Tips for Storing Your Summer Produce

By ecoRI News staff

At this time of the year, your kitchen is probably full of strawberries, tomatoes and sweet corn, the abundant pleasures of summer produce. Between farmers markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares and backyard gardens, sometimes it can be hard to properly store summer produce, especially if you are trying to avoid using plastic bags.

To help you better store summer’s abundance, here are some tips, courtesy of our friends at Fresh the Movie:

Asparagus. Place the upright stalks loosely in a glass with room-temperature water. Will keep for a week outside the refrigerator.

Basil. Doesn’t like to be cold or wet. The best method is an airtight container loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper and left out on a cool counter.

Beets. Cut the tops off to keep firm. Leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in an open container with a wet towel on top.

Beet greens. Place in an airtight container with a little moisture from a damp cloth.

Berries. Stack them in a single layer, if possible, in a paper bag. Wash right before you plan on eating them.

Carrots. Cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in a closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they re stored that long.

Corn. Leave unhusked in an open container, but corn really is best the day it’s picked.

Greens. Remove any bands and twist ties. Most greens should be kept in an airtight container with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Kale, collard greens and chard do well in a cup of water on the counter or in the refrigerator.

Melons. Keep uncut in a cool, dry place for up to a few weeks. Cut melons should be kept in the refrigerator.

Peaches. Refrigerate only when fully ripe. Firm fruit will ripen on the counter.

Rhubarb. Wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.

Strawberries. Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Sweet peppers. Only wash them right before you plan on eating them, as wetness decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple of days, place in the crisper if longer storage is needed.

Tomatoes. Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.

Zucchini. Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.