We want our produce to last as long as possible while we limit our trips to the grocery. Here are a few helpful tips for storing produce.
- Your fresh greens are the most fragile, so eat them quickly once you have them, rather than let them sit around. Prevent spoilage by adding paper towels or a clean dish towel to absorb the bag’s excess moisture. If they’re in the plastic container, line the container with dry paper towels or a clean dish towel before putting the greens back in. If they’re in a bag, fold up a paper towel, put it in the bag, and seal it with a clip. Use within a week. Remember, things like apples and avocados emit gasses as they ripen, causing your greens to go bad faster, so don’t store them together. Hardier greens, like kale or collard greens (things that come in a bunch), should also be stored wrapped in a paper towel. Remove the band or tie holding it together.
- Bell peppers, jalapenos, and other peppers don’t require much care, and they keep for up to two weeks. You can freeze them too!
- Cucumbers last about five days, and you should wrap them in a cloth and keep them away from those other gassy produce.
- If you’re looking for produce that lasts you awhile, root vegetables are the thing. These are carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, radishes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, yams, and regular old potatoes. If you have a cool, dry spot in your house, you can keep potatoes and sweet potatoes in a paper bag for up to three months without spoiling. Avoid damp, cool places–those mimic potato growing conditions, and encourage them to sprout. Keep carrots, parsnips, and turnips in the fridge wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel or dishcloth. They stay in the fridge for three to four weeks.
- Asparagus is one that gets limp fairly quickly in the fridge. You can prolong the life by trimming off about an inch from the bottoms of the stalks. Then set the whole bunch upright in a water glass or mason jar, keeping about two inches of water at the bottom. Stick the jar in the fridge, loosely covered with a plastic bag.
- Keep your corn stored in its husk to keep it fresher longer.
- Summer squashes, like zucchini and yellow squash, are more fragile. Store them in a plastic bag with one end open in the crisper drawer. Zucchinis can last a week or two, but they may begin to shrivel up after a week.
- Brussels sprouts and cabbage keep up to two weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. A whole head of cabbage, whether red or green, is a great vegetable because it lasts a long time.
- Broccoli and cauliflower should be stored loosely in a plastic bag, and skip washing them until right before you need it. It’ll keep for a week or more. They also freeze well.
- Celery stays crisper if you wrap it in foil. You want to keep that moisture in, so it doesn’t go limp. (Leave the ends of the foil open so that the gases can escape.
- Onions can last up to a month kept in a dark spot in a breathable bag or container. The refrigerator makes them go bad faster.
Lisa Lewis is the author of Healthy Happy Cooking. Her cooking skills have been a part of First Place for Health wellness weeks and other events for many years. She provided recipes for 15 of the First Place for Health Bible studies and is a contributing author in Better Together and Healthy Holiday Living. She partners with community networks, including the Real Food Project, to provide free healthy cooking classes. You can find her cookbook, Healthy Happy Cooking in the FP4H store here: https://www.firstplaceforhealth.com/shop/book-healthy-happy-cooking/