dill weed, vinegar & some odds and ends

I always figured that I had pretty smart readers, so when one of them recently commented that the best way to keep fresh dill perky was to keep it in a glass of water in the fridge, I listened. It was like my mind expanded 3 sizes that day. Parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, whatever fresh herb you’ve got, don’t let it languish in a plastic bag. Let it thrive in a glass of water. Let your fridge become a forest of herbs. They’ll be happy and you’ll be even happier. Got some crazy awesome tip? Share it in the comments!

Now that my mind had expanded, it was time to do something about those taste buds. Last week I read about umeboshi vinegar over on Tea & Cookies. She had to go all the way to Italy to discover the tart, salty brine of pickled Japanese plums and I was intrigued by her loving descriptions of this magenta-coloured salad brightener. Luckily I just had to cross the street and pop into a Chinatown market for a small $3 bottle. Eager to make up a vinaigrette, I added some olive oil, freshly cracked pepper and some smoked salt. It’s a good thing I tasted the concoction before I poured it over my cabbage & carrot salad. Oops! I had forgotten that the umeboshi is a brine meaning it’s quite salty on its own. So I tossed it and started again without the added salt. Much, much better.

The photo above is my dinner plate. It’s nothing all that special except that everything just looks so damn colourful. There’s some leftover curried tofu turned into fried rice with broccoli. That creamy yogurt cucumber salad I wrote about a while ago? Yup, I make it all the time. It’s delicious and refreshing and I’m sure it will be one of your go-to salads this summer. And that purple and orange salad is the one dressed with that fabulous umeboshi vinegar. Not a bad meal for a patio dinner.

Elsewhere: Over at ReadyMade I wrote about being a fridge voyeur. Curious about what’s in my fridge? How about what’s in yours? Share your fridge fetish. And over at Poppytalk, I give the basics on making great scrambled eggs. I also provide a recipe with dill and green onions. Start your weekend brunch today!

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25 comments to “dill weed, vinegar & some odds and ends”

  1. 1
    Jenny B   April 23, 2010 at 6:53 am

    I’m about to head out to the store. I’ll have to pick up some umeboshi vinegar — I’m always happy to find simple salad ideas. All the colors look wonderful — every dinner should be like this!

  2. 2
    Amanda Nicole   April 23, 2010 at 7:40 am

    What a grand idea! I recently started doing that with asparagus, and what a difference.

  3. 3
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)   April 23, 2010 at 7:49 am

    That plate of food looks delicious! The colors are incredible. I love eating color!!! The herbs in a glass of water is a great trick. It really helps keep things fresh. I want that cucumber salad…now!

  4. 4
    kristin   April 23, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Wow, thanks for the shout out! I wasn’t expecting it! I hope that trick is helping you keep your herbs longer!

  5. 5
    Megan (Best of Fates)   April 23, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Ooh, looks delicious. But wait, should the herbs be completely submerged, or just have the bottoms in water, like flowers? I need more detailed instructions!

  6. 6
    heather @ chiknpastry   April 23, 2010 at 8:05 am

    the glass thing works well eh? i used that trick a few times for herbs but i seem to always run out of “upright fridge space” so they instead stay in the bag :(. a friend once bought me this herb keeper thingie from crate and barrel, but it’s sorta lame and doesn’t hold much!

    salad looks gorgeous though – nice colors!

  7. 7
    Avalee   April 23, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Great tip for the herbs! I’ve do something similar with celery when it’s starting to wilt — just cut off the ends and stick in a jug of water with the leafy-ends sticking up top (but don’t keep it in the water for more than a day or two because it’ll soak up more than it can handle!) Bonus: depending on the leafy-ness, it can be like a celery bouquet! :-)

  8. 8
    Elaine   April 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Nice! I’ve heard of that herb trick but never tried it before. My greens-replenishing secret is with green onions: if you get whole green onions and use just the green part, stick the white roots in a jar with some water and put it in a sunny part of your kitchen–the onions will grow back really quickly.

  9. 9
    Katerina   April 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I have heard about doing that quite a bit and never got around do it, I usually wash my herbs and wrap in paper towel in my fridge. (Never plastic bags, oh no)

  10. 10
    Stefanie   April 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

    My kitchen tip is a result of having a small kitchen and I just did this last night. If you have a stainless steel colander, just steam vegetables in that over a pot of boiling water instead of buying a steamer basket. It works beautifully for me every time! :)

  11. 11
    hag   April 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I keep bunches of herbs in the fridge in a glass of water, but I also cover them loosely with a clear plastic bag to protect them…works like a charm. I am quite excited to try umeboshi vinegar … I had heard about it but never tried it, thanks for the review.

  12. 12
    Bijoux   April 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Wow! I don’t know where to look first…the plate, or the food! Both have incredible colours! The herb idea is brilliant! Next time I buy some herbs I will be trying this method. I have heard that basil should not be placed in the fridge though but in a similar fashion ( i.e. in water) but at room temperature. Umeboshi vinegar is on my list of condiments to try out. I’ve had it in mind for some time but just never took the plunge to buy it.

  13. 13
    K8ie   April 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Keeping herbs in the fridge in water is the way to go for sure. Everything lasts so much longer. I grow quite a bit of herbs at home and was so excited when I found the cuisipro herb keeper (google it) – its sort of like one of those containers that barbers keep combs in, but for herbs in your fridge… you just put a bit of water in the bottom and it fits in the door in most refrigerators – I’ve seen them, or similar products at a few kitchen shops around town (I got mine in the gift shop at UBC Botanical Garden). Mine has mint, rosemary and thyme in it right now. Oh and YUM!

  14. 14
    Debbie Bello   April 24, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I love your site. You have really expanded my mind. I will definitely be back.

  15. 15
    erika edith   April 25, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    That is such a great idea to put the herbs in water – I am not sure why it didn’t dawn on me earlier. Those green blobs of smelly herb based mush will be forever banished from my produce drawer.

  16. 16
    The Nervous Cook   April 26, 2010 at 5:42 am

    I love that tip about dill weed, and recently did the same thing to store/revive some leeks I brought home from the farmers market. Worked like a dream — so simple!

  17. 17
    Gwen   April 26, 2010 at 6:35 am

    I just came across your blog and the title made me smile.

  18. 18
    Lynn   April 26, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Such a colorful dinner must be exceptionally healthy and totally delicious. Your leftovers look lots better than mine.

  19. 19
    kickpleat   April 27, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks Jenny, I think dinners should be colourful too!

    Amanda, that’s how I’ve started keeping asparagus too. It’s perfect….and as for herbs, they last FOREVER. My dill is still going strong.

    Sarena, that salad is pretty yum.

    Well thank you, Kristin for such a rockin’ tip.

    Megan, no not completely submerged. Like flowers, just stems. It works!

    Heather, I just load everything onto the other shelves keeping my upright fridge space. It really does help with the herbs and I don’t wanna give it up!

    Avalee, my celery is always crisp when I keep it in a plastic bag in my crisper. I think I have a magic crisper for celery!

    Elaine, I’ve tried that out too. It’s awesome and amazing!

    Katerina, never tried the paper towel trick probably because I never buy paper towels. So far, this is working well for me.

    Great tip, Stefanie!

    Hag, I think you’ll love the umeboshi vinegar. It’s wonderful.

    Bijoux, interesting to note about the basil. I used this method, but used the basil up the next day so I didn’t test out long-term use!

    K8ie, thanks for the tip! I will google it.

    Thanks Debbie, glad I could expand your mind :)

    Erika, ban that mush!

    Good to know, Nervous Cook!

    Thanks Gwen :)

    Lynn, it was a good leftover night!

  20. 20
    Amyellyn   April 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I once did the water-glass trick with some tiny-leaved spicy globe basil. Lo and behold — it sprouted roots and made an adorable new plant!

  21. 21
    drizzleanddip   April 30, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Love your colourful food, you just know you are eating so much goodness. Im a salt addict – so the Umeboshi sounds interesting – so will look out for it here.

  22. 22
    kickpleat   April 30, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Amyellyn, love that it sprouted into a new plant! Maybe my dill will do the same.

    Thanks drizzleanddip.

  23. 23
    Ashley   April 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Yum I love having a plate of random leftovers like that for dinner. I’ve known about that herbs in a water glass trick for a while but for some reason haven’t tried it. By the way, I’ve been thinking about those ginger scones you posted ever since I read about them… must make them soon!

  24. 24
    kickpleat   May 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Ashley go make the scones & put herbs in water. That’s an order :)

  25. 25
    Leevon   October 2, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    It’s nice to know that people are getting to know how to enjoy their herbs a little more,as well as expanding the longivity of these herbs.Salt and pepper is not the only thing that brings flavor to food,for example; try some sliced cucumber,tomato wedges,red wine vinegar,olive oil,and a real small additive of salt. Use that to any type of seafood salad and you’ll be surprised at how great it will be,as well as healthy (Feeling)!

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