How to Salvage Wilted Salad Greens Instead of Throwing Them Away

It's farmers' market season, which means it's also "WTF do I do with all these greens in my fridge?" season.

Two weekends ago, I went to yoga at Rebel in Chestnut Hill, and I couldn’t resist hitting up the weekend farmers’ market down the street afterward. As always, I got a bit overzealous, and found myself walking away a few minutes later with basically a grocery market-worthy produce section stuffed into my tote bag. I had many plans for what I was going to do with this just-purchased produce section — but then Monday came, and life got in the way of my plans to become Ina Garten. And come week’s end, I was left with a bunch of wilted greens which I’d bought way too many of. (Who can resist a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard? If you can, teach me your ways, please.)

So, if you’ve been finding yourself in the same boat week after week — that boat being “SO many farmers’ market greens, not a clue how to use them all!” — we feel you. And if you’re like me, you will continue buying WAY too many greens until the markets dry up in the hopes that this week will be the week you truly (finally!) embrace your Ina Garten-like ambitions. So below, four smart and easy ways to use wilted greens instead of throwing them away.

1. Throw ‘em in soup!
Bon Appétit has created a soup recipe specifically for the greens you left to shrivel at the back of your fridge, but really, just about any soup recipe will do. Bonus points: If you have a bunch of wilted greens, you can make a BUNCH of soup and freeze some for later.

2. Make green ice cubes for smoothies!
This trick pays off big: Not only will you not shed any tears over wasting your pricey Whole Foods greens, you’ll also be setting yourself up for healthy breakfasts throughout the week. #Winning. Though spinach is the obvious pick for green smoothies, you can use just about any type of greens you have hanging out in your fridge to make handy green ice cubes to throw in your morning smoothies. Just blend the greens with liquid (like coconut water, for instance), pour into an ice-cube tray, freeze, then blend throughout the week! You can find a full how-to for making green smoothie freezer cubes here.

3. Make pesto!
Sure, basil is delicious and and all, but it is not the only green leaf that will deliver a bomb pesto sauce. Really, you can use just about any greens you have on deck, including that heap of wilted spinach or Swiss chard or kale you’re planning on chucking come trash day. Find the handy equation to make a delicious pesto sauce with just about whatever you have on hand here.

4. Sauté them!
We’ve all watched an entire bag of spinach shrink down to a tiny — much less overwhelming — serving once it’s been tossed around in a pan with olive oil and garlic for a few minutes. And once it’s cooked, you can mix it in with quinoa for work lunches, or throw into an easy dinner omelet for some extra veggie power. Yes, please!

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