Monday, February 21, 2011

Vegetable How To

So you just bought a houseful of vegetables. Now what? Vegetables can go bad quickly if you don't store them the right way. I also find that having my vegetables ready to go for when I need them is a huge time saver. I eat more of them if I don't have to wash and cut veggies each time I want some. These are a few tips on how to store your foods so that they last longer or are ready for when you want them.

Lettuce, fresh herbs, and green onions- lettuce can go bad very quickly because of moisture. When I buy a head of lettuce I separate and wash all the leaves. I let them dry a bit in my dish rack. Then in a large plastic container I lay down a few paper towels. Lay all the leaves on top then one more paper towel on that. You can keep all of these veggies together in the same container to help save space.

You can buy larger containers or recycle the ones you get with pre-made salad mixes. Don't chop up your leaves unless you plan on using them in a day. They will get slimy faster if they are cut.

If you have a lot of lettuce like I did in this trip only wash what you will use in a couple of days. the rest wrap in a paper towel and put back into the plastic bag you took it home in. All these paper towels keep the lettuce from staying too moist and rotting. When your lettuce is finished use them to wipe up the counter after dinner. They are only wet and there is no reason to waste them.
Fruit and squash - can be kept out of the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. (thicker skinned only). We keep ours in a basket so that it can get proper air flow around it. Do not leave your fruit or squash in a plastic bag. The moisture they give off will collect and rot them pretty quick.

Onions, garlic, and ginger (potatoes if you eat them)-These need to be stored in a cool, dark, dry, place. This is my dark basket in my cabinet. I keep ginger, garlic, and onions here until I'm ready to use them. The ginger can go right back here after you break a piece off. I always keep one onion in the fridge. The reason being that the chemical in the onion that makes you cry is less potent cold.

Celery, asparagus, and other long stemmed vegetable or herbs- All vegetables are, are plants. Treat them like you would a bouquet of flowers. Cut off the bottom inch (or more to make it fit in your fridge) and place them in a cup of water. Wilted celery and asparagus can be revived very quickly this way.
Any other vegetable I may have missed usually just need to be kept cool and dry. Mold happens in warm and wet places. Make sure to allow enough room for the air to circulate around your produce.

I also recommend taking the time after a shopping trip to pre-cut things like celery, carrots, and cucumbers. These things, once cut, make for easy snacks. If it is cut up and ready to go you are more likely to eat it.

Do you have any Produce tips on storing or making it easier to grab?

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