So we all know how good fruits and vegetables are for us. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that we need, especially this time of year. So we go to the store and buy fresh and preferably organic stuff, but then what? How do you store your goodies so they keep fresh the longest? I mean who hasn´t spent a fortune on veggies and then had to throw it out cause its gone bad? Ugh, such a waste! Most fruits and berries you can simply freeze as is and use whenever you want. I do this all the time, it´s so convenient. When it comes to vegetables you need to blanch most of them first, so just wash them, cut them in smaller bites and briefly cooked them in boiling water. Then put in a big bowl with ice water and let cool. After that spread them out on a baking sheet and put in the freezer, this way they all freeze individually and don´t turn into a big ball of frozen stuff. After that just put in a container and store in the freezer. Most frozen stuff stay good for several months, up to a year. Here is a little guide how to store your greens.
Asparagus. Cut the tips off and put in a glass jar or vase with water and place on your kitchen counter. This way your asparagus will stay fresh for weeks.
Avocado. Store in brown paper bag in room temperature. If you want it to ripe faster just put one apple in the bag. When it comes to freezing avocados, put avocado and 1 tablespoon of lime or lemon in the blender and make a puree. Then freeze in container or ice cube trays for easy use.
Bananas. Keep in room temperature, never in the fridge. You can freeze bananas and that way make them stay fresh longer, just peel, cut in half and put in container in freezer. This is so great for smoothies, the frozen banana gives your smoothie that extra fluff and delicious creamy texture.
Beets. Separate the leaves from the roots before storing them in closed container. The beets stay fresh for 3 weeks, the leaves for 3 days. The leaves is great to use in juices, salads or sauteed.
Bell peppers. Store in the fridge. The green peppers will stay fresh for 7 days, the red, yellow or orange peppers will stay fresh for 5 days. All peppers are great for freezing, cut pieces and place on baking tray so they freeze individually. Then move to larger container and store in freezer.
Broccoli. Make sure the broccoli not wet, then wrap in a cotton kitchen towel and put in the fridge. This also goes for cauliflower.
Carrots. Cut off the tips and they will stay much longer. Wrap in damp kitchen towel and put in container with a lid and store in fridge. You can also store without towel, in a big bowl or container without lid, and take them out every other day and rinse under cold water.
Celery. Stays in fridge for up to 3 weeks, stays even longer if stored just like asparagus, in a glass jar or vase with water placed on your kitchen counter.
Cucumber. Wrap in damp kitchen towel and store in refrigerator.
Garlic. Store in food pantry (not refrigerator) and make sure air can circulate around it. Then it will stay for up to 2 months. You can also freeze garlic, as whole heads, cloves or minced (try freezing the minced in ice cube trays, just add a little water). Just know frozen garlic can loose some of it’s texture and flavor during freezing.
Ginger. Stays good in fridge for up to 3 weeks. You can freeze ginger and then it stays for up to 6 months. Freeze whole and then you can take out a piece and just grate (no need to thaw before grating).
Herbs. Leafy herbs (like basil, parsley and cilantro) stays for 3-5 days when wrapped in damp kitchen towel and put in fridge. Woody herbs (like rosemary and thyme) stays for two weeks in fridge (no damp towel needed). I always hang dry the herbs from my garden and put in glass jars (make sure they are completely dry otherwise they will get moldy). You can also chop fresh herbs and freeze. A great tip is to pack your herbs neatly in ice cube trays, slowly pore over water (not all the way up) and then put in freezer. 24 hours later you got yourself beautiful little herb cubes great for cooking or smoothies.
Lettuce. Make sure your lettuce is not wet, then wrap in cotton kitchen towel and put in the fridge. If the lettuce turned brown or smells weird, don´t eat it cause bacteria can develop here. This goes for all leafy greens.
Mango. Stays 4-5 days in refrigerator. If you want to ripen it faster put in brown paper bag in room temperature. To speed it up put an apple in the bag. As any other fruit mango is great for freezing. Put on baking sheet and freeze individually first so you don´t get one hugh chunk of frozen fruit.
Mushrooms. Store in a paper bag and put in the fridge. Stays for like a week. If you got a lot of mushroom a great tip is to freeze them, but make sure you cook them first since frozen raw mushrooms tend to become mushy. Another way to conserve mushroom is to dry them. Clean them first (use a brush, NOT water), cut them and then put on baking sheet (no overlapping) and bake on 150F (65C) until they are completely dry, probably 2-3 hours or so. Every hour take them out and wipe them down with a paper towel to get moisture out. Let them cool and then store in glass jar with lid.
Nuts & Seeds. So this is obviously not a fruit or a veggie, but I had to throw them into the mix. I love to fill vintage Mason Jars with nuts and seeds and have on my kitchen counter or on open shelves in the kitchen. I just think it looks so pretty. Nuts and seeds stay for 3 months or so stored like this. If you want them to last longer, up to 6 months, store in the fridge. You can also freeze them and make them stay good for up to one year, thing is that they may loose some of the nutrients (especially vitamin E) when frozen.
Onion. Store in food pantry with good air circulation and they stay good for 2 months. I always chop onions and store in freezer. It´s just so easy to take however much you need and throw in soup, stew or whatever you’re cooking.
Potato. Store in food pantry. Make sure air can circulate and that it is dark, dry and cold. Stays for 3 weeks. Cook your potato anyway your want and then you can freeze. Sweet potato and jams you store in paper bag in the pantry and they stay good for 2 weeks.
Tomato. Don´t put your tomatoes in the fridge, this will make them loose their taste. I store my tomatoes in a colander on my kitchen counter. The colander has small holes and the air can circulate. You can also freeze tomatoes, whole, sliced, chopped, as a puree or cooked sauce.
Winter Squash (like Acorn-, Butternut- and Spaghetti Squash). Store in pantry and it stays good for up to three months. Cut up it stays good in the refrigerator for up to one week.