How To Store Vegetables, Berries, and Herbs

Surely you paid attention to the fact that sometimes vegetables for a long time lie in the refrigerator and remain fresh, and sometimes spoil in a couple of days. What should we look for when buying vegetables and berries, how to store them correctly and in what way?

Tomatoes

Tomatoes need to be stored at room temperature, but if you really need to cool the vegetable, then it is not forbidden to put it for a while in the refrigerator in the vegetable compartment.

Preparation: not required. In no case do not wash the tomatoes, only right before you are planning to cook something from them.

Cucumbers

Fresh cucumbers do not like heat, so they should be stored in the refrigerator. Otherwise, they will turn yellow, change the texture and aroma, and will quickly fade. On the other hand, cold makes cucumbers soft, covers them with microscopic scars. These scars trigger the rotting process.

If all necessary measures are taken, cucumbers can remain relatively fresh for 10-14 days.

Preparation: before putting the cucumbers in the refrigerator, they should be cleaned of yellow inflorescences. As a rule, the process of decay starts from them.

Storage: To keep the cucumbers “alive” for as long as possible, each of the fruits should be wrapped in a paper towel to preserve moisture and absorb its excess. And if you keep the cucumbers in closed but not sealed bags, you will delay the appearance of scars and softening of the vegetables.

Bell peppers

Peppers, as a rule, like cold, but choosing the right temperature regime depends on the maturity of the vegetable. The color of the pepper should be taken into account. All peppers are initially green, they change color depending on the ripening period. The optimum temperature depends on the color of the vegetable. Yellow, red and orange like a temperature of 7 degrees C. Green ones – 10 degrees C.

Hard pepper can be stored for 7 to 10 days without damage. If red pepper has a green side, then it can live for two weeks.

Preparation: if the pepper inflorescence is damaged, it should be removed, since this is a kind of open wound through which rotting bacteria can penetrate. This may cause damage to the remaining peppers in the package.

Storage: Shelf life can be extended by putting peppers in a paper bag that will absorb vapors.

Chives

Onions are well stored at a temperature of zero degrees C. In a home refrigerator which doesn’t keep the cold temperature the chives arrows will continue to grow. Because of this, they may turn yellow and begin to deteriorate.

Preparation: often a little sand remains at the base of the chives. We recommend washing the roots, but in no case leaves. After this, the base of the bulb should be cut, dried and put away in a bag in which you need to make small holes the size of a needle’s eye. And remember, if the package will be open on the side of the stems, then they will begin to fade quickly. To prevent this from happening, you can cut off a couple of centimeters of stems and tightly close the bag with an elastic band at their very ends.

Storage: green onions should be stored in bags with small holes, the quality of the onions will be better preserved if you also wrap it with a paper towel. The paper absorbs excess moisture which can cause the onion to fade. It is important to keep them straightened. Bending will cause damage and loss of moisture.

Broccoli

At a temperature of about zero degrees C / 32 F, broccoli can be stored for a month, at home, this period is reduced to several days. Broccoli, like kohlrabi, is eaten before flowering. When this vegetable begins to bloom it is already unfit for eating.

In some stores you can find broccoli in special packages filled with air: they contain carbon dioxide, created by the “breath” of vegetables and a decrease in oxygen concentration.

Special packaging changes the concentration of gases and slows down the process of decay, preserving all the nutritional properties of this cabbage. If you bought broccoli without packaging or it was damaged, then put the cabbage in a bag without holes. After removing the air, close the bag with rubber bands and make two pinholes with a toothpick.

Eggplant

Eggplants do not like cold, but also quickly deteriorate outside the refrigerator. The optimal storage temperature of this vegetable is 12 degrees C / 53 F. Therefore, it is better to store eggplants not in a special compartment at the bottom of the refrigerator, but on the upper shelves.

Eggplants should be bought as close as possible to the moment you want to cook them. It is better to choose medium-sized vegetables, light in weight, black and purple.

Storage: if the eggplants are stored in the refrigerator for more than four days, they may freeze, dents and will appear on the peel. The quality of the eggplant can be extended for another two to three days if you wrap them with a paper towel and put it in a closed but not sealed bag.

Leaf lettuce

Leaf lettuce is best stored at temperatures close to zero C / 32 F. It can be stored in a home refrigerator for about a week with no problems.

Preparation: if the end of the lettuce is brown, it is best to trim it.

Storage: a bag with a large number of small openings will facilitate gas exchange, but will prevent the condensation of vapors. It is better to close it tightly to avoid leaf wilting. Lettuce should not be refrigerated next to apples, as the ethylene in the fruit can cause brown spots on lettuce leaves. Separate lettuce leaves can also be stored in the refrigerator, but after you washed them with water, dried them, wrapped them in a paper towel and put them in a bag. Even chopped leaves can be stored by pre-washing and drying them. Immediately after cutting, they must be placed in a bag without holes. After that, air must be removed from the bag and the edges of the bag must be tightly closed.

Melon

Melon loves coolness, it is better to store it at a temperature of about 5 degrees C / 41 F. Yellow melon with green barrels can be stored in the refrigerator for 10 days.

Not only its taste but also the duration of storage depends on how fresh is the melon you get. To make the right choice, you need to examine the mesh on the peel of the melon: it is better than its entire surface is covered with this mesh. Choose yellow melons with green barrels, avoid orange ones (unless it has an oblong shape).

The smell of this fruit is very important: melon with a strong aroma will have a short shelf life. You can shake it to hear a gurgling sound. It means the seeds fell apart and the melon began to deteriorate. Melon can be stored cut into large pieces and packed in closed plastic boxes. Wash the melon before storage.

Strawberry

A temperature just above zero C will be favorable for storing this berry. Strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, depending on the time of year. In winter, this period can be a week, in the spring – no more than two or three days.

Storage: we recommend packing in small baskets. If you bought a lot of strawberries, it is better to divide them into several portions and put them in open containers or trays. The berry should be able to “breathe”.

Greens

Any greens, except basil, are well preserved at a temperature of 1-3 C / 33-37 F degrees for about a week.

Storage: to avoid leaf wilting, we recommend storing greens in closed, but not sealed bags, bending the ends, but not pulling them. Greens should be washed only right before cooking. A paper towel is also needed here to absorb excess moisture resulting from the respiration of plants. By the way, there are special containers for storing greens nowadays, they are very convenient.

9 Secrets From The Chef

  1. When you buy vegetables, carefully examine each of them, make sure that they are not damaged, do not start to deteriorate, there are no insects in them.
  2. Do not buy products that have been in the open sun for even a short period of time.
  3. If you need to store vegetables or fruits for a long time, choose less ripe and harder ones. Usually, the brighter the fruit, the more mature it is.
  4. The drawers of the refrigerator should be cleaned once a week, paper towels should be put on the bottom to absorb the excess moisture released by the “breath” of vegetables and fruits.
  5. As a rule, you should not wash fruits and vegetables before placing them in the refrigerator. It is better to do this immediately before eating them. If the fruit is covered with dirt, it should be washed and dried before being refrigerated.
  6. Celery, lettuce, kohlrabi should be stored in closed plastic boxes in the refrigerator. If vegetables and fruits are already cut, they lose vitamins and minerals. The larger the incision area, the less useful properties the product loses, so it is better to cut them into large slices.
  7. If you store vegetables in a pantry, do not pack them in bags, otherwise, they will quickly deteriorate. Better use craft bags.
  8. It is advisable that you have a separate cutting board for fruits and vegetables. When cutting them, it is important that no pieces of meat or fish remain on the cutting board (to avoid infection).
  9. Carrots will be stored longer if you carefully wash, dry and cut off the “butts” before putting them in the refrigerator; the potatoes do not sprout and turn green for a long time if you store them in the dark place and put one or two apples in a box.