The proper storage of vegetables can be the food-saving tip everyone needs to know. There are many vegetables that can last for months but without proper food storage, these food can be the victims of mold, infestation, or even the quick onset of ripening which could happen if these are stored incorrectly.
Vegetables do not need much in terms of storage. You just need to know where and how to store these kitchen staples to prevent these from going bad before you’re ready to use them in your recipes.
The number one rule in food storage needs to be the FIFO rule: first in, first out. All this means is that whatever food you put in storage first needs to also be one of the first ones that comes out first, too. This tip will prevent spoilage because no food will stay in storage longer than it needs to.
Need more tips? Here are all the tips you need to know to keep those veggies as fresh as you can while in your kitchen:
1 Buy unripe tomatoes.
One of the best things about fruits is that these do not have to be harvested when ripe and ready to eat. In fact, many fruits will continue to ripen even after harvesting! That’s why tomatoes, which many (erroneously) think of (still) as vegetables, are best when bought unripe. These will ripen on your counter and keep in the refrigerator once ripe, so it won’t go bad easily.
The trick here is to make sure that you don’t store it in plastic which may collect moisture which encourages mold and rot to start on your produce.
2 Use mesh bags or boxes with holes.
Have you seen those plastic mesh bags that many onions and calamansi are stored in? Those are the bags that are perfect to save and reuse! These mesh bags are the perfect storage bags for fruits as well as vegetables since plastic restricts these produce from “breathing”. You have to remember that fruits and vegetables are still “alive” and will continue to ripen and spoil eventually even with proper storage. Without air circulation to allow any of the gases that these vegetables still produce, this can and will speed up decay.
Vegetables that need air circulation including onions, garlic, potatoes, and kamote, are best stored in these bags instead of in the refrigerator. No mesh bags? Use boxes that have holes cut instead. You may also want to make sure these veggies are at least in a single layer to better improve or even encourage air circulation between each piece.
3 Store these in the refrigerator.
If there are vegetables that need to be stored in the refrigerator, these are the more common vegetables that need to be in there to last longer, especially once cut:
• green beans
• broccoli and cauliflower
• sweet corn
4 Keep some fruits separate from vegetables.
There are some fruits that may speed up the ripening, and, eventually, the spoilage of your vegetables. Apples are the notorious culprit of ripening other produce earlier than its time but so are bananas and tomatoes.
However, there is one benefit of these gassy fruits. The ethylene gas is perfect for preventing potatoes from sprouting. So, if you have to place these fruits somewhere in the same container, place these together with your potatoes or any fruit or vegetable which you want to ripen faster.
5 Keep greens dry with a paper towel.
The biggest enemy of leafy greens is moisture. The water droplets are the culprit when you find that your leaves have become soggy, mushy leaves that disintegrate. You can wash your leafy greens but it’s best if these are dried using a salad spinner so no water is left behind.
No salad spinner? Grab a kitchen towel and place a few washed leaves int the center. Wrap it up, and holding the edges so the leaves don’t fall out, spin the towel. Your leaves should come out drier. Repeat until all your leaves are dry then place in a container with a paper towel at the bottom so any excess moisture will end up there instead of on your leaves.
6 Treat herbs like flowers.
Do you have more herbs that you need to use? That’s okay! Grab a jar, fill it with water, and place the stems in the water to help these last longer. This is the same thing you can do for vegetables such as a spring or green onions, parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, and other herbs.
Chopped up too much? Freeze these in ice cube trays with either water or oil so you can easily toss in a cube or two into your dish when you need it.
7 Keep mushrooms dry.
These delicious edible fungi are fabulous when simmered in butter until golden brown and delicious. However, these are prone to molding (these are fungi after all) if stored improperly. The best way to keep these precious mushrooms from turning slimy and going bad before it’s time is to keep these in paper bags, away from moisture. You can store these in the refrigerator to keep these even fresher, longer.
Are you keeping your vegetables as fresh as these can stay? We sure hope so! These tips in proper food storage should help so that the next time you go grocery shopping for vegetables, you know what you need to do so that these do not go bad faster than it needs.