Storage Tips

 

Vegetables

 

Acorn Squash
Winter squash or hard-shelled squash, such as kabocha and butternut, should not be refrigerated unless cut. Stored at 50°F to 55°F away from light in a well ventilated spot with low humidity, it will keep for up to three months. Cut squash will keep about one week when wrapped tightly and refrigerated.

Asparagus
To maintain freshness, wrap a moist paper towel around the stem ends, or stand upright in two inches of cold water. Cover loosely with a plastic bag.

Beets
To store beets, trim the leaves 2 inches from the root as soon as you get them home. The leaves will sap the moisture from the beet root. Do not trim the tail. Store the leaves in a separate plastic bag and use within two days. The root bulbs should also be bagged and can be stored in the refrigerator crisper drawer 7 to 10 days.

Beet Greens
Wash greens thoroughly in cold water and drain well. Refrigerate them in the vegetable crisper or in plastic bags or containers to prevent wilting and loss of nutrients. Use within 3 to 5 days.

Bell Peppers
Bell peppers like cool not cold temperatures, ideally about 45°F to 50°F with good humidity. Peppers are ethylene sensitive, so they should not be stored near ethylene-producing food such as pears or apples. Put peppers in plastic bags and they will keep up to five days in the refrigerator. Green peppers will keep slightly longer than the other, more ripe, varieties.

Broccoli
Broccoli can be stored in the high-humidity vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for up to three days.

Butternut Squash
When stored in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated area, winter squash will keep for a month or more. The only time squash should be refrigerated is after it has been cut and wrapped in plastic.

Carrots
Before storing them remove their green tops, rinse, drain, and put the carrots in plastic bags and store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator with the highest humidity. They’ll last several months this way. To keep the carrots crisp and colorful add a little bit of water in the bottom of the plastic storage bag; this will keep the carrots hydrated. Carrots should be stored away from fruits such as apples and pears, which release the ethylene gas that cause carrots to become bitter.

Corn

Corn is best eaten immediately. However, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days in plastic bags with the husk still on.  If possible, store in a refrigerator with a high humidity storage bin. If the corn has already been husked, partially or fully, refrigerate it in a perforated plastic bag.

Cucumbers
Should be stored in a plastic bag and placed in the refrigerator at a temperature between 45°F and 50°F for up to a week. Be sure not to wash cucumbers until you’re ready to use them.

Eggplants and Mature Onions
Best kept moderately cool, about 50-59 degrees.

Garlic
Stored under optimum conditions in a dark, cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation, garlic will last from several weeks to one year. Try to use fresh garlic within a few weeks and do not refrigerate unless the garlic has been peeled or chopped.

Green Beans
Wash to add moisture and refrigerate in a plastic bag. Remove the tips (and strings, if present) right before cooking.

Fresh Greens
Greens should always be washed thoroughly in lukewarm water to remove dirt that could stick to leaves. They can be wrapped in a damp paper towel, placed in plastic and stored in the refrigerator. If the towel is kept moist, they can keep for up to a week.

Green Bell Peppers
Store bell peppers 3-4 days in a plastic bag, refrigerated. Avoid getting bell peppers wet, especially in the stem area. They decay faster when exposed to moisture. Green bells will last longer than yellow or red peppers.

Leeks

Wrap leeks in plastic wrap to help prevent their aroma being absorbed by other foods. They can last up to seven days. If cooked, eat within 2 days of storage.

Lettuce and Salad Greens
Greens will expire quickly if not stored properly. Greens like moisture and cool temperatures, so store lettuce in perforated plastic bags wrapped in damp paper towels, and keep in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. A good trick is to trim the bottom stem of whole lettuce heads as you would cut flowers then wash in warm water. Let the greens sit for 5 minutes to let dirt settle to bottom of sink then lift out lettuce. Spin or shake and paper towel dry before storing with the damp paper towel wrapped loosely around stem end and in an airtight plastic container or bag.

Peas
Peas are best purchased for immediate use, or keep in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Wash them before eating.

Potatoes
Potatoes like cool (45°F to 50°F) humid (but not wet) surroundings, but refrigeration can turn the starch in the potatoes to sugar and may tend to darken them when cooked. Store in burlap, brown paper, or perforated plastic bags away from light, in the coolest, non-refrigerated, and well-ventilated part of the house. Under ideal conditions they can last up to three months this way, but more realistically, figure three to five weeks. New potatoes should be used within one week of purchase. Don’t store onions and potatoes together, as the gases they each give off, will cause the other to decay.

Radishes
With the greens still intact, radishes should be immediately separated when you get home. Radishes will last up to two weeks inside a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator, but greens have a much shorter shelf life, only a few days. Keep both well chilled.

Snap peas
Snap and sugar peas have a somewhat longer shelf life than green peas, up to three days when kept refrigerated unwashed, in plastic bags.

Snow Peas
Use peas as soon as possible, within 4-5 days max. The storage of peas lessens some their sweetness and crisp texture.

Summer Squash
Your summer squash will dehydrate fast, so use within a week. Store squash in plastic bags in your crisper drawer of your refrigerator. ** Damaged/blemished squash will expire very quickly, so use right away if you find this.

Spinach
Untie bunches, remove any blemished leaves, trim off the stems, and wash it thoroughly in cold water. Repeat if necessary until you’re sure all the grit is gone. Spin dry in a salad spinner or drain well, then put into clean plastic bags very loosely wrapped with paper towels. It will last only two to three days, so plan on eating your rinsed spinach right away. Cold, moist surroundings, as low as 32°F and about 95% humidity are the best for storing spinach.

Tomatoes

Similar to fruit when it comes to storage. Keep unripe tomatoes at room temperature. Place in the fridge to slow the ripening process when desired and after slicing.

Turnips
Store unwashed turnips in a plastic bag for 1-2 weeks. To prolong the shelf life of turnips, you can put them in moist sand in a cool location.

Zucchini

Refrigerate in vegetable crisper in an opened plastic bag. They will remain firm for about one week. To avoid damaging the skin, do not clean zucchini until ready to use.

Fruits

 

Apples
Refrigerated apples last up to 10 times longer than those at room temperature. Apples emit ethylene, a naturally occurring gas that speeds ripening. To prevent apples from speeding up the ripening process of other items, store them in a plastic bag. To speed the ripening of bananas, place an apple in a bag of green bananas. Eat apples at room temperature.

Berries
Berries are best stored in the front of the fridge, where temperatures are a bit higher. A trick for berries is to wash them in a bowl of 3c water to 1c white vinegar, drain, and then rinse. Dry the berries in salad spinner lined with paper towels, for about 15 seconds. Make sure they are completely dry! You are can store in the original container, but make sure the berry container is lined with paper towels.

Pears

Ripen Bosc pears in a paper bag with an apple or a banana to speed the process. Bosc pears will have a sweet fragrance and yield to a gentle touch near the stem when ripe. Check pears in the bag daily and eat once they fit this description. You can refrigerate ripe Bosc pears up to 3 days.

Peaches
Peaches, once ripe, should be eaten right away for the best flavor and taste! You can choose to store ripe peaches in your crisper drawer for 3-5 days.

Ripe Strawberries

Don’t keep well but can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. This berry also bruises very easily, so handle them gently. Quickly toss in a bowl of cold water before serving (do not soak!)

**Cantaloupe, peaches, and pears, continue to ripen at room temperature after they are picked. To speed their ripening, put them in a loosely closed brown paper bag or ripening bowl at room temperature.

Other

Parsley & Basil
To keep parsley fresh, place the stems in a jar of water and cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Keep in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolor.