The summer months are so exciting when you have a spread of fresh produce you get to bring home and enjoy from your garden or your local farmers market, but unless you know the proper storage techniques for your produce then they can go from fresh to supermarket drab in just a couple days. Learning how to best store your fresh vegetables so they stay fresh for as long as possible is the key to having a delicious summer with your favorite foods. Below I have taken a handful of vegetables you are likely to find at your farmers market currently or soon
and shown you the best way to store and preserve them!
One important tip that goes for most vegetables you get – don’t wash them until you are ready to use them! Garden or farm fresh veggies will stay fresher much longer when placed in the fridge without a rinse beforehand. If you wash them before you plan on using them, when in your fridge, lingering moisture can invade the crevices and cracks in your produce and cause them to age prematurely.
ripe peppers, summer squash and green beans: Store them, dry, in a perforated plastic bag, meaning a bag with some smaller holes in it to be able to air out your vegetables. But before placing them in your bag, wrap them in paper towel to soak up any lingering moisture or moisture that develops during storage and keep them crisp and fresh. You should put them in a crisper drawer in your fridge or place them towards the front of your fridge, away from the freezer for the optimal storing results!
tomatoes: these are best kept outside a fridge actually, but just placing them on a kitchen counter isn’t always the best spot either. If you kitchen is temperature regulated during the summer and never gets too warm, then you could keep your tomatoes on the counter, out of the sun. If your kitchen tends to be warmer, it’s best to keep your tomatoes in a cooler part of your home, like a basement possibly. Tomatoes ripen quicker in warmer environments, but often their flavor and texture is also lost from long period spent in the fridge. Storing tomatoes in a basement on a flat plate so they aren’t squishing each other is how you will maintain freshness in your tomatoes for the optimal amount of time.
herbs: Herbs often get wilted after a few days in storage it seems, but I think I have finally cracked the perfect way to keep them fresh for as long as possible. If stored properly, herbs can actually do pretty well outside a fridge, as well as inside. The first steps regardless are to snip the ends of your herbs and to make sure the leaves are completely dry. Then, in a mason jar or mug with shallow water, place your herbs in stem first so a bit of the stem portion is covered with the water. Now, if you are storing them on a countertop, they can be left like this. But if you will be putting them in a fridge, cover them very loosely with a small plastic bag. These steps will make this difficult vegetable last in your fridge or on counter for much longer than when using any other method!
I know firsthand storing summer vegetables can be difficult. We want them to stay fresh for as long as possible, especially when we are extra busy during the summer months and may not be getting to our vegetables within a short amount of time. These tips and tricks should stop vegetable spoilage before you are able to enjoy them. I hope you found this helpful and will try these tips in your storing this summer!