Produce Storage Tips
We know you’re spending your hard-earned money on organic and local produce, and you want to eat every last bit! So we’ve put together some Produce Storage Tips that will help your produce stay fresher, longer.
- Take care of your produce immediately as soon as you bring home your produce share.
- Investing in a salad spinner will be well worth your while, if you eat greens regularly.
Greens & Lettuce
How to keep greens fresh:
- Do not, we repeat, DO NOT store greens on the counter top unrefrigerated, or just throw them on a shelf in the fridge! They will surely wilt and go bad quickly.
- DO wrap lettuce or greens in a dry paper towel and place in plastic bag in the fridge. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture that makes the lettuce rot and will keep it fresher for much longer.
- Here is another plastic-free way to store greens in the fridge crisper drawer, lined with dish towels.
How to revive wilted greens:
If your greens DO start to wilt, here’s a simple, easy way to revive them…
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes and immerse the greens in the water for several minutes.
- Remove the greens from the bowl and they will be perked up and crisp again.
- Drain carefully on towels, or run individual leaves through a salad spinner to remove the moisture.
- Eat immediately, or follow storage tips above.
Other General Tips
- Potatoes, onions, and tomatoes need to be stored in a cool, dry place, such as in a bowl in the corner of your counter top. All other vegetables should be refrigerated.
- Fruit that needs to ripen shouldn’t go into the fridge until at its peak. So keep items that need to continue to ripen after you bring them home – apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, honeydews, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, pears, and plums – at room temperature until they begin to soften, then transfer them to the crisper drawer in your fridge (although the cold will turn a banana’s peel black, it won’t affect the flesh.)
- Be sure to separate fruits and veggies; many fruits contain the ripening agent ethylene (see what fruits are ethylene-producing here). That’s why there are separate drawers in your fridge for fruits and veggies.
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes will do fine for up to a week in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. But you can lengthen their lives by storing them in the fridge in a mesh or perforated plastic bag.
- Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store it in the veggie bin in the fridge.
- Other types of produce such as carrots, lettuce, and broccoli start to spoil as soon as they’re picked, so place these in separate plastic baggies in the crisper in your fridge ASAP (make sure they’re dry since moisture speeds up spoiling).
- You could also store carrots in a covered container of cold water in the fridge to keep them crisp. Change water every 4 or 5 days. Carrots will stay crisp for 2 weeks.
- Avoid washing berries until right before you’re ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth. Read this tutorial on how to keep berries mold-free.
- Read this tutorial on how to store fresh herbs. Or freeze herbs into ice cubes to use later.
Thanks to UA member Olivia Munger who sent us this exciting tip…a new product called FreshPaper that extends the life of produce, and it’s totally natural and compostable. Read The Washington Post’s article about FreshPaper.
Finally, check out this very helpful list of produce by item and how to store it without using plastic…
Do you have any tips to share? Post a comment!