Proper Produce Storage Guide
Buying local produce is all well and good until it wilts in your fridge! Here are some helpful tools to make the most of your local groceries.
The key to long lasting produce is all in how you store it. Here is a quick reference guide put together by the folks at Full Earth Farm to help increase the shelf life of your local produce purchases.
Leafy greens need high humidity to prevent wilting. Put greens in a plastic bag in the crisper. If they are too big, like collards often are, chop them and put in a zip lock bag and then in the crisper drawer. Greens include:
Collards, Kale, Bok Choy, Spinach, Arugula, Lettuce, Swiss Chard,
Cabbage is a leafy storage crop that can be kept in a cool place in the kitchen until you can use it. However, it lasts longest in the crisper drawer in your fridge.
Roots can be stored several different ways. All of them need dark, cool conditions. Do not wash roots until right before you plan to use them. Items that do not need to be stored in the fridge, but do need darkness and cool climate are:
Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Garlic, Onions
Some root crops have large leafy greens. These store best with the greens removed (many of these greens are edible) and stored in a bag in the fridge. Roots that this applies to are:
Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Parsnips (do not eat tops), Radishes
DO NOT STORE IN FRIDGE! Temperatures lower than 55 F. will damage tomatoes. They turn mealy and lose flavor when refrigerated. Keep tomatoes on a counter top shoulders down, until ready to use. If you have some not quite ripe ones put them together or with a banana in a paper bag and they will ripen faster.
Mushrooms absorb humidity, get slimy and go bad. To help offset this absorption issue store in a paper bag or a plastic bag with a paper towel. Store in the fridge.
Basil is extremely cold sensitive. Keep in water like you would flowers. Other herbs are happy both in water like flowers or in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Most Other Produce
Most produce can be stored in a bag in the fridge. It is always good to dry off any produce after washing before putting in the refrigerator. Always keep produce in plastic bags to keep humidity high. This will delay decomposition.
Always wash your produce before using, even if it has been pre-washed!