Have you ever had the problem where you went to a local farmer’s market and brought home a ton of vegetables because they looked so good and fresh? However, when you arrived home, you were puzzled over how to store them properly to be able to get the maximum shelf life and not worry about all the money that you spent.
Here are some great tips and tricks that you can practice to help keep your veggies crisp and fresh for a longer period of time:
Don’t Store Them with Fruits
Yes, it’s nice to be able to make an edible arrangement on your table or counter top where the brilliant colors of fruits can stand out against the vivid colors of vegetables, but there are fruits such as apples and peaches that give off ethylene gas, which is known to speed up ripening. If you store vegetables with these fruits, especially in an enclosed space such as a vegetable crisper, you will find that your vegetables will ripen and wilt much more quickly.
Store Different Types of Vegetables Separately
If you’re in a rush, you might be tempted to just lump in all your vegetables in your crisper and leave them there --- what’s it for, anyway? Well, if you want to be able to preserve your vegetables in the best way possible, the worst thing you can do is just throw them all together.
For root crops such as onions, garlic, and potatoes, the best way to store them is in a cool, dry place.
For leafy greens such as lettuce, cabbage, and spinach, make sure to store them inside a brown paper bag, or with paper towels. The paper towels will absorb the moisture, and prevent the leaves from wilting or turning into mush.
For carrots, place them in a container with water so that they don’t get that “shriveled” up look.
For celery, you can keep them wrapped in foil, so that the ethylene gas that it emits can still escape.
Keep Their Stage in Mind
If you have unripe vegetables, keeping them on the counter will help prolong their shelf life because the ethylene gas will escape. However, if you want them to ripen more quickly, store them in the fridge.
Use Veggie Bags
Using veggie bags is a great way to keep your veggies fresh and crisp, especially if you have limited space! Make sure to store leafy greens inside brown paper bags so that they can stay crisp as long as possible. This also helps prevent premature ripening or spoilage between the vegetables.
Dry Them Properly After Washing Them
This might seem like common sense, but a lot of people prefer to let veggies drip and air-dry a little after washing them. This can be a problem with vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage, where the moisture can sneak into nooks and crannies of the produce and speed up the ripening process.
Always make sure to wipe down your veggies properly with a clean paper towel after you wash them!
Have a Pre-Storage Ritual
Always store your veggies the same way, so that you can get used to how they are stored properly. Make sure to trim away all the grungy bits, and wash and dry them properly before you store them.
Aside from being able to maximize time and effort, you’ll also be able to know which vegetables you still have in storage, because you will be able to store them in a more organized manner.