You’ve got a basket full of produce fresh from the local farmer’s market. Sure, that pretty bowl full of fruit looks great, but you want to prep and store that produce to keep it at its peak as long as possible so you can eat it instead of composting it after it’s gotten too ripe. We’ve got a few tips for keeping things fresh and tasty.
Wrapping stems in a tiny bit of plastic will keep them from ripening too fast. If your bananas start getting too ripe, you can put them in the refrigerator. The skin will turn brown, or even black, but the cold will slow the ripening process of the flesh. Too far gone for that? Freeze bananas (in their skin is fine) and you’ll have ready to go banana pulp for smoothies, muffins and other recipes.
Give your berries a bath when you bring them home. A quick dip in hot water, or rinsing them in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water bath will kill mold and keep them fresh longer. Dry the berries and store in a container lined with absorbent paper or cloth.
Don’t wash your tubers before storing! Try storing your spuds in a breathable cloth bag along with an apple to help keep them from sprouting or turning mushy. Some folks say it’s OK to refrigerate potatoes, others say no.
Get them out of the container they came in and wipe them down with a damp towel, then let them air dry and store inside a paper bag on a regular shelf in your refrigerator. Keep them away from the crisper and the cold vents.
This is going to sound like a lot of work, but trust us, fresh, crisp greens are worth it! As soon as you get home from the market, take the greens out of their containers and toss any bruised or spoiled bits in the compost.
The jury is out on whether to wash before storage, or just before storing, but either way, make sure your greens are dry then layer them on tea towels, or paper towels, wrap loosely and tuck into a perforated plastic or mesh produce bag and store in your refrigerator’s crisper.
To wash your leafy greens, bath them in a sink full of cold water with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar added. Let dirt and grit sink to the bottom and scoop the leaves out gently by hand before spinning or air-drying them. If your greens have gone a little limp (either from the heat of the day or from sitting in the chiller too long), refresh them with an ice bath – just submerge the greens in icy cold water for a minute or two, then dry and serve.
The freezer is your friend
If you overestimated how much to buy, or how quickly you’d eat your finds, grab your precious produce before it gets too far gone and chop it up and freeze it for later. Most fruits and veggies freeze well, particularly bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, mushrooms and more. Berries will go a little soft with freezing, but are still great for smoothies, ice cream topping and mixing into morning cereal. Blanch veggies in hot water first to neutralize any bacteria and delay spoilage.