Monday, April 30, 2007

How to Store Vegetables

Farmer Vicki provides some useful tips this week on storing veg. As the author of the Time Magazine piece on Eat Local noted, CSA/farmer's market stuff lasts a lot longer than expected, a huge benefit of you getting it so soon after harvest. In our house, we find vegetables lasting much longer than standard advice given in books. Here's Vicki's advice:
How to store veggies

First, veggies like humidity but not wetness. With a few exceptions, like tomatoes, they are best stored in the refrigerator.

Leafy greens - If they look a little tired, immerse in a bowl or sink of cold water for five minutes. Remove, drain or spin and place in a plastic bag or container with a paper towel to absorb moisture and to later provide humidity. If you lack time, moisten a paper towel. Place it in the bottom of a plastic container, place the green on top of it and seal and store in the frige. One of our members treats them like fresh flowers. She cuts the bottom of the stem and sets them in a bowl of water for a half hour or so.

Lettuce - Lettuce should be treated the same as greens. It is even more sensitive to excess water so be careful not to get your towel too wet. Storage of lettuce can be two weeks, if kept humid, not wet, sealed and cold.

Root crops - Beets, turnips, carrots, radishes, etc. These crops are best stored long term without greens. The greens may be left attached if they will be used within a few days to a week. Otherwise cut off the tops to use as a green. Most of the greens are more nutritious than the root. Even carrot tops are edible and highly nutritious. Use them for juicing, smoothies or as a salad ingredient. Store roots with humidity. A paper towel, dampened in a sealed plastic container works well. They can be stored for a long time - even months this way. Traditionally these crops were stored in a root cellar in damp saw dust and held up for 5 or 6 months. The only caution is not too much water. Water causes rotting.

No comments: