

This is not helping the wilting problem but just a FYI comment

but for those of us who are not Aussies, chooks are chickens.

Also, when you buy carrotts in plastic bags at the store, when you get home, poke holes all over the bag and your carrots will last a whole lots longer without rotting & getting mushie.

Oct 06, 2012
treat them like roses
by: Anonymous

I was having the same problem with most of my veggies wilting. I saw this guys video and tried it. It works great! He just treats them like roses. He cuts the stem and then puts the stalk in water for a few hours. Even if they are alreay wilted, they will perk right up.

Jan 24, 2013
stop wilt
by: Anonymous

To control wilt in any crop spray stop wilt(Mahindra
and Mahindra ltd-agribusiness)3-4ml/ltr water and reapeat it 8days interval.

Jul 30, 2016
pick early in day
by: Anonymous

Pick early in the day before hot daily sun has 'exhausted' them. Refrigerate quickly in plastic bag (I reuse bags) and don't wash till it's time to eat. Advice to pick early pertains to all vegetables and flowers. Use caution/ wait till dew dries with tomatoes as transfer of dew from plant to plant can spread disease

Jul 07, 2017
Solution to stop vegetables wilting
by: Dave

I have had this problem ever since I started eating and growing garden fresh vegetables and have a simple solution. After I have harvested my kale, lettuce, carrots, etc I take a large stainless steel bowl and fill it with cold tap water. I add enough water so that whatever is in the bowl can be submerged. For kale, lettuce, etc you can use a water bottle or a beer or two from the fridge to weight things down. Let it sit like that for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the stomata to open up and draw in the cold water. You then need to dry things up as best you can. A salad spinner works great or you can set out a towel and just flap your greens against the towel a few times. You will notice at this point everything will have firmed up. You can then store in the refrigerator and everything will keep for a long time. You can just use plastic bags to store the vegetables. For those leafy greens I have used both grocery bags as well as ziplock. If you use ziplock, make sure that you squeezhe a lot of the air out before you zip it. Trapping too much excess air in the bag has always seemed to be inferior for some reason. When I first started doing this I would use ice in the cold water bath and that worked very well. However, I didn't always have ice on hand so I eventually stopped using it and settled with cold tap water (zone 5). If your tap water is hot, try refrigerating a jug of water in advance or if you have the resources, use ice.

Jul 22, 2019
Wilted radish
by: AnonymousDebbie

I picked my first radish ever! It was big and beautiful! So healthy looking. I left it on my counter overnight, the next morning it was all mush. Soft to the touch. Is there a way of reviving it, or do I have to kiss this one goodbye? Thank you 🙏

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