The following is based on a true story.
On the most beautiful Sunday with fresh flowers in her hair, Sarah stumbles upon some bright green, fantastic looking curly kale at her local farmers’ market. Being that she is Mother Nature’s best friend today because she actually remembered to bring her reusable bags, she can’t help but hug 2 huge bunches, feel the crunch on her cheeks and loudly smell the extreme freshness. Even if people are looking at her like she’s a complete weirdo, she IS at a farmers’ market, after all, and that’s what people do there – get THAT excited about vegetables, right?
She enthusiastically talks to the farmer selling it to her about how she has big plans to sauté some of it with the perfect squeeze of fresh lemon and make her favourite “super food” kale chips with the rest, of course. It’s going to be great, the start of a new week with kale on the menu and rainbow marshmallow ponies everywhere.
She gets home, puts her fantastic kale into the fridge and then gets back to work, school, blogging, Instagramming, mom-ing, cleaning, and the general business her weekend forgot to remind her of.
She finds it in her fridge several days later all sad, limp and wilted. She just didn’t get to it in time. Her former best friend, Mother Nature is tisking her.
As she sheepishly heads to the bin, ready to throw it all out, she has an eerie mystical vision of one of her favourite celeb chefs telling her not to give up on it. Chef Michael Smith doesn’t give up on his sad wilted greens, so she shouldn’t either. He brings them to life with a gentle hug of warm water, then a heartless shocking bath of cold.
His TV show theme song kept playing in her head “ You can do it, too. (you can do it, too)”. She is going to do it for you, Chef, even though she’s thinking “Who’s the weirdo now?” who is suggesting she put already wilted kale into lukewarm water.
She cut those wilted bunches of kale into pieces and dumped it all in a bowl. She gave it that comforting, gentle hug of warm water. It’s alive! The pores on those kale pieces are opening up to the world again and the crunch is coming back. She drains it and then ruthlessly gives it a soak of extremely cold water.
Disaster averted. Kale is back on the menu. Rainbow marshmallow ponies everywhere.
Moral of the story: don’t give up on your greens. Mother Nature and Chef Michael Smith are watching you.
Directions for Reviving your Sad Wilted Greens:
Based on a tip provided by Chef Michael Smith on his Food Network TV show Chef At Home
This method works for wilted (but not gone bad) kale, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, salad mixes and lettuce leaves or any other wilted greens you are about to give up on. The pictures below show the same bunch of kale from wilted to revived using this method.
1. Cut or tear your greens into manageable pieces and discard any stalks you don’t wish to use.
2. Place the pieces in a large bowl and fill with lukewarm water. If they float to the top, keep them submerged using a shallow dish that just fits into your bowl and fill it with a bit of water to lightly weigh it down. Leave your greens in the lukewarm water for 15 minutes. This will help to dilate the pours of the greens, and help them soak in the water needed to plump them up.
3. Drain the greens and then soak them using the same large bowl in very cold water for 10 minutes. This will shock the lettuce and start to close the pores, allowing for the water to stay put in your greens and keep them plump.
4. Use a salad spinner to dry the greens off really well. Your bunch should now be crisp and at least double the size of what you started with. Use immediately.