Short-Term Storage Tips
It's always best to eat any kind of produce as quickly as possible after you've purchased it as flavors and nutrients start to degrade the moment it is picked. But there are a few that require some extra consideration, mentioned below:
-If a vegetable contains a leaf AND a root/bulb (e.g., beets or kohlrabi), always store the leaves and the root/bulb separately. If the leaves are left on for storage, the root/bulb will continue to “breath” through the leaves, and the root/bulb will lose its crisp texture much more quickly.
-To revive limp greens: place leaves in a bowl of cold water with 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice for up to one hour. Remove from water and dry in a salad spinner or with paper towels.
Vegetable-Specific Storage Tips
▪ Arugula (and other salad greens) : Wrap the greens in a slightly damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will stay very fresh for 3 days and be perfectly good for up to a week.
▪ Basil : Discolors when refrigerated, so the best way to keep it fresh (for up to 5 days) is to place the stem in a small glass of water.
▪ Beans (“string” or “green”): Refrigerate in a loosely sealed plastic bag for up to a week.
: Treat the greens as you would spinach (they can be used interchangeably in recipes). Unwashed beets will keep in a root cellar for months. Once beets have been washed, store them in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
▪ Berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries): Handle gently. Do not wash strawberries until just before eating. Berries will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
▪ Bok Choi : Store wrapped in a damp paper towel in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up for 5 days.
▪ Broccoli : Refrigerate in a loosely sealed plastic bag. Broccoli is very fresh for 3 days, and perfectly good for up to a week.
▪ Cabbage : Winter cabbage can be root-cellared for months. Whole cabbage keeps in the fridge for 1-2 weeks; sliced cabbage should be used within 5-6 days.
▪ Carrots : Carrots will hold in a root cellar (or in the ground) until spring. Carrots will stay fresh in a fridge for months as well, provided that they are not kept in the vicinity of apples (apples and some other fruits emit ethylene gas, which causes carrots to become bitter). Store in a plastic bag if carrots will be kept in the fridge near other produce.
▪ Cauliflower : See Broccoli (above)
- ▪ Celeriac : Can be root-cellared if unwashed. Once washed, keep refrigerated and use within one week.
- ▪ Celery
: Wrap in a damp paper towel and store in a sealed plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.
▪ (Swiss) Chard : Keep in loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator; use within one week. The stems require a longer cooking time than the leaves, so add them into any dish you are cooking about 5 minutes before the greens.
▪ Sweet Corn : Sweet corn is most delicious 1-2 days after harvest, though still good for up to one week. Keep it in its husk in the fridge.
▪ Cucumbers: Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag for up to 10 days.
▪ Daikon Radish: Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag for up to 2 weeks.
▪ Eggplants : If you will use eggplant within 3 days, store it in a cool place, such as a pantry. For storage up to a week, keep in the fridge.
▪ Fennel: Keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.
▪ Garlic : Keep in a cool dark place. Garlic will stay fresh until spring.
▪ Kale : Refrigerate in a loosely sealed plastic bag for 5-7 days.
▪ Kohlrabi: Use the greens within 4 days. The bulb will keep for a week or more.
▪ Leeks: Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the fridge. Before using, trim off a thin sliver from the root end as well as the tough, green top and leaves. Slice lengthwise and gently rinse off any soil trapped between the layers.
▪ Lettuce : Refrigerate wrapped in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag. Crisper varieties will keep up to a week. Before serving, trim the base and rinse any grit that may be trapped between the leaves.
▪ Muskmelons: Melons will continue to ripen if left at room temperature. Once they achieve their desired level of ripeness (discernable from the scent), store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Cut melons should be covered with plastic wrap and used within 3 days.
▪ Onions : Cured onions (which have a papery outer shell) will keep for months if kept in a cool, dark place. Fresh, uncured onions (which are more moist) should be refrigerated and used within a week and a half. Do NOT store onions in the same place as potatoes–they will both go bad.
▪ Parsnips : Unwashed parsnips will keep for months in the fridge.
▪ Pea Shoots: Refrigerate for up 4 days.
▪ Sugar Snap Peas : Wrap them in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
: Refrigerate red peppers for up for 5 days in a plastic bag. Green peppers will keep longer, or you can leave them on the counter in a plastic bag to ripen and become red.
▪ Potatoes: New potatoes keep for up to a week; normal potatoes will keep for months, depending on the variety. Store potatoes in a cool, dark place (refrigerators are just a bit too cool) away from apples and onions (both of which will cause potatoes to sprout).
▪ Pumpkins: Keep pumpkins in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place for 1-2 months. Once cut, pumpkins can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
▪ Radishes: Keep refigerated for up to one week.
▪ Scallions : Refrigerate up to one week.
▪ Spinach : Refrigerate wrapped in a damp paper towl in a plastic bag for up to one week.
▪ Sprouts : Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
▪ Summer Squash (yellow squash, zucchini, patty pan) : Refrigerate for up to one week.
▪ Sweet Potatoes: Keep up to 4 weeks in a cool, dark, dry place.
▪ Winter Squash (Butternut, Acorn, Delicata): Store in a cool, dry place for a month or more. If you notice a soft spot, use the squash immediately, removing any portions that are inedible.
▪ Tomatillos : Store in a paper bag in the fridge for up to one month. Pull off the papery hull and wash in cool water to remove some of the stickiness on the skin.
▪ Tomatoes : Do not refrigerate tomatoes–the coolness will affect the flavor. Keep ripe tomatoes on the counter, stem side down, and use within 5 days. Unripe tomatoes will continue to ripen on the counter. If you have an abundance you will not be able to use, peel the tomatoes and freeze or can them.
▪ Turnips : Treat the greens like kale. The roots will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to one week.
▪ Zucchini: See Summer Squash.