How To Store Vegetables To Keep Them Fresh for a Long Time?

The key to storing the vegetables is to store them as per their individual storage needs. While a refrigerator serves as a great way of storing some fruits and vegetables, others are more suitable for storing at room temperature in a cool and dry place.

In this article, you will learn about the effective ways of storing vegetables for retaining their maximum freshness.

How To Keep Vegetables Fresh for a Long Time?

There is no single standard way of storing such large varieties of vegetables. Some commonly used ways of storing vegetables include storing in a refrigerator, storing in a cool and dry place, on the counter, etc. Some vegetables like lettuce or mushrooms require special storage techniques to keep their freshness for long periods.

You need to consider various factors before storing the vegetables. Some vegetables can’t be stored together as one vegetable may affect how long the other lasts. Also, washing or peeling certain vegetables may shorten or lengthen their life.

As all the vegetables are different, you can’t store them in the same manner. For example, you can’t keep lettuce and mushrooms in the same way as potatoes or carrots.

You need to be aware of the role of temperature and microbes in shaping the usability of vegetables. So don’t miss reading this article till the end to explore the effective, efficient, and proven way of storing your vegetables to keep them safe and fresh for longer durations.

Storing Vegetables in Cool, Dry, and Dark Places

Some veggies maintain their freshness for longer when they are stored in cool, dry, and dark places at room temperature. These vegetables need to be stored away from heat, light, and moisture.

You can store such vegetables in your kitchen cupboard or pantry (away from your oven or gas stove).

Ideally, the temperature of your pantry should lie between 10? C and 21? C. The darkness of your kitchen cabinet prevents further sprouting of your veggies.

The following veggies are suitable for storage in your kitchen pantry:

  • Potatoes (including yams and sweet potatoes)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Winter squash veggies like Acorn squash, Spaghetti squash, Butternut squash,
  • Rutabagas

These veggies can be stored in your pantry for a week or even a month if the temperature stays in the range of 10?C and 15?C.

While you can store both onions and potatoes in your kitchen pantry, ensure not to store them next to each other as it may cause the potatoes to sprout.

Storing Vegetables in the Refrigerator

You can’t even think of buying the vegetables in stock without a refrigerator at home.

Most of the latest refrigerators come with crisper drawers for storing your veggies and fruits. In addition, some latest models have drawers with small air vents for adjusting the humidity as per your storage requirements.

You can open the small vents for less humidity for storing fruits and close the vents for more humidity for storing veggies. The ideal temperature in your refrigerator should remain between 0.5? C and 4.4? C.

You should freeze only those vegetables that you can’t eat without delay. Refrigerating vegetables is a fast and effective way of preserving nutrients and maintaining freshness.

Not all the vegetables are suitable for keeping in the fridge right away once you bring them home.

Some veggies need to be boiled or cut up in pieces and kept in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. It avoids the freezer burn of your frozen vegetables.

The storage times for each type of vegetable in a fridge are different. Let’s see the storage times of some common vegetables in the refrigerator.

These storage times are only indicative that the veggies remain fresh at their best quality for so long in the fridge. Therefore, they may still stay fresh and safe to eat after the stated period if not rotten.

  • Celery, cucumber, peppers, eggplants, peas, zucchini, and artichokes: One week
  • Ears of corn (stored in their husks): 1 to 2 days
  • Green beans, yellow squash, summer squash: 3 to 5 days
  • Cauliflower: 1 week
  • Broccoli: 3 to 5 days
  • Brussels sprouts: 3 to 5 days
  • Carrots, radishes, beets, parsnips, turnips (stored in a plastic bag): 2 weeks
  • Leafy greens like lettuce: 3 days to one week
  • Mushrooms (packed in a paper bag) : 3 to 5 days

You should avoid freezing certain vegetables like sprouts, lettuce greens, unmashed potatoes, artichokes, eggplant, radishes, sweet potatoes, etc.

Keeping Vegetables on the Countertop

You can keep a variety of fruits on your countertop, such as bananas, citrus, and stone fruits.

However, among vegetables, only tomatoes qualify for storing on your countertop. If you store them in a fridge, their texture will turn grainy.

Storing Vegetables and Fruits Separately

You should store your vegetables and fruits separately from one another. This is because fruits like apples, pears, plums, kiwi, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and many other fruits produce ethylene gas that accelerates the ripening of nearby vegetables and fruits.

Veggies that are stored with the fruits get ripened faster, resulting in their breaking down and spoilage. Therefore, you should ensure to store your vegetables separately from your fruits.

If you have two crisper drawers in your fridge, you may reserve one for the fruits and the other for veggies. However, if you have cut or peeled any of the vegetables, ensure to store them in the fridge as soon as possible.

How To Store Asparagus and Green Onions?

You can use a quart-sized glass jar for storing tall stalks like asparagus and green onions.

You should store asparagus in the fridge. Cut down an inch off the bottoms of the stalks and

make them stand in a glass jar. Avoid crowding the stalks, and if required, use two jars for storing a bunch.

Fill the jar with water till the halfway mark and keep the stalks moist by covering them with a plastic produce bag.

Secure the stalks with a rubber band. This method keeps the asparagus fresh for a week when refrigerated.

You can apply the same method for storing green onions as well; however, avoid trimming the bottoms of the stalks.

If you observe that bottoms are growing, plant the stalks in the garden. This way, you can get green onion shoots for free for up to 2 years.

How to Store Leafy Greens?

Rinse the leafy greens and use a paper towel or tea towel for wrapping them. Now seal them in a plastic bag or container and store them in your refrigerator. This procedure can be applied for storing spinach, swiss chard, kale, bok choy, or lettuce greens.

Ensure to wash and store leafy greens as soon as you bring them home. This retains their freshness for long and makes them convenient for consumption.

How to Store Squash and Root Vegetables?

Store your squash and root vegetables outside the refrigerator in cool, dry, and dark places. It’s best to store them in your kitchen cupboard or root cellar. It is an ideal way for storing pumpkins, garlic, yam potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, etc

How to Store Tomatoes?

Store the tomatoes on your countertop away from direct sunlight at room temperature. This causes them to be ripe evenly. Afterwards, you can transfer the ripe tomatoes to the fridge.

How to Store Canned Vegetables?

The canned vegetables can be stored for long durations for up to 1-2 years. Ensure to label the can with the date for tracking how long it has been stored in your cupboard or fridge.

You will find the “best to use before” date on some canned vegetables. Ensure to consume such vegetables before their expiry date.

How to Store Mushrooms?

Keep your mushrooms in a paper bag and then store them in the refrigerator. Avoid using the plastic bag for storing mushrooms. This is because mushrooms contain high water content.

When the water from the mushrooms evaporates, it gets trapped in a plastic bag and causes mushrooms to turn slimy. On the contrary, mushrooms can easily breathe when stored in a paper bag.

How to Store Lettuce Like Restaurants?

To stay fresh for long periods, the lettuce needs humidity and good air circulation. When you store it in the crisper drawer or a plastic bag, it stays fresh, but this practice doesn’t maximize its life.

To ensure that lettuce gets both moisture and air circulation, you can apply the technique used by restaurants for keeping lettuce fresh and crisp. First, wash the lettuce and spin it dry. Now store it in a colander or any other perforated container in the fridge.

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