Dear neighbors, avoiding unnecessary food shopping trips poses a serious challenge: how to keep vegetables fresh as long as possible. I am of course talking about those that are available right now and don’t freeze very well. As a general rule, I find that no produce really enjoys staying in a paper bag for very long, except maybe green avocado. Depending on the type of vegetable I am dealing with, I handle it differently:
– leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach, tend to wilt very fast. As soon as I get home, I wash them, run them through my salad spinner, and place them inside an air-tight container that goes in the refrigerator. Thus prepared they stay crisper and fresher than prepackaged lettuce:
– celery stalks, Swiss chards and bok choy are wrapped in a wet cloth or paper towels and placed inside another airtight container.
– endives are also preferably kept in a well-closed container.
– broccoli and asparagus get special treatment: I place them on one of the refrigerator shelves, their stems tucked inside a glass jar partially filled with water.
– this hydrating method also works well for parsley, coriander, basil, and chives; however, these herbs should be kept on your counter top, not in the fridge, and away from heat. Except for chives, I give them a quick rinse under the faucet once a day (indeed they seem to enjoy their daily shower!) and I trim the stems and change the water in the jar as soon as it gets cloudy, usually after a couple of days. Also note that chopped chives can be frozen.
– washed radishes (leafy tops removed) keep very well in a tightly closed mason jar. Here again, it is best to avoid too much air contact as it leads to unwanted dehydration.
– vegetables such as carrots (tops removed), turnips (same thing), beets, parsnips, kohlrabi, celeriac, fennel, don’t mind waiting if you put a folded wet cloth or paper towel at the bottom of their container, be it a refrigerator drawer, a Tupperware or a plastic freezer bag. Contrary to celery stalks, however, direct contact with the wet cloth should be avoided.
– potatoes, especially at this time of year, keep better in a cool place!
– bell peppers are less prone to spoiling fast; but if they start getting soft or have mushy spots, it’s best to grill them in a hot oven, remove their charred skin and freeze them for future use!
Most of you probably already know all these tricks, but I personally didn’t a few years ago… Live and learn! Of course if you have more tips to share on how to keep vegetables fresh, please let me know!
Please stay safe and take care, dear neighbors. Right now many of us, not unlike the vegetables kept inside the refrigerator, are confined inside our homes. Not an easy thing to do, especially if you have young children. So, just for the fun of sharing, here is a link to a royalty-free picture of our beloved veggies for them to color!