BE A PRODUCE-STORING PRO WITH THESE TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR MARKET HAUL LAST
IF YOU’VE SEEN the stacks of leafy greens and piles of bright berries at the farmers’ market lately, you know we’ve entered the year’s most bountiful produce season. But how annoying is it to buy all those beautiful fruits and veggies, only for them to wither away a day or two later? Learning how to properly store produce is a game-changer: your buys will last longer, and you’ll save money. Follow these guidelines and you’ll never toss a whole basket of fuzzy strawberries or a sad, smushy squash again.
SLIGHTLY DAMP: Delicate leafy herbs and greens such as cilantro, parsley, spinach, and salad mix are best stored with a slightly damp towel. You can wrap them in a very lightly dampened tea towel or in a sealed container with a damp towel. Putting them with a damp towel in a thick cloth bag made for storing vegetables, like the ones from Vejibag (vejibag.com, $19 to $24) and The Swag (theswagusa.com, $18.95 to $21.95), can extend their life, too.
IN WATER: Carrots, beets, and celery will stay crisp for weeks stored in water. You can store them upright in a jar like a bouquet of flowers, or keep them submerged in a sealed glass container. If there are greens attached, cut them off and store them separately.
LOOSE: Bell peppers, zucchini, and hardy vegetables like kale and broccoli are best stored loose in a crisper drawer in your fridge. If you notice them getting limp or wrinkly, cover the drawer with a slightly damp tea towel. I like to corral smaller items like mushrooms and green beans in muslin bags.
DRY: Fruits like grapes, strawberries, and cherries keep best completely dry. Don’t wash them until right before eating. Store them in a bowl on a fridge shelf and keep your eye out for any moisture.
COUNTERTOP: Fruits like avocados, tomatoes, apples, oranges, and melons do best at room temperature. Once ripened, transfer them loose to the crisper drawer in your fridge.
COOL AND DARK: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, and winter squash keep best in a cool, dark space with ventilation. A breathable container like a wicker basket stores them well.
CUT PRODUCE: Seal off the open side to protect it from exposure to air. For instance, if you have half an avocado, onion, or lemon, cover the cut side with a beeswax wrap (abeego.com, $18 for a set) or store it in a silicone storage bag (stasherbag.com, $9.99 to $19.99).
By Sara Tso, matchboxkitchen.com
Illustrated by Elenia Beretta
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