Organic Produce Storage Tips
Is your produce spoiling even before you you can enjoy it? Here are a few simple Organic Produce Storage Tips from our friends at The Institute For Integrative Nutrition that will help to naturally prolong the life of your fruits and veggies. Keep it fresh! Keep it vibrant! Apples Apples ripen quickly at room temperature; ten times faster than an apple kept at 32°F. Store apples in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, away from strong scented foods such as cabbage or onions to prevent flavor transfer.
Bananas Do not refrigerate bananas until they are ripe. Once they are in the refrigerator they will turn black, but the insides will ripen more slowly. To ripen green bananas, put them in a plastic bag, seal it and place the bag in a warm place, such as the top of your refrigerator. This will cause the bananas to heat up which will speed up the ripening process.
Broccoli Store broccoli in the high-humidity, vegetable crisper section of your refrigerator for up to three days. Refresh broccoli in ice water to maintain its bright green color if you're not using it right away or are making a cold presentation.
Cabbage Head cabbage will last at least a week when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's humid vegetable bin. Savoy and Napa cabbage should be consumed within three or four days.
Carrots with tops Before storing carrots, remove their green tops, rinse and drain, then put the carrots in plastic bags. Store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator with the highest humidity. They'll last several months this way.
Cauliflower Cauliflower should be placed in a plastic bag and stored in your refrigerator crisper. When stored properly, cauliflower will last up to five days; however, it is best when eaten within three days.
Celery To store celery, trim the base and remove any leaves or ribs that are damaged or bruised. Rinse, place in a plastic bag, and keep in the refrigerator's humid vegetable bin; this will last about two weeks.
Chard Refrigerate in plastic wrap up to two days. Rainbow Chard is pretty colorful, with yellow, pink, orange, white and red veins.
Collards Wrap unwashed greens in damp paper towels. Refrigerate in a plastic bag, in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to five days.
Corn Corn is best eaten immediately. However, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days in plastic bags with the husk still on.
Grapes Grapes are harvested only when fully ripe. Before storing, remove any spoiled grapes with broken skins or browning from the bunch and keep refrigerated; they should keep up to a week. During storage, continue to remove any and all spoiled fruit. Grapes can also be frozen, which will extend their storage life up to three months.
Green Beans Place green beans in a perforated plastic bag or paper bag and store them in the refrigerator crisper for up to five days.
Kiwis Very firm kiwifruit (also known as “kiwi”) can be kept in the refrigerator for up to six months. Kiwis won't keep for nearly as long in the refrigerator after they begin to ripen outside the refrigerator. To ripen firm kiwis, keep them at room temperature but away from heat or direct sunlight for a few days to a week. Hasten ripening by placing them in a paper bag with an apple, pear or banana. Once a kiwi is ripe store it far from other fruits, as it is very sensitive to the ethylene gas other fruits emit, and tends to overripe even in the refrigerator. Ripe kiwis should keep for about one to two weeks.
Lettuce Refrigerate unwashed leaves in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. A plastic bag from the grocery store is sufficient. Lettuce will keep for up to five days. Do not store lettuce with melons, apples, pears or other ethylene gas-emitting fruits, as they will cause the lettuce to turn brown.
Mangoes Leave under-ripe mangoes at a cool room temperature for a few days to soften and sweeten; very warm temperatures can cause an off-flavor to develop. Place two mangoes in a paper bag to speed ripening (or, if you don't have two mangoes, put another fruit such as an apple or banana in with the mango). Ripe mangoes will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator.
Melons Ripe whole or cut melons can be stored in the refrigerator for about three days. Cut melons should be wrapped tightly in plastic. Leave the seeds inside a cut melon until you're ready to eat it to help keep the melon moist.
Onions Store onions in a dry and dark, well-ventilated place; not in the refrigerator.
Oranges Store oranges in a cool place outside the refrigerator and try to eat them within a few days. If you need to keep them longer, refrigerate in a plastic bag or in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator.
Pears To ripen pears, store them at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag with a couple of ripe bananas. When the pear is ripe, refrigerate until you are ready to eat it. Products that are extremely hard will ripen best at room temperature.
Peppers Peppers can be stored for at least a week, if placed in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator. The riper the pepper is when harvested, the less time it will maintain its freshness.
Potatoes Potatoes like cool (45°F to 50°F) humid (but not wet) surroundings, but refrigeration can turn the starch in potatoes to sugar and may tend to darken them when cooked.
Spinach When you get bunched spinach home, untie it, remove any blemished leaves, trim off the stems and wash it thoroughly in cold water. Repeat if necessary until you're sure all the grit is gone. Spin dry in a salad spinner or drain well. Then put into clean plastic bags, very loosely wrapped with paper towels. Spinach will last only two to three days, so plan on eating your rinsed spinach right away. Cold and moist surroundings, as low as 32°F and about 95% humidity, are the best for storing spinach.
Strawberries Strawberries are extremely perishable and should be refrigerated immediately. To store unwashed strawberries in the refrigerator, stack them on paper towel – between the layers as well – in a moisture-proof container. Eat them within 48-72 hours, or freeze them. Wash them just before eating.
Summer Squash Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for three to five days.
Tomatoes Keep tomatoes at room temperature until ripened. Once ripened, tomatoes will last for two to three days. If necessary, tomatoes can be refrigerated in a vegetable bin for approximately one week. Try to avoid refrigerating tomatoes whenever possible, because tomatoes will lose their flavor once stored below 55°F.
Winter Hard Squashes Store Butternut, Acorn and Spaghetti squash in a cool, preferably dark, well-ventilated area for up to one month. Wrap cut pieces in plastic and refrigerate up to five days.