Sunday, July 1, 2007
Real Simple's Tips on Storing Produce
Real Simple's article on protecting your produce had a "periodic table of produce" (see images) that has been a great source of information for me. I've been able to keep my fresh produce a lot longer than before because I've been storing it properly, leading to less waste.
Here's another Real Simple article on buying, storing, and getting "use it or lose it" tips to avoid wasting them.
Other produce storage tips from Real Simple, Alton Brown, America's Test Kitchen, and experience:
Apples – don’t allow them to touch each other
Blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries – to prevent bruising, remove berries from containers and place on a tray lined with paper towels. Cover with dry paper towels and refrigerate.
Oranges – refrigerate, but bring to room temperature before eating
Pineapple – soften and decrease acidity by leaving out at room temperature for up to 5 days
Tomatoes – store stem-side down. Refrigeration reduces flavor, but significantly extends shelf life, especially in warmer climates.
Asparagus – cut an inch off the bottom, wrap the exposed part in a moist paper towel, wrap in vented plastic before refrigerating
Carrots – breathe life into limp carrots by soaking them in ice water for 30 minutes
Celery – trim the base and rinse in cold water before refrigerating in a vented plastic bag
Lettuce – bags of mixed lettuce spoil sooner than a non-mix. Regardless of the expiration date, I've found that once you open the bag, you only have a few good days of lettuce. However, if I buy a whole lettuce, I tend to leave it in tact in a vented bag until I need it. If it’s a bit wilted once I get to it, taking off the outer leaves should reveal nice greens on the inside. To prep and store for salads, wash, tear the leaves (cutting causes browning), dry, wrap loosely in a dry paper towel, and refrigerate in a vented plastic bag.
Onions – for long-term storage, loosely wrap each in newspaper to protect from humidity.
Ginger – peel, cut into 1 inch segments, cover in sherry, store in a sealed container in fridge
Fresh Herbs – for most herbs, you can loosely wrap them in a just damp paper towel and seal in a zip-top bag. I’ve had great luck with the Herb Keeper; you can keep 1 large or 2 small bunches comfortably. Here are some other Real guidelines for storing from Real Simple:
Basil – store at room temperature in a vase of water
Cilantro or Parsley – store in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic
Rosemary – store in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag
Sage & Thyme – store in an unsealed plastic bag in the crisper