The questions of how to store fresh vegetables seems simple enough. However, a quick google search would prove otherwise. Over the last couple of years I have grappled with this question myself. Growing fresh food and purchasing locally is part of my lifestyle. Therefore, I want to make my money and my time work for me. Eliminating waste and using up every bit of food I can be is also part of the journey.
Which brings us back to the initial question. How DO you store fresh vegetables? But really how to you store them in a way that get the most longevity out of their life and prevents them from spoiling and making a mess in your kitchen? Below you will find a list of vegetables, many of which we are growing this season. Following each type of vegetables is a suggestion on how to store them. I have tested these methods and believe they are a splendid place to start. The truth of the matter is: the better you know how to store your vegetables the more you can eat and enjoy them!
Something to note* Do not store vegetables near fruit. Fruit releases high levels of ethylene (ripening agent) and can prematurely ripen or spoil vegetables.
Asparagus: Wash asparagus and trim the ends about an inch. Place the spears in a glass jar, cut ends down. Fill the jar with about 1 inch of water. Loosely cover tips of the asparagus with a plastic bag. Store in the front of the fridge for up to 10 days.
Basil- basil is sensitive to cold and prefers to be kept at room temperature. Keeping that in mind, store it loosely packed in an airtight container, with a damp cloth on top. Beets- cut off beet greens. Store green in an airtight container with little moisture. Store beetroot in an open container with a damp towel on top.
Cucumber- store in fridge wrapped in a damp cloth.
Garlic head- store in a cool dark place.
Cooking greens- like kale and chard are hardy and can withstand fridge temperatures. Store them in an airtight container with a damp towel on the bottom to keep them from drying out.
Woody herbs- like thyme and rosemary can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Leafy herbs- like cilantro and parsley can be stored in the fridge in a cup filled halfway with water.
Green Beans/ Bush Beans: Store unwashed fresh beans in a reusable container or plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper.
Radish- Remove greens, and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Store radishes, in the fridge in an open container with a damp towel over the top.
Carrots: remove greens and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Store carrots in the crisper drawer or open container.
Fresh Ginger: To maximize the storage time, place your ginger in a plastic bag; press out most of the air and place it in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. If purchasing fresh ginger and looking to keep it for longer than a week, store the same way in the freezer, removing and grating as needed.
Lettuce/ Mixed Greens- wash greens in a salad spinner. Spread out green on a towel and allow to dry for 30 minutes. Roll up towel and store in the fridge.
Eggplant: Keep eggplant at room temperature in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight, and use it as soon as possible after harvesting or buying. You can place it in a vented bowl, but avoid sealing it in a plastic bag which can increase decay.
Okra: Store fresh okra carefully because the pods can bruise easily. Store okra in the fridge. Wrap them in a paper towel or place inside a paper bag, and store in the vegetable drawer. Do not wash fresh okra until you are ready to use it.
Tomatoes- tomatoes should never be stored in the fridge before slicing. Store directly on the countertop or in an open container. Once you sliced the tomatoes, place it cut side down on a plate and place it in the fridge.
Peppers- store unwashed in the fridge. Excess moisture can lead to mold. Wash peppers before using.
Spring onions- store in the fridge in the crisper drawer or airtight container.
Summer Squash/Zucchini- store at room temperature or on the counter.