You’ve carefully made your shopping for food, you’ve chosen high quality products and now it is up to storing them in order to preserve them and consume them at their best. Vegetable storage can be a painful aspect especially if you’re storing for a big family or if you got overly enthusiastic and bought a little over what you need.
Let’s review a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to vegetable storage so that you navigate this smoothly.
Some general aspects about food degradation of food products happens because of two main things: physical degradation and transformation of their microbiome (i.e. microscopic microbes in food). The first one, physical degradation is mostly determinate by how much a plant breathes. And as you might know, oxygen not only sustains life but it also leads to oxidation which is why raw foods turn brown and ultimately start to break down. Some plants have a lower rate of taking in oxygen, while others do it at a higher rate. For instance, celery is one plant with oxidates very fast, while potatoes have this process at a much, much lower rate. Regarding the microbes in your vegetables, well, those are kept in control by 2 things: temperature and moist. So, keep these things in mind when storing any type of vegetables from now on.
Keep them Intact until you eat or cook your vegetables, store them: – Without trimming them – Without cutting them
Keep greens moist salads or spinach or any similar greens, tend to develop a lot of moisture and keeping that at the right level is key. So, the general rule is that once you open their original packaging, usually plastic bags, store them in a paper bag to lock that moisture in for longer.
Order of eating Don’t be picky and try to consume the ones which got signs of degradation first. Best thing would be to avoid getting to a visible degradation in the first place, with the proper storage. But it happens, so don’t beat yourself up too much, still, those should be the first ones out to consume.
Balanced quantities. The best thing would be to buy provisions for 2 weeks at most so that you keep a constant intake of fresh vegetables. Buy for the week the ones you intend to cook and consume and save some stored for another week tops, like maybe carrots, potatoes and so on. Onions and leek, for instance, can be stored for much longer and here you can make an exception. However, keeping your vegetable supply fresh in your storage is the best thing you can do for your health and for concerning less about storage options.
Storage neighbouring. Don’t store vegetables next to fruits. For instance, put your avocados next to bananas only if you want to get them more ripped. Otherwise, keep them in the fridge if they are fully ripped or in a darker place if they still need to ripe some more, and add those bananas (or apples for that matter) next to them.
Don’t store your onions with your potatoes. Similarly to what fruits do to vegetables, is what onions will do to your potatoes. They will sprout and develop those unwanted green patches, so it is best to keep those two separated as much as possible.
Storage temperature As a rule of thumb, always think of how your vegetables grow. For instance, root vegetables and onions are better stored at cooler temperatures. Whereas, warmer climate vegetables, like tomatoes, eggplants, squashes, cucumbers or peppers lose flavour and get brown spots from long storage in the refrigerator. So, keep in mind that after a week the vegetables from this later category might lose a lot of their initial properties. As a general rule, no vegetables should be stored in direct sunlight.
Storage recipients Paper bags, breathable boxes and/or lids and plastic, usually pierced. Use customizable stickers to right down the date of package. Glass boxes work best for storing food but they can be a good solution for vegetable storage as well.
Special care. Mushrooms are usually stored in plastic trays, when bought from your local supermarket. Once you get home, remove them from that. Those are some very delicate vegetables when it comes to storage. Therefore, best way to store them is in a paper bag. Brown if possible, but from paper is a must.
Remember to always think about the sources from which your vegetables are coming. Before storing them, make sure you are doing your best in eating food from sustainable, ethical and healthy grown sources.