How To Keep Your Greens Fresh At Home

Hi guys!

farmers marketLast week, I gave you a beginner’s introduction to the the farmer’s world of fresh greens and yellows. So, I hope the tips and tricks I shared proved to be useful, in case you shopped at the locals recently. Those of you who haven’t had a chance to go through the tips, check them out here.

Anyways, now that you have a fair idea of how to make the most of the farmer’s market, lets move ahead and take a little effort to keep your basket fresh at home, so that as the week ends, you don’t end up throwing away half of the greens into the trash.

I’m not going to share any larger than life tips for which you need extra preparation. Like my farmer’s tips, these too are going to be quick and easy. So let’s get started.

How To Keep Your Greens Fresh At Home

Tips To Refrigerate Right

Fresh or Frozen

Tip 1# When we talk of storing the fresh, the fridge is ready for it. But to do things the smart way, the first thing you need to note is to set the temperature. Yes, we may skip that at times. But the thing is, you need to keep your veggies fresh, and not freeze them. For that, the ideal temperature that you must set is 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soak The Moisture

basil leavesTip 2# Things get even better if you lay down paper towels at the bottom of each rack so that they absorb the immediate moisture of the greens, which could possibly make them rot sooner. When you wash the the leafy ones, before resting them on the fridge, do make it a point to soak them dry to make the process easier.

Wash herbs only right before use. Keep them stacked in a glass of water and store them in the fridge. Don’t wash root veggies before storage.

In fact, it is better if you wash anything right before you use them.

A Matter Of Compatibility

fruit basketTip 3# Like it or not, many fruits and veggies don’t like to hang around together. They are better off when stored separately. While fruits like bananas ripen quite quickly, while others relax a little before they ripe. That is due to a chemical named ethylene that these fruits produce that cause them to ripen and change color. Fruits, except tomatoes, mainly emanate this chemical.[1]

So, fruits and veggies that are sensitive to ethylene need to be stored separately, because keeping them next to each other can rotten them quicker. It would be great if you reserve a separate container for the fruits.

Leafy Greens

Tip 4# Before hushing them into the fridge, check the leafy greens especially to remove any wilted leaves so that the rest of the leaves remain fresh when stored.

Let Them Breathe

Tip 5# Your greens and yellows need to breathe too. So, poke in small holes in the plastics just like the bags they offer in the supermarket. Also, keep them loose. They’ll rot quicker if you keep them tightly packed.

The Ones That Need Special Care

Some Like It Cool, Not Cold

onions potatoesTip 6#  You might want to make the most of your fridge, but not when it comes to certain veggies. Stuff like onions, potatoes, garlic, squash are not meant to be inside the fridge. Store them in a cool dry place.

Potatoes if refrigerated, will turn their starch into sugar quickly and become gritty. Again, keep potatoes and onions separate as they can damage each other by emitting moisture. Plus, keep them away from the sun.

Garlic, if kept at room temperature can stay good for several months, refrigerating them can add moisture and make the bulbs moldy.

Tidbit About Tomatoes

Tip 7# Though we like to keep them on the fridge so as not to let them ripe quickly, tomatoes are best at room temperature. They are soft and delicious, so you better enjoy them fresh and quick, you will lose their original flavor and texture if you keep them cold.

The Fuss About Mushrooms

Tip 8# Talk about food, and you leave out mushrooms, not possible. If you google to find the proper way to store fresh mushrooms, trust me, you’ll be left confused. Some recommend paper bags, others propose different methods according to their variety.

In my experience,  I haven’t had much trouble when I left them in the fridge in its original package. Just make holes in the pack so as to let air in. Keeping dried mushrooms at room temperature will do no harm.

Corns -Today Or Never

Tip 9# Yellows like corn are best eaten on the day you buy them. If you wish to store them still, keep the husks on, but cut off the shank as they can attract worms. You may have noticed that they can dry out soon, so have it within a day or two.

For carrots too, cut the greens off leaving an inch, and wrap them in a paper towel before storing in the crisper.

A Vase Of Greens

asparagus in a jarTip 10# Store scallions, asparagus and basil leaves as a bunch in a jar filled with water of up to 2 inches and wrap them loosely with a plastic bag to keep them crisp for about a week.

Relish At The Right Time

Tip 11#  Just because fruits suit themselves better at the counter top, doesn’t mean they’ll last forever. Apples, bananas, mangoes, avocados will continue to ripe at room temperature. So make sure they reach your tummy by the end of the week.

The Green And Yellows

Tip 12# Limes and lemons last well for about more than a week, if kept in a cool dry place at room temperature , just like the potatoes. If you wish to refrigerate them, wash them gently and soak them dry. Wrap them in a plastic bag with the ends open loose. This way they’ll surely last for at least a month.

Silver Foiling

Tip 13# You can wrap your greens like broccoli, celery and lettuce in silver foils to make them last longer. This way they’ll stay crisp for more than four weeks.

Separate The Dead From The Living

Tip 14# Keep your meat and fish away from fresh produce so as to avoid contamination. Store them in their original packing and wrap it up additionally with aluminium foil or plastic bag to keep them air tight and avoid leakage.

The Berry Family

berriesTip 15# Do not wash berries unless you intend to savor them right away. They are delicate, so keep them dry and refrigerated in a container. This applies to strawberries, raspberries and cranberries alike.

Bell Peppers

Tip 16# Bell peppers are ethylene sensitive too. So keep them away from fruits. Refrigerate them in the crisper. Green peppers will last longer than the red ones.

Well, the key to keeping produce fresh from the farmer’s market, is to buy them in a quantity so that they get consumed by the end of the week. This way, chances are less that any of it will end up in the trash bin.

Do mention below in case I have missed anything in the list. Your tips are most welcome.

[1]Theologis, A. (1992). One rotten apple spoils the whole bushel: The role of ethylene in fruit ripening Cell, 70 (2), 181-184 DOI: 10.1016/0092-8674(92)90093-R. ^Back to Top^

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