radishes, carrots, and other produce piled together. learn how to store produce so it lasts longer

How to store produce so it lasts longer

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What are the best ways to store produce?

We use a lot of fresh produce. Even though it’s just the two of us these days, we’re still going through a lot. I upped our Misfits Market (Get 25% off your first order with the code COOKWME-EQ5CJS) box to the larger one to see if we can make it last for a couple weeks. With that brings produce storage. There are right and wrong ways to store produce. Choose the right way and it will stay fresh for a good amount of time.

I won’t go into every single type of produce, but I will hit the common ones today. If you’re looking for advice on something specific, ask in the comments and we’ll figure it out!

Not everything needs to go in the refrigerator. Lots of produce doesn’t need refrigeration, which really helps when you have a big box full of stuff to deal with…

What should stay out of the refrigerator? 

wooden bowl of tomatoes. Store produce  like this out of the refrigerator

Tomatoes
Potatoes (Keep your potatoes out of direct sunlight so chlorophyll doesn’t develop – that’s those green parts you see sometimes. A paper bag is a great option.)
Sweet potatoes 
Onions (Make sure to give them air circulation to keep them fresh. Don’t keep near potatoes; onions emit gas and moisture that can cause potatoes to spoil quickly. And rotten potatoes are one of the worst smells EVER.)
Garlic
Avocados (You can store them in the fridge to keep them from over-ripening.)
Basil (This is best places in a jar with water just like you would fresh cut flowers.)
Cucumbers – This was a new one to me. I read that storing in them in the refrigerator leaves them watery and pitted.)
Squash such as pumpkin, spaghetti, butternut.
Bananas
Citrus
Peaches
Whole Melons

What goes in the fridge?

Some produce needs higher humidity than others. Most refrigerators have two crisper drawers; one should be for high humidity and the other for low. According to Taste of Home, “use the low-humidity setting for anything that rots easily. That means apples, pears, avocados, melons or stone fruits. The high-humidity drawer is great for anything that wilts—think thin-skinned vegetables like asparagus or leafy vegetables like greens.”

High Humidity Crisper drawer

Kale on a count towel Store produce like this in the high humidity drawer

If you have a control on your crisper drawer, you you set to closed to create high humidity. The following vegetables do well in high humidity. Store produce by wrapping in a damp tea towel or cotton produce bag. I bought a big pack of cotton towels to have on hand just for this. If you run out of room, use other storage containers with lids for these items:

Carrots (You can also store cut carrots by submerging in water; make sure to change the water every couple of days or make these fermented carrots because they are amazing.)
Celery (Like carrots, you can store cut celery in water.)
Green Onions (I read a suggestion to store these in water like cut flowers. I’ve never tried it. I will next time I buy a bunch and I’ll let you know how it goes.)
Kale
Chard
Most lettuces
Spinach
Asparagus
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Green beans
Zucchini/summer squash 
(If you’re out of room, these can get by in the low humidity drawer, especially if you are planning on using them fairly soon.)

Low humidity crisper drawer 

The low humidity drawer should have vents open. This is useful for fruits that give off high levels of a gas called ethylene (it speeds up the ripening process) In a closed setting, it can cause the fruits themselves to over-ripen as well as other produce that is sensitive to ethylene. The open vent allows the gas to escape.  If you only have one crisper drawer (or run out of room), try storing these fruits in other bowls or containers in the refrigerator.

Apples  
Pears
Plums
Nectarines
Kiwi
Grapes 

Anywhere in the fridge

We can store produce in other parts of the fridge too. Thank goodness because there is only so much I can shove in there…..

Mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator 
Berries– It’s often recommended not to wash until right before use. We wash all our produce when we get home from the store. This is fine for berries as long as you make sure to let them air dry thoroughly before storing in a glass container

There are other suggestions out there. I read so many different suggestions my head was spinning. Basically think about the grocery store. The produce that is under the water sprayers needs high humidity. The stuff that isn’t generally does not. How’s that for simplicity!

I’m looking for some containers to help me organize the my produce along with the rest of the stuff in the fridge better because I just don’t have enough storage in the drawers. Watch for more posts on this! I’ll keep you posted <- see what I did there…LOL on everything I learn to help store produce like a pro.

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One Response

  1. my mother always stored the green onions in a glass of water in the fridge and they kept forever, didn’t remember that until I read this, she would trim them just as though they were going to be used right then, she would change the water every day.

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