How to Store Your Veggies to Make Them Last

“Hey, this kale is all limp!”

Have you ever said that? If you have, this post is for you!

If you haven’t, then either you already know some of this (yay!) or you haven’t had fresh greens or other veggies in your fridge very often.

Wilty greens or limp carrots aren't just unappetizing, they're also not as nutritious either.  At Ripley Farm we take great care to get your CSA vegetables to you in the best condition possible so that they will have maximum freshness for you all week. 

We want our CSA members to enjoy vegetables in 'just picked' condition for many days after the pickup day!  Our farm and our members must play a role in making this happen.

 

Your farmer's role: 

We promise to deliver the freshest veggies possible!  We know that you appreciate that! 

In order to accomplish this, harvesting greens and other vegetables before they get too hot in the field from the sun is a must!  This is why we get the greens first thing Tuesday morning.  We then hydro-cool them in cold water and get them into our refrigerated walk-in cooler as fast as possible.  Here's a picture of just picked kale getting hydro-cooled:

 

 

We then pack them into your CSA box lined with one big plastic bag.  You take your veggies home with you...

Our babies... They're out of our hands!

 

Your role as a CSA member:

You promise to learn how to store everything properly so that it maintains its freshness the longest!  Right?  Yes?

I hope the answer is yes! 

No?  Skeptical?  Read on about our experiment with kale...

We put 2 bunches of fresh harvested kale in our fridge.  The first bunch was in a plastic bag completely covering the greens.  The second bunch was not in a plastic bag.  It was simply placed on the shelf in our fridge.  24 hours later, can you guess which one looked fresher?

 

 

I'm sure the moral of the story is clear to you... "Handle with care"! 

If you are new to our CSA this year you may need to beef up your vegetable storage knowledge. And before the share starts is the perfect time to do this.

The way you store your fresh veggies after you bring them home can make or break how much you like them, how much you eat of them, and ultimately how you feel about the value of them to you!

So let’s make the most of your investment in a CSA and do it right the first time.  Follow the simple lists below and learn how to do just that:

 

Maintain cold temperature AND moisture

Many veggies need to be kept cold and have the moisture maintained to prevent drying out and wilting.  Remember the kale??

Here are some good ways to do this gleaned from conversations I've had with experienced CSA members:

  • Regular recycled plastic bags (easy choice)
  • Debbie Meyer Green bags:  These things work amazingly and if properly taken care of can be reused all season long!
  • Special food storage containers like these from Tupperware
  • Cotton bags such as these
  • Organic cotton bags such as these
  • Reusable Mesh Produce bags such as these
  • Or a paper towel wrapped around the veggie to keep the moisture in

Veggies that need refrigeration AND moisture to store their best:

  • Arugula
  • Beets, roots
  • Beets, greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • Fresh Garlic (green garlic)
  • Fresh herbs (cilantro, dill, parsley etc)
  • Fresh onions (bunching onions)
  • Green beans
  • Greens of all kinds!
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mesclun Mix (baby greens mix)
  • Pac Choi (Bok Choy)
  • Peas
  • Purslane
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Scallions (Green onions)
  • Spinach (& 'Tatsoi' Summer Spinach)
  • Summer Squash
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini
     

 

Maintain cold temperature

These veggies need to be kept cold, but don't need as much moisture control, especially if stored short term, like up to one month.  You can do this by just putting them into the crisper drawer or simply on the shelf of the fridge.

  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Peppers, green, red, hot
  • Leeks

 

At cool room temperature

These veggies can and should be left out at room temperature.  Use up quickly if you see a soft spot.

Out on the counter (out of plastic bag) 

  • Tomatoes

In the pantry (cool and dry, out of a plastic bag)

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Winter Squash
     

Don't think you can remember this all?  Don't worry, your CSA newsletter will have storage tips in it for every veggie each week for your reference.  :)  Good luck!