Friday, July 11, 2008
Fresher Fruits and Veggies
As I've mentioned before, I LOVE my biweekly delivery of organic veggies. Even though we order a small box, we often find some of the veggies go bad quickly and end up in the compost pile.
I found this great list on produce care, courtesy of Door to Door Organics. I suggest printing it out and posting on the fridge as a reminder how to tend to your precious produce! Of course, it's best to eat the veggies when fresh, so make sure you're eating your daily dose. Eat Local, a website out of Portland, Oregon, has some information on preserving locally grown/raised products.
Citrus is best kept at room temperature of 60-70 degrees and used within two weeks.
Berries and cherries are best kept covered in the fridge. Don't wash until you use them - too much moisture in the package speeds spoilage. Use within 2 - 3 days. Same for cranberries but they can be stored for a week.
Apricots, peaches, pears, nectarines and melons should be ripened before refrigeration. Cut portions should be covered before refrigerating. Use all within 3-5 days except melons, which should be used as soon as possible after ripening.
Apples are best kept in the fridge stored loose - they need to breathe to stay crisp. Use within a month.
Avocados and bananas are best stored and eaten at room temperature, but can be refrigerated after ripening. To speed ripening of green bananas, place them in a paper bag in a drawer, cupboard or other dark place with a wrinkled apple. If they still don't ripen after one week, they have been transported at a low temperature, and you might as well make chutney out of them. I place unripe avocados in a paper bag to speed up the process.
Eggplants, mature onions, winter squash, rutabagas and sweet potatoes are best kept moderately cool - no lower than 50 degrees.
Potatoes need a colder area of 45 - 50 degrees. A cool dry dark place is best. Use within a few weeks. However, they will keep longer.
All other fresh vegetables belong in the refrigerator:
Keep tomatoes uncovered and green beans and lima beans in their pods, or, if not in their pods, in plastic. They'll last 3 - 5 days in the fridge.
Keep corn in it's husk in the fridge. Eat as soon as possible because its sugar quickly turns to starch,causing it to lose its flavor.
Carrots, radishes, turnips, beets and parsnips should be stored in plastic once the leafy tops are removed. They'll last two weeks in the fridge.
Most other fresh vegetables store well in the crisper bin, but usually need plastic to avoid dehydration.
Broccoli, brussel sprouts, scallions and summer squash will last 3 - 5 days in plastic bags in the crisper. Spinach, kale, chard and collards have the same crisper life, but should be washed and drained thoroughly before packing in bags.
Lettuce, Salad Greens, Peppers and Cucumbers should be washed and stored in the crisper.
Cauliflower, Celery and Snap Peas don't have to be washed - use within a week.
Cabbage has a long fridge life of up to two weeks.
Asparagus is delicate and should be used within 2-3 days.