Preserving Fresh Produce

The best way to get produce is to walk out into your garden and pull them fresh from the blackened soil. Unfortunately, not everyone can do that. That is where we come in. We are busy planting and cultivating an array of veggie goodness for this summer’s market days (see events).

We Love providing fresh produce to our friends, neighbors, and local businesses. Now that you bought them how do you keep them fresh? We have learned a few tricks over the years to help extend the life of our fresh produce.

HERBS:

As soon as you get fresh herbs home, fill a jar or glass with half an inch water. Remove any bands or ties from the produce, snip a ¼” from the bottom of the stems, and place them in the jar. Cover loosely with a plastic bag. Basically, you’re creating a refrigerated greenhouse where the plants can breathe freely.

If your herbs stay in the refrigerator longer than a week, refresh the water and re-snip the stems giving them new roots to absorb the water.

LETTUCE AND FRESH GREENS:

Have you ever brought home that beautiful head of Romaine lettuce or kale, placed it in the refrigerator, and two days later when you take it out it’s wilted or limp? The reason that happens is the refrigerator creates excess moisture which will quickly wilt salad greens. To prevent that, wrap your greens in a loose bundle with a damp paper towel, place them in a large Ziploc bag, but do not seal the bag, refrigerate them in the crisper drawer.

If your greens, specifically spinach and kale, have been in the refrigerator for longer than a week consider freezing them. Blanche the greens by placing them in a pot of boiling water for a couple minutes and immediately dunking them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Dry blanched greens and lay them on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in freezer until frozen solid. Transfer them to a freezer safe bag. They will keep up to eight months and make the perfect green smoothies. Did you know using frozen fruits and vegetables in place of ice gives you a smoother smoothie without those ice crystals.

BERRIES:

You need to keep berries cold and dry to prevent mold. The best way to do that is to layer them on a paper plate lined with a layer of paper towels. Do not wash or remove any stems. Slide the paper plate and berries into a large Ziploc bag, seal, and refrigerate. Before using the berries, wash under cold water removing any stems.

If your berries have been in the refrigerator longer than a week, it’s time to freeze them. To do this, rinse, dry, and remove any stems from the berries. Layer on a rimmed baking sheet, freeze uncovered for six hours. Transfer to a freezer bag. Frozen berries will last up to three months and can be used in smoothies and baking.

TOMATOES:

Tomatoes can be a bit more tricky and how to keep them fresh depends on their ripeness. If your tomatoes need a bit more ripening place them stem side down in a paper bag and store them in a cool place away from sunlight.

If tomatoes are perfectly ripe do not refrigerate. Rather keep them on the counter away from sunlight. Do not crown them in a bowl, but lay them side-by-side stem sides down. Use within a few days.

If a few days have gone and you still have tomatoes on your counter, now is the time to refrigerate them. The cold air stops the ripening process. Should be eaten within two days of refrigeration. When ready to eat, take them from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. This awakens the flavor.

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