Storage Tips

This is a work in progress.  Feel free to let us know if you have any tips…

AVOCADOS:

Ripe: Store unbagged, uncut avocados in the fruit and vegetable drawer in your refrigerator.  Eat ripe avocados within two to three days.  Slightly ripened avocados can last up to a week.

To Ripen: Store avocados on the kitchen counter at room temperature out of direct sunlight.  They will ripen within 3 to 5 days.  To keep

Exposed: to keep from browning, sprinkle cut avocados with lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar.  Store in an airtight container and use within two days.

BANANAS:

Ripe: Ripe bananas can be kept in the refrigerator.  In fact, though the peel will continue to brown, the pulp will not be affected.  After refrigeration, let the banana warm to room temperature to improve the flavor.

Unripe: Store in a place when they will be protected from bruising as bananas are delicate. They should be stored at room temperature to allow for the ripening process to complete. Do not refrigerate green bananas; this will irreversibly interrupt the ripening process.  If refrigerated, they will not ripen even if they are kept at room temperature afterwards.

To Ripen: You can place the banana in a paper wrap with an apple to speed up ripening.

To Freeze: Remove the peel and sprinkle with lemon juice to keep from browning.  Wrap in plastic and label.  Bananas can be stored for up to two months.

BERRIES:

Ripe: Ripe berries should be stored uncovered in the refrigerator or in their original clam shell case in an open part of the refrigerator.  Do not wash them until just before use as wet berries spoil more quickly.  They may also be stored in a “green bag”, but make sure they are dry before storage.  For optimal storage, put them in a brown paper bag to keep the berries dry and safe from humidity.

Unripe: You should choose berries that appear ripe and plump, avoid moldy berries.  Berries do not continue to ripen after they are picked.

To Freeze: Wash and dry the berries immediately after purchase.  Arrange individual berries on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Place berries into freezer until frozen then transfer them into date-labeled air tight container or zip lock bag.  For strawberries, hull before freezing.

BLUEBERRIES: See Berries

BUTTERNUT SQUASH: See Squash

CABBAGE

Keep cabbage in the produce drawer of the refrigerator.  Keep tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or air tight container close to the size of the cabbage.  “Green Bags” are also helpful to maintain the quality of cabbage.  Uncut cabbage kept this way will last for several weeks.  Once cut, cabbage deteriorates quickly and should be used within a few days.

To Freeze: Cook or saute, let cool, and place in a labeled freezer zip lock bag.

CARROTS

Whole: Refrigerate carrots immediately after harvest, purchase, and cleaning.  First, wash to remove any loose soil or rot.  Cut off tops about 1/2 inch above the roots to avoid wilting.  Do not store carrots with fruit as the carrots will become bitter.  Carrots may be stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for several months.  Use damaged carrots immediately.  Dry carrots may also be stored in “green bags”.

Cut: Place cleaned and cut carrots into an airtight container.  Fill container with cold water until it covers the carrots.  Store in the refrigerator, in the produce drawer if possible.  Change water every four days.

CILANTRO

Fresh: Unbundle fresh cilantro, rinse in cool water, discard any rotten or severely damaged leaves.  Re-bundle in the same direction, trim 1/2″ off the bottom of the stems, and place in a small vase, half filled with water, just as if you were arranging flowers.  Store in the refrigerator ( the ideal temperature is 45 degrees), placing a light paper bag over the cilantro and vase. Repeat each day until the cilantro is gone.  The cilantro will last up to 10 days in this manner.

To Freeze: Freezing helps preserve cilantro for up to 2 months.  Wash the cilantro and pick the leaves off the stem.  Bundle the leaves tightly into the individual cube molds of an ice cube tray.  Water should be poured into each mold until the leaves are completely covered.  After 2 days of freezing, remove cubes and store in a zip lock bag.  Thaw each cube as you need it.

To Dry: Bundle washed and dry off cilantro.  Secure with a rubber band or string.  Poke holes every 2″ to 3″ around the paper bag.  Place bundle into bag and tie securely with a string.  Hang in a dark, dry place such as a closet or basement for 10 days.  After its dry, remove the bundle from the bag and softly shake to remove dried leaves.  Crumble and store in an airtight glass container.

CLOVER SPROUTS

Sprouts should be cleaned by dunking them in clean, cool water.  If you use the sink, make sure its just been cleaned.  Swirl to remove as many seed hulls as possible.  Place cleaned sprouts in a pasta drainer over a catch basin.  Allow to drain and dry for several hours.  Store in a refrigerator storage dish.  They will keep for several days as long as they stay cool and dry.

GRAPES

After purchase, pick through grapes and discard any damaged grapes.  Put them back in the bag you purchased them in and store, unwashed, in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.  Wash just before eating.  They will last for up to five days in the refrigerator up to five days, longer if stored in “green bags”.  Grapes can also be stored on the counter if eaten promptly.

To Freeze: Remove individual grapes from the bunch, wash gently in cool water, place individually on a parchment lined until frozen solid.  Then, place into labeled zip-lock bags.  Grapes are great when eaten frozen.  Just remember to cut grapes into quarters for toddlers to avoid a choking hazard.

KALE

Submerge individual kale leaves in a basin of cool water, swirling to remove the grit.  Shake leaves gently or spin them to remove excess water.  Wrap the leaves in paper towel and keep them in the produce crisper in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.

To Freeze:

NECTARINES

Ripe: Ripe nectarines will keep for up to five days if stored in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator. You can also use “green bags” to make them last even longer.

Unripe: Store at room temperature until ripe.  Storing unripe nectarines in the refrigerator will end the ripening process.

To Freeze: Wash, pit, and slice. Coat slices with a solution of 1/2 tspn ascorbic acid to 6 tbsn cold water to prevent browning.  Add 2/3 cup sugar for every quart of fruit and stir until dissolved.  Store fruit and solution in an airtight container or freezer zip bags.  Frozen nectarines will keep for up to 10 months.

PLUMS

Ripe: Store ripened plums in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Unripe: Allow fruit to ripen on the kitchen counter.  Refrigerating unripe fruit degrades its quality.

To freeze: Choose ripe, plump plums, wash, cut into halves or quarters and remove the pit.

Syrup Pack: Pack fruit and cover with cold 40 to 50 percent syrup, depending on tartness of fruit. For improved quality, add 1/2 teaspoon (1500 mg) ascorbic acid to each quart of syrup. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.

Plum Sauce: Boil well-ripened clingstone plums without water until soft; then remove pits and skins. Continue cooking the pulp and juice until it thickens. Add 1 part sugar (with spices, if desired) to 4 parts plums. Cool and package, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

The syrup and plum sauce recipes were taken from this webpage.

PLUOTS

Unripe: Place fruit in a paper bag on the kitchen counter until ripe.

Ripe: Store ripened fruit in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

RASPBERRIES

RED ONIONS

RED PEPPERS

ROMAINE

SPINACH

SQUASH

SPROUTS

STRAWBERRIES

SWEET DUMPLING SQUASH

TOMATOES

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3 responses to “Storage Tips

  1. Pingback: Storage Tips! « HomeGrown Organics: Gainesville

  2. One of my big storage factors is based on the chemistry change of the flavor molecules. Tropical fruits (mangoes, bananas, pineapple, etc.) can and will experience chill injury if kept at normal refrigerator temperatures, so they should not be refrigerated if you wish to prevent flavor and/or appearance changes of the fruit pulp. I always leave these fruits on the counter. Tomatoes are another item I always leave on the counter with the exception of cherry/grape tomatoes. A refrigerated tomato loses it’s true tomato flavor, posessing a dull flavor and sometimes mealy in texture.
    Leafy greens, carrots, mushrooms and the like I always stick into Hefty Fresh Extend Storage Bags. I realize this is a plastic storage item, but these bags remove the ripening hormone the fruit naturally releases during respiration. If this hormone is not released, it will cause the fruit to ripen faster. Storage of items in these bags has extended the life of my veggies up to 3 weeks without noticing a quality difference.

    • I will add though, refrigerating or freezing bananas for the purpose of baking or making smoothies is a fabulous method! If you simply cannot eat all of them now, save them for later.
      We also freeze blueberries and strawberries. We wash and trim away the stem portion. Then we place them on parchment paper laid on a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer. When frozen we remove from the parchement paper and place in a storage bag/container suitable for the freezer. They are great for smoothies or baking!

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