Produce Tips

Apples


If Apples are too firm or sour when purchased, leave out at room temperature to ripen for 1-3 days, and once ripen you can refrigerate in a plastic bag. Doing so will keep them fresh for 3-4 weeks.

Apples can keep up to 6 months or more if they can be stored in an area where the temperature is between 30-40 degrees with high humidity.

Freezer storage for Apples is similar to Peaches. Wash, peel, core and slice apples. Coat with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid (found at a vitamin store) and 6 tablespoons of cold water to prevent darkening. Place in a covered airtight container or freezer bags.

Basil


Put the newly cut stems in water in a vase-like jar or glass covered with an inverted plastic bag at cool room temperature and away from direct sunlight.

The bag goes over the jar/glass in which you’ve placed the Basil, and the Basil’s stems sit in the water. Cut the stems a half inch from the bottom before putting them in water as that makes it easier for them to take water.

By maintaining high humidity, the bag keeps the leaves from wilting.

Beans (Green or Yellow)


Refrigerate in a plastic bag where they can remain fresh for 3-5 days. Do not wash until ready to use. To freeze, wash and remove ends. Leave whole or cut into pieces, and blanch (plunge into boiling water) for 3 minutes and chill in cold water. Drain off excess moisture and package in freezer bags.

Beets

You can store Beets in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, but do not wash before refrigerating. The Beet Greens can last about 3-5 days with the same type of care To freeze, wash the Beets and cook until tender. Cool then peel the Beets and cut into slices or cubes. Place them in covered airtight containers or freezer bags.

Blueberries


Place Blueberries loosely in a shallow container, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate where they can stay fresh for 1-2 weeks. Do not wash Blueberries until ready to eat, as excess moisture during storage will hasten decay. To freeze, wash berries in cold water, pat dry and place on cookie sheet in freezer. Once frozen, transfer to bags.

Broccoli

To keep Broccoli at its freshest stage, store it for 3 to 5 days in a plastic bag in the fridge. Broccoli can also be stored by freezing it. Peel the leaves from the stalk. Blanch the Broccoli in steam for 5 minutes. Cool, and then place the Broccoli in a sealed plastic bag. Broccoli can be stored in the freezer for up to 10 months.

Cantaloupe


You can store Cantaloupe at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate, where it can last up to 10 days. To freeze, cut the melon in half and remove seeds and rind. A frozen melon can be saved for 10-12 months without any real effect to the taste.

Carrots

For freshness, store the Carrots in a covered container filled with water. This will keep them fresh for a long time! We have also seen a tip that says you can roll Carrots in bubble wrap and that this will also keep them ultra-fresh. We have never tried that, but we can speak to the effectiveness of the water bath.

Collard Greens


Different from Lettuce storage, with Collard Green you should refrigerate in a plastic bag, but do not wash until you are ready to use. This should allow freshness for 4-5 days. To freeze, wash the greens and cut off the stems. Then blanch for 3 minutes and chill quickly in ice water. Place in freezer bags immediately.

Cucumbers


Lot’s of debate on Cucumbers, but the most popular ideas seem to be putting them in a Ziploc bag without sealing it with the Cucumber standing up. Supposedly, it allows air to circulate around it. And, we have also have folks wrapping each one in a paper towel and storing in the veggie crisper. They say they last about three weeks.

Eggplant


Select an Eggplant that is fresh to start with. You can not revive an Eggplant that has already started to deteriorate. Do not leave the Eggplant in the sun for too long in the heat, as heat is detrimental to Eggplants. Place the Eggplant in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. Cold temperature will stall the ripening process.

Eggs

After Eggs are purchased , they may be refrigerated for 3-5 weeks. The “sell-by” date on the package, will usually expire during that time, but the Eggs with remain safe to use. Do not store Eggs in the Egg rack of the refrigerator door, as the temperature is too warm; Eggs will keep better when stored in the body of the fridge!

Green Peppers


Store Green Bell Peppers for short-term use by refrigerating them in the produce drawer of your refrigerator. To ensure good air flow, remove peppers from any plastic bag or container they were purchased in. With proper refrigeration, a healthy Bell Pepper should last from three to five days in the refrigerator.

Lettuce/Greens

Fill a sink with cold water, separate all the leaves of Lettuce, place them in the water and swirl them around. If the Lettuce is a bit limp, let it soak in the water for 30 minutes and it will miraculously come back to life.

Dry the Lettuce, and spread two paper towels (still connected) on the counter and pile the dry Lettuce in the middle. Wrap the paper towels around the Lettuce and slide into a gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Squeeze the air out and close the bag.

The lettuce can now be stored in the fridge and should stay fresh for at least a couple of weeks. You can take out what you need whenever you want to make a salad or sandwich.

Peaches

Store at room temperature until ripe (refrigerating Peaches before they are ripe can lead to loss of flavor, texture and appearance.)

To hasten ripening, place Peaches in a paper bag at room temperature, and check daily. Once ripe, place Peaches in a plastic bag and refrigerate, and they should be good for 3-5 days.

To freeze: Wash, pit and halve or slice Peaches. Coat with a solution made of 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid (found at a vitamin store) and 6 tablespoons of cold water to prevent darkening. Add 2/3 cup of sugar to each quart of fruit and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place in covered airtight contains of heavy-duty freezer bags.

Potatoes


Stored at normal room temperature, Potatoes can last for 2-3 Weeks and if stored in cool dark area (45-55 deg.), they can last 2-3 months. Do not refrigerate raw potatoes, doing so gives them a sweet taste and cause them to darken when cooked. Do not store Potatoes near onions, as the chemical reaction will speed up the spoilage of both.

Summer Squash/Zucchini


Select Yellow Squash and Zucchini less than eight inches long; the vegetables can become bitter the larger the plants grow. Make sure the Squash are firm, particularly at the stems.. Refrigerate Yellow Squash and Zucchini, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer and they will last three to five days.

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn is tricky as the sugar in corn can covert to starch within two days, leaving your family thinking, “What’s so great about Sweet Corn?” The best tip we have for freshness, is to ask the vendor selling the corn, “When it was picked?” If it was cut in the cool of the morning (like at Silverbrook) or refrigerated, it may last longer than a couple days.

Tomatoes

To keep Tomatoes fresh, place the Tomatoes in a paper bag, stem side up. Keep bag out of direct sunlight and do not refrigerate. Tomatoes will keep for up to three days in the paper bag. Now, some folks skip the paper bags entirely and just lay them on the counter out of direct sunlight and they last for a week.

Watermelon

Do not buy Watermelons kept in coolers at the store. Refrigeration is shown to significantly hasten decomposition. Storing Watermelon at a slightly chilled room temperature (70ish) will actually give you a Watermelon that is good about 14 days from harvest. You can also cut and freeze if need be.