Spoiler Alert – Food Storage Tips

Part of my crop-share experience was receiving food that I had never worked with or purcahsed before. There were many items that I wasn’t even sure how to store, and didn’t even recall seeing in a food store to have a ball-park idea of refrigerate versus counter. Food waste due to inadequate storage really bothers me. I think there are many safe approaches to food storage that protect both the person enjoying the food and the food itself. Through the Summer and Fall crop-shares I did a good amount of reasearch into food storage, and thought this would be a nice time to share these tips I have learned.

Brussels Sprouts
The brussels sprouts I received were on a tall stalk. I have seen markets such as Trader Joes also sell them this way. The best way I have read to store them is to cut the sprouts off of the stalk and keep them in the fridge. I kept mine in an open brown-paper lunch bag in the crisper drawer.

Tomatoes
Little known fact – once you put a tomato in the fridge you drastically reduce its flavor. Many people put them in the fridge to help them ‘keep’ for longer but the better solution is to buy less tomatoes at one time. Keep your tomatoes on the counter if possible. Once I cut them I move them into the fridge but keeping them on the counter keeps them fresher and more flavorful.

White Mushrooms
I like to keep my white mushrooms in an open brown-paper lunch bag (like the brussels sprouts) in the fridge. I’m still looking for other ways to store mushrooms for days at a time, if you have any tried and true methods please do share them!  

Lettuce, Spinach, Kale (leafy green group)
The most important part for storing this group is not to wash them until you are ready to use them! When we get these greens from the crop-share they are usually dirty but we wait to wash them – washing them too soon makes them wet/damp and then takes away some of their ‘survival coats’. Keep ’em unwashed until use. I have also found an amazing way to store these types of greens: http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Lettuce-Keeper-LKS-06/dp/B000WL5WNW . It allows you to also store some herbs as well and even can be compartmentalized if needed. There are various instructions for keeping water in the bottom and opening air vents to really keep your produce in there as fresh as possible. It is extremely handy and I love it! Definitely worth purchasing for extending the life of your greens.

Kale, Part 2
I found that another great way to store kale, if you enjoy snacking on it particularly, is to clean it and then dry it thorougly. Then put it in a gallon sized zippered storage bag with a paper towel. The paper towel will soak up any leftover moisture in the kale and it will keep with this method for a week or two. If you dont want to invest in the product listed above you can follow this method as well for unwashed kale, spinach, green onions, and a lot more!

Potatoes
Typically I don’t have too many potatoes on hand at any given time but through my crop-sharing I have found myself with a ton of potatoes…and ways of storing them. I previously would keep them in the fridge but to be honest my fridge space was at a premium so the potatoes had to find a new home. In my pantry I keep potatoes in a brown paper-lunch bag. They do great at room temperature for a few weeks this way! One note – potatoes and onions shouldn’t be stored that close to each other as they have a chemical reaction and spoil each other quickly (cooked in a stew they get along just great though!)

Yellow Onions
Another one I keep in my pantry – brown paper lunch bags in the pantry keeps these guys for a few weeks as well. I used to keep them in the fridge as well but again ran out of space. These guys do just as well in the fridge as I’m finding they do in the pantry, so really wherever you have more space should do the trick!

Additional Resources
When I’m just not sure how to store an item my first go-to checking point is http://stilltasty.com/ . It doesn’t always provide me with storage tips but it does give me good advice on how risky it is to eat certain items I still have hanging around.

The foodsaver is also an excellent way to keep things fresh. I can use this to help freeze once fresh items that I’m looking to use in the coming months (like too sweet bananas that would be great in bread! Or meats). It really is a great investment if you buy in bulk or really make ahead lots of items that you find later on are getting freezer burn. This is also great for lengthening the life of cheese blocks and jars in our fridge that are used, just not quite quick enough…Not for everyone, but we love it!

Those are my tips that I’ve learned and found extremely useful thus far. I’ll be sure to write up more tips as I come across them! Are there any ones that have changed your food storage life? If so please do share!

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