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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Veggie Storage Tips


Veggie Storage Tips:
1. Keep apples and bananas away--the ethylene gas will cause your carrots to turn bitter and your other veg to decay faster.

2. Light is bad--keep all veggies stored in dark, ventilated areas.

3. Dry goods like storage onions, storage potatoes, garlic, sweet potatoes and winter squash will store well at about 55 degrees. (cupboards, basement, under the couch) Away from direct sunlight and heat. Temps below 40 can damage these fruits so be sure not to let them get too cold.  (Too hot they will sprout.)

4. Moist goods like carrots, turnips, beets should be kept cold and humid. A perforated plastic bag in the fridge is good. If they seem to be getting flimsy or dry, place a damp towel in the bag to provide moisture.

5. Check your goods every few days. Be sure to remove any items that show damage or decay and cook them right away.


6. Check out the tip at the bottom of this blog to restore wilted greens.  It will also work with radish and some other root veggies.

Fresh Vegetables
Arugula
Keep arugula refrigerated (32-36°F), stored in a perforated plastic bag, away from fruits to avoid deterioration. Arugula is good raw in a salad or cooked with other leafy greens.
Asparagus
Cut an inch off the bottom of asparagus spears. Submerge ends in water and refrigerate (32-36°F). Steam or sauté until just tender – do not overcook!
Beets
Keep beets refrigerated (32-36°F). The stems can be removed and they do not need to be in a plastic bag. Roasted beets are one way to prep beets for mixed salads. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Tightly wrap beets in double layers of foil and roast until tender, about 1 hour.
Bok Choi/Pac Choi
Keep choi refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag. Wash and chop choi. Stir-fry with ginger and garlic, adding soy sauce to the pan just before serving.
Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe
Keep broccoli refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag to retain moisture. Steam or sauté.
Cabbage & Brussel Sprouts
Store cabbage and brussel sprouts in the refrigerator (32-36°F). If the outer leaves yellow or mold, just peel them away. Chop cabbage or trim brussel sprouts and blanch for 12 minutes in boiling salted water, or until they are tender.
Carrots
Keep carrots refrigerated (32-36°F). Remove tops (keep separate for soups) and store in a perforated plastic bag. Eat raw as a snack or sauté with olive oil and garlic.
Cauliflower
Keep cauliflower refrigerated (32-36°F). Chop and eat raw as a snack or in a salad, or steam and serve with salt and pepper. You can also place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, top with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.
Corn
Keep corn refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag. Boil in salted water for two minutes and serve with butter or olive oil and cracked pepper.
Cucumbers
Keep cucumbers refrigerated (32-36°F) and away from fruits. Slice them thinly and mix with yogurt, salt and pepper for a quick salad that’s cool for summertime.
Fennel
Keep fennel refrigerated (32-36°F). You can use the green fronds with meats or fish when roasting. Trim the white bulb and slice into ½ inch thick slices. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. This gives the fennel a sweet, caramelized flavor.
Garlic
Store whole heads of garlic in a cool, dry, dark place (45-50°F) with good ventilation, but do not refrigerate. However, always refrigerate peeled or cut garlic in a sealed container. Use in dressings, marinades and stir-frying for flavor.



Greens: Kale, Collard Greens, Chard, Mustard Greens
Keep refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag. Chop and wash thoroughly. Strain – greens are now ready to sauté with onions and garlic or steam and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Green Beans
Keep refrigerated (32-36°F), in a perforated plastic bag. Trim green beans and boil in salted water for 4 minutes. Strain and toss with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil.




Kohlrabi
Keep kohlrabi refrigerated (32-36°F). Store greens separate from bulb in a perforated plastic bag and use like kale. Grate or chop the bulb into salads or roast with other root vegetables.
Leeks
Keep leeks refrigerated (32-36°F). Cut lengthwise to wash out any dirt. Slice the white part and some of the softer green part into ½ inch rounds. Place in glass dish and drizzle with olive oil; bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Lettuce
Keep lettuce refrigerated (32-36°F), stored in a perforated plastic bag, away from fruits to avoid deterioration. Lettuce is good in sandwiches or simply tossed with vinegar and olive oil.
Onions
Store whole onions in a cool, dry, dark place (55-65°F) with good ventilation, away from potatoes (which absorb the onions’ moisture). Always refrigerate cut onions. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, add butter or olive oil, and then add the cut onions. Cook until caramelized and add to any dish for a deep, rich taste!
Parsnips
Keep refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag to retain moisture. Use a mixture of parsnips and potatoes the next time you make mashed potatoes – you will get a much richer, complex taste!
Peppers
Store whole peppers in a cool, dry place (45-50°F), away from fruits to avoid over-ripening. Always refrigerate cut peppers. Gypsy and bell peppers can be eaten raw as a snack or in a salad. Sweet peppers are also great stir-fried.
Potatoes
Store potatoes in the fridge and dry storage potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place (45-50°F) with good ventilation, but do not refrigerate. Boil potatoes on stovetop or bake small potatoes on a baking sheet at 400°F for 30 minutes.
Radishes
Keep refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag to retain moisture. Wash radishes and serve alongside carrots with dip for an aperitif.
Snap Peas
Keep snap peas refrigerated (32-36°F), in a perforated plastic bag. Take the snap peas out of the pod and sauté with olive oil and sea salt.
Spinach
Keep spinach refrigerated (32-36°F), stored in a perforated plastic bag, away from fruits to avoid deterioration. Wash spinach and remove stems. Sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat; when browned, add the spinach. Once it is completely wilted, add salt and pepper to tasted. Toss with pasta or use as a crêpe filling with Gruyère cheese.
Summer Squash
Keep refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag. Fir up the barbecue. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Place on rimmed baking sheet; brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash on grill and cook until tender and golden, about 4 minutes per side.
Sweet Potatoes
Store whole sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place (45-50°F) with good ventilation, but do not refrigerate. Cut in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet; top with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. You can also top the sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar and bake in the same manner.
Tomatoes
Keep tomatoes at room temperature (55-70°F). Do not refrigerate, as it will make the tomatoes mealy and flavorless. Cut tomatoes and mix with a balsamic dressing or slice tomatoes and serve with fresh mozzarella.

Turnips & Rutabaga
Keep refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag to retain moisture. Peel 1 lb turnips or rutabagas and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges. Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, then add turnips or rutabagas, ½ cup water, ½ tablespoon lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium and stir turnips, then briskly simmer, uncovered, until all of liquid has evaporated and turnips are glazed and just tender, 20 to 35 minutes (they should be cooked through but still retain their shape).
Winter Squash
Store winter squash in a cool, dry place (45-50°F). Leave cut winter squash on the counter. Trim dried edges before reuse. Cut into cubes and place on a baking dish. Roast at 375°F for 30 minutes.

Fresh Fruits
Apples
Keep apples refrigerated (32-36°F), storing them away from vegetables, as apples produce ethylene, a ripening agent. Eat raw as a snack, or slice into a green salad with walnuts or pecans. Apples are also delicious when thinly sliced and incorporated into a sandwich with soft-ripened cheese.
Melons
Store whole melons in a cool, dry place (45-50°F), away from other fruits. Always store cut melons in the refrigerator. Eat plain or cut into small pieces in a fruit salad.
Pears
Store whole pears in the refrigerator (32-36°F). Pears are tasty plain, but can also make for an elegant dessert. Cut in half lengthwise and lay on a baking dish; top with butter and brown sugar and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.
Rhubarb
Keep refrigerated (32-36°F), storing in a perforated plastic bag. Chop and place in a pot with ½ cup of water. Let the rhubarb cook down into compote, adding sugar to taste.
Stone Fruit: Nectarines, Apricots, Peaches, Plums, Pluots, Apriums
Store whole stone fruit in the refrigerator (32-36°F). Eat plain as a snack or in a fruit salad.
Strawberries & Bush Berries
Fresh berries are highly perishable. Store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator (32-36°F), loosely covered with plastic wrap. Do not wash until ready to use. Serve plain or in a fruit salad.

A Trick to Revive Your Wilted Greens or Lettuce
Wilted Greens
Wilted greens and lettuce are often just dried out which can still occur even if the greens remain in constant refrigeration.
Cold Water Overnight
Submerge the wilted greens in cold water by placing them in a dish, filling it with water, and putting it in the refrigerator overnight.
Greens Revived
This is what these chard greens looked like after 12 hours in the refrigerated water. Now you never need to compost your wilted greens or lettuce.