Going to the grocery store (or better yet, a local farmer’s market) and picking up some fresh, ripe produce is an exciting part of summer. Since the weather is warm in the summer, walking at a farmer’s market can be even more enjoyable since many are located in an outdoor area. The only problem with buying fresh, organic produce is that it can quickly start to wilt and loose nutrients and freshness.
However, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you enjoy your fresh produce for as long as possible. Check out these five tips to keep your veggies fresh longer:
1. Keep Potatoes and Onions in a Cool, Dark Place
Make sure you have a set location for onions and potatoes, which are better stored in a cool, dark place in your kitchen rather than a refrigerator. A good spot is the pantry or a cabinet. Before storing, do not wash them. Instead, wash these root vegetables right before you are about to use them.
2. Refrigerate Other Root Vegetables
While onions, potatoes, and garlic should be kept out of the fridge, other root vegetables such as carrots, beets, and turnips should be kept in perforated plastic bags in the fridge. Also be sure to cut off the green, leafy tops because they can draw moisture out of the root. The key with these vegetables is to maintain their moisture, so the perforated bag helps to get some air flow without drawing out too much moisture.
3. Pick Out Spoiled Pieces in Lettuce Containers
A rotten apple can spoil a whole barrel, and this principle also applies to leafy greens. If you buy pre-washed greens in a container at the grocery store (hopefully organic!), be sure to open the package as soon as you get home and pick through the contents. If you see any damages, bruised, or slimy pieces, take them out and discard. If you leave them in there, they can cause damage to the rest of the lettuce as well.
4. Individually Clean Each Mushroom
Mushrooms will typically come in cartons, so dump them out right when you get home from the store or market and clean each one individually with a damp paper towel. A crisper is too cold for mushrooms, so place them in a paper bag and put them on a shelf in the fridge.
5. Don’t Store Corn At All
Corn should not be kept overnight in your house or stored anywhere. Instead, use corn the same day you buy it, which is hopefully the same day it was husked. Eating it this way ensures maximum freshness, whereas the corn will go bad within just a few days if you store it. So, this means skip the grocery store and head to the farmer’s market, where the farmers probably picked their corn that same morning!
6. Never Refrigerate Tomatoes
Though technically a fruit, we cook with them as if they were a vegetable. If you put tomatoes in the fridge, they can quickly lose flavor and become mushy. Yuck! To maintain fresh, plump tomatoes, keep them on the counter. You can always place them in a paper bag if you want to ripen them up quicker.