Storing fruits and veggies
Seriously...how hard can this be??? I am sure you are wondering what information could I possible pass along that you don't already know. Funny, that is how I feel more times than not while writing this blog. What I have learned over the years is if I find new information out there that I did not know about before, I am not alone!
When we lived in Virginia, we joined a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). With just two of us enjoying this share, I wanted to be sure to get the most out of our bounty keeping fruits and vegetables fresh as long as possible until our next visit. I started asking the farmers and reading online about the best way to store all these goodies and I actually learned a few new things. I hope you will find some of the tips below helpful. As a side note, the picture of the carrot above was actually in my share one day, I miss that CSA.
LETTUCE: This does not apply to bagged triple washed lettuce. Remove leaves from the center core, place the leaves into a deep large bowl of water. Swish the leaves around to remove any dirt. Gently remove the leaves and place temporarily on a clean dish towel. Grab a gallon size ziploc bag and place a dry sheet of paper towel on one side of the bag. Shake any excess water from the leaves and place them into the bag. Squeeze out all the air and seal. The fresher the lettuce the longer it will store, not to mention a space saver with this method.
ASPARAGUS: Trim about an inch off the ends of the asparagus keeping the rubber band in place. Place the asparagus into a bowl with 1 inch of fresh water in the bottom. A two cup measuring cup works really well. Store in the fridge covered loosely with a plastic bag, changing the water when it becomes cloudy. Do not wash until ready to use. When you are ready to enjoy, forget the knife. Pick up one or two pieces at a time, bend them towards the bottom of the spear and where it naturally breaks will take the tough part off and leave you with a perfect spear to roast or steam. Love, love, love asparagus.
BANANAS: Separate each banana from the bunch to prevent them from ripening too fast. This is my preferred method. Another method is to wrap the stem of the bunch with plastic wrap, rewrapping each time you remove a banana. Depending on how quickly your family goes through bananas will determine which method works best for you. If you find that you have too many ripe bananas left over, break them into four pieces and place them into a freezer baggie. Great for smoothies or thawed just a bit with a quick spread of almond butter for a healthy snack.
TOMATOES: Do not store in the fridge. Instead place them on your counter or on a plate vine side down.
POTATOES: If you are lucky enough to have a farm close by and you purchase potatoes with dirt still on them, DO NOT wash off the dirt. Leave them as they are until you are ready to use them. They will last much longer this way. Remember to store loosely in a cool dry place. Never store with onions, keep them separate.
BASIL: Now that you have that beautiful bunch of basil don't let it spoil before you have a chance to make pesto. (AHHH future blog post...one of my favorite summer activities...make enough to freeze to enjoy all winter long!) In the meantime...trim off the bottom of the stems about 1/2 inch, place in a large glass with water covering the stems, avoiding any leaves. Cover with a gallon size ziploc and store on your counter. Do not wash until ready to use. Also trim the stems and change the water each day as well.
SCALLIONS: Do not store them loose in the crisper. Remove the rubber bands, place them in a jar of water, root side down, again, cover loosely with a plastic bag. I have heard that the dark green parts of the onion actually grow back naturally. So trim off what you want and stick it back in the water. I have to try that one! Change water as needed.
AVOCADOS: One of my favorites and nothing makes me crazier than needing a ripe avocado and there is not one in the market. Recently I was given the idea of buying those small bags of avos and storing them near my bananas allowing them to ripen faster. It did the trick!
If you have any other storing ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section. Until next time.