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How Long Will Living Watercress Last in the Fridge?

Living Watercress in a glass of water
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How long will living watercress last in the fridge? Living watercress will last up to a week in your fridge if you store it properly.

Even though it still has its roots attached, the leaves themselves are very delicate and will start to decay after 4 or 5 days.

A bunch of living watercress laying on a cutting board.

The delicate leaves on the watercress will start to yellow and most likely anything trapped between the stems will turn slimy after a while.

However, there are a few easy things you can do when you first get your living watercress home that will make it last a little longer before you need to use it.

A closeup of two watercress leaves
Delicate leaves, destined for a sophisticated, crustless sandwich served at one of your salons.

How to Keep Your Living Watercress Fresher Longer in the Fridge

The worst thing you can do with your living watercress once you get it home from the store is to keep it in the bag from the store.

This only pertains to the type of living watercress in the photos. If yours came in a labeled bag, like the watercress from Pete’s Organics, then leave it in the bag.

Most produce departments will place their living watercress near the fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley. Cilantro and parsley are best maintained under the misting systems in produce.

This invariably leads to the watercress getting wetter than it should.

No need to fret though.

First, you need to ensure the stems and leaves are dry before you store your living watercress in the refrigerator.

Another shot of living watercress
Snipping the rubberband and getting in between the stems with a paper towel is one way to keep your watercress fresher.

It is the excessive moisture in-between the stems and the leaves that will expedite the decomposition process.

You will need to submerge the attached roots in water and cover the leaves with a plastic bag.

Living watercress with the roots in a glass of water and covered with a plastic bag
Living watercress with the roots in a glass of water and covered with a plastic bag

This is the best way to keep it in your fridge.

Why Does Living Watercress Need to Be Refrigerated?

If living watercress still has its roots attached, why does it need to be refrigerated? Since its roots are attached and it’s still living, can’t it just keep growing as a plant would?

These are all valid questions.

As you can see, watercress is highly perishable. It is composed of 93% water and once it’s harvested, that’s it.

Watercress grows naturally in the wild and needs a fresh moving water source from which it gets its nutrients.

Most home kitchens aren’t equipped with gently babbling brooks running through them so you’re out of luck.

The living watercress you encounter in the store is grown in hydroponic greenhouses equipped with an ever-flowing water system.

Pete’s Organics, for example, uses certified organic peat moss. Peat moss has more nutrients than dirt.

Final Thoughts

Living watercress can last a lot longer in your fridge as long as you remember to open the stems and dry in between them with a paper towel.

As a former produce manager, I can tell you that most of the living watercress I’ve had to throw out was because it got too wet and slimy in between the banded stems.

Dry it out! Keep the roots in water and cover it loosely with a plastic sack. This should give you an extra day or two past the usual 4 to 5 day shelflife of living watercress.

Enjoy your salad or fancy sandwiches.

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