Storage tips for different types of vegetables
A very important thing to remember is that Organic vegetables are not sprayed with pesticides, waxes or any other products to prolong shelf-life, make them appear ripe when they really are not, or kill living things, e.g. bugs (like conventional vegetables)! Further, these vegetable varieties are not genetically modified, many genetically modified foods are spliced with genes to help prolong shelf-life or make them taste better (think about fish genes in your tomatoes)! We receive our products when they are at peak ripeness and flavor. This means we need to be careful about storage.
Some other things to keep in mind is that most of these vegetables are grown in (or very near) to the ground. Living in a City, we sometimes forget this! It means that many vegetables arrive to us with small amounts of dirt or sand on them. Some of our vegetables even come with surprises hidden in the leaves. It is not uncommon to find a lady bug, small worm or cricket in the folds of your lettuce. Simply let these critters outdoors and brush them off. A quick check of your veggies and a good rinse will get them clean. All these things are totally normal and ensures us that our food is freshly picked (less than 24 hours when we receive it) and truly organic (since none of the little bugs could survive in conventional fields with all those pesticides)! Our farmers are more concerned with growing our food, not totally rinsing it before we get it, and we’re glad this is the case because we think our food is some of the best we’ve ever tasted!
We’ve put together these storage tips for different types of vegetables. When stored properly, you will be surprised how long these vegetables can last!
Next time you visit your local grocery, grab a handful of plastic vegetable bags from the produce aisle. These are specifically designed to store vegetables, and we have found, work best for the money (you can often get them for free!). Some of our members also recommend the Oso Fresh Food Storage Containers. Forget your refrigerator’s “crisper,” is best used for easy access drinks!
Herbs (cilantro, dill, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, etc)
We have found the best way to store fresh herbs is to place the root end in a small cup of water and cover the leaves (and cup) with a Plastic bags stored in the refrigerator. More delicate herbs, like dill, will obviously not last as long, but we’ve found our parsley and rosemary can last for weeks this way! Another option is to make a pesto and freeze it. Some of our members prefer to dry their herbs and have found it works very well with Rosemary, thyme and basil. Simply pull the stems away and discard, then set the herbs on a towel. When the herbs have dried, store them in an airtight container and use them whenever you need! To freeze herbs, buy a mini ice cube tray. While herbs are still fresh, blend them to a pulp with a little Olive oil or Water and transfer them into the tray and freeze. Whenever you want some fresh herbs for a sauce, salad dressing, or whatever, simply pop them in. Or… why not try them in your drinks, Mint Lemonade anyone?
Leafy Greens (arugula, lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, beet greens, watercress, etc)-
Many people (our farmers included) recommend rinsing your leafy greens in a large pot of cold water, pat them dry (or use a salad spinner) and wrap them in a damp towel, and refrigerate in a vegetable bag. Realistically, many of us don’t wash our greens until we’re about to eat them. We have found simply wrapping them in a damp towel and placing the bundle in a plastic bag in the refrigerator works well. Obviously, more delicate vegetables need to be eaten more quickly, but some of us have found our lettuce can last 3-4 weeks when stored properly! We do not recommend freezing these greens (unless you make a pesto or sauce from them first).
Heartier Vegetables (guylon, broccoli rabe, collards, Cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale, leeks, beans, peppers, etc)-
Will last fine simply wrapped in a plastic vegetable storage bag and refrigerated. Some of these heartier vegetables (broccoli rabe, green beans and sugar snap peas) freeze very well. Simply wash and dry the veggies and place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, cover, and place in the freezer (this prevents one giant frozen bean). Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag, remove the air and return to freezer. Come a cold winter day, grab a handful of these little gems and remember summer!
Never refrigerate tomatoes! Tomatoes turn mealy when exposed to cold and it is best to keep them out of the fridge. Of course, if you use some and have leftover, we do recommend refrigerating, but your best option is to just eat the whole tomato for best flavor! If you cannot eat them fast enough, make salsa and have a party! Or whip up some soup or pasta sauce and freeze it in an airtight container or storage bag for a cold day. Follow this link for tips on drying your tomatoes (with oven or dehydrator).
Potatoes should be kept in a cool (around 45F), dark place to prevent them from sprouting. The refrigerator is really too cold because cold temperatures will convert the starch in potato to Sugar. If you must store potatoes in the refrigerator, simply bring them to room temperature before preparing them. Onions and garlic need ventilation (a container with holes or open bowl), but will be fine on the counter top. We do not recommend freezing Potatoes (unless they’re in a soup) but Onions and Garlic can be prepared and frozen just like fresh herbs and frozen!
Corn is similar to potatoes (once refrigerated starches turn to Sugar) so it is best to eat these immediately! If you must store, place corn in a vegetable bag and refrigerate. To freeze corn, slice kernels off the cob and assemble in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer storage bag and remove the air, then keep frozen until desired.
Winter squash can be kept on your counter top in mild, non-humid conditions for months. To freeze winter squash, peel it and slice it into evenly sized cubes. Place these in a single layer on a cookie sheet, cover and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight storage bag and keep frozen until ready to use.
Root vegetables are the most forgiving of our vegetables. Simply remove the greens (these greens can be eaten but need delicate green storage noted above), put the vegetables in a plastic storage bag and refrigerate. These babies can last months if stored properly!