How to store your summer veggies properly

Keep leafy greens, cabbages & co fresh longer.

Leafy greens

Getting a big bunch of salad or lettuces is a great, economical way to get your veggie servings, but after a few days in the fridge we often encounter sad, soggy, or even slimy leaves. So what’s the best way to store salads & greens so that they last the longest?

First things first: Get a salad spinner!

This is especially useful if you have a bunch of loose leaves or herbs you want to store. Wash ’em first and then dry in the spinner .

And the best way to store is… plastic container & paper towels!

Cover a plastic storage container with paper towels, dump the lettuce in and cover it with another layer of paper towels before locking down the lid. Don’t jam-pack the box too much.

The paper towels absorb excess moisture from the greens, which keeps them from getting slimy. Sealing your container will slow down the wilting process by keeping air circulation to a minimum. The purpose of a rigid box is to protect the leaves from getting knocked around or bruised by other foods they might sit against in the refrigerator. That way, your greens will stay fresh & crispy for about 10 days — try it out!

PS: this also goes for pak choi (or bok choy, how some might say). Bok choy can be stored like any other leafy green vegetable, like lettuce or spinach, even though theoretically, it’s member of the large cabbage family.

Cabbages

The good news is: cabbage lasts forever. However, not storing it the correct way can make it lose its crisp texture and earthy flavour.

A whole head

Make sure to leave all leaves on the head. The outer leaves of the cabbage head work to protect the inner and more tender leaves, especially helping with moisture retention. Do not wash cabbage until you are ready to use it and refrain from washing before storing.

Cabbage can store well in a hydrator drawer. You can put the cabbage in a plastic bag to help retain moisture but it isn’t totally necessary. Also, remember to handle your cabbage with care. Any kind of cell damage makes the cabbage go by more quickly and degrades the vitamin C content. That way, it can be kept for weeks!

Cut cabbage

Once the cabbage has been cut in halves or quarters, wrap in plastic and put it in the crisper section of your refrigerato. Remember to use within 2–3 days.

Tomatoes

The question is: Should you store tomatoes in the refrigerator?

And the answer is: it depends. Chilling stops ripening in its tracks, so unless your tomatoes are at their absolute peak of ripeness, you’ll never get a ripe tomato if stored in the fridge. However, if you have perfectly ripe tomatoes that you just don’t have time to use at that moment, you can store them in the fridge. A ripe tomato can last a day or two in the fridge without ill effects.

Don’t leave them to cool longer than a couple of days.

Chilled tomatoes will start to dehydrate, so say goodbye to that juicy tomato slice you were craving. Also, the flesh of the tomato will get mealy or mushy.

That being said, you should always eat tomatoes at room temperature for optimum flavour and texture. Just let them warm up to room temperature before slicing and putting on a salad or sandwich.

But what about unripe tomatoes?

Skip the fridge and store them at a cool room temperature instead. You also want to avoid that picturesque still life of a bunch of pretty tomatoes sitting on a windowsill if you don’t want them to go so quickly that they’ll start to spoil.

You’re better off keeping your tomatoes in the basement or a cupboard. Since we are dealing with delicate beauties, you’ll also want to keep them in one single layer so their weight doesn’t crush their fellas. And in case one does get a smushed, use it before it causes the others to rot.

Air movement is also key when it comes to freshness. A plate allows air to move around the tomatoes, resulting in slightly longer life. If your tomatoes come with stems, store tomatoes with the stems down. This helps prevent moisture from escaping through the stem. It also may help prevent any mould growth around the stem.

Cucumbers

Fancy a fresh & crisp cucumber to dip into that hummus? We’ll help you get there! Because if a cucumber is not nice & crunchy, there is no point.

Clean up and strip naked!

Remove your cucumba from whatever packaging they came in and give them a rinse. And yes, even the vacuum-sealed seedless greenhouse cucumbers need to have their wrappers removed. When straight from the farm, you want to wash off any dirt or grime. If you see any mushy or mouldy spots, cut the bad side off and eat that cucumber today. If they’re nice and clean and fresh, they’re ready to store.

Keep ’em dry!

Make sure your cucumbers are dry before you store them, as excess water on the surface encourages spoiling. Afterwards, wrap them in a clean kitchen or paper towel in order to avoid any condensation or humidity, which helps prevent sogginess, mould, and overall deterioration — the same goes for leavy greens. If your only thing at hand is a plastic bag, make sure not to seal it to encourage air circulation.

Keep ’em cool!

But not too cool. Choose not the coldest part of your fridge, and most certainly NOT the freezer. Remember to not place the cucumbers at the end of your fridge walls or in close proximity to where your freezer is, where it gets the most cold and veggies often tend to get freeze-damaged.

The crisper drawer is an excellent place if you’ve got room in there. Your cucumbers should be safe and sound for about a week now!

Garlic

Garlic can actually keep well for months. The key is to store it the right way. There are three important things to keep in mind when it comes to proper storage.

Keep the head whole.

If you can avoid it, leave the entire head of garlic intact, meaning not breaking it apart. That way, it can stay fresh for a few months. Its life span begins to decrease once you break apart the head and take out the individual cloves. A broken head will keep for about three to 10 days, so make it a point to use it up first before breaking open a new head.

Think dry and dark.

Garlic’s worst enemies are light and moisture, as they both cause mould to grow. Store garlic at room temperature instead, in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation, like in a wire-mesh basket or open paper bag in a cupboard or pantry.

Avoid the fridge.

When stored in a cold environment, like the refrigerator, garlic will begin to sprout in no more than a few days. While sprouted garlic is still edible, it can sometimes be a little bitter-tasting.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower and native to North America. Originally, it has been cultivated by Native Americans. After its arrival to Europe, in Denmark the root vegetable used to even more popular than potatoes — but that has changed. Today, not many people are familiar with the nutty-tasting, crunchy tuber, which looks almost like ginger (just more pink) and tastes remarkably similar to the delicious artichoke that shows its head around spring .

You can cook them just like you would a potato: roast, boil, sauté, bake or steam. You can leave the skin on or peel it off . They even taste great raw and add a great texture to salads and stir-frys.

Ok, now tell me how to store those delicious all-rounders!

Jerusalem artichoke tubers store best at about 0–2 °C and high humidity. Place them in plastic bags in a basement, if you have — or in a dark, perforated plastic bag in your fridge, where they can last up to 3 weeks.

Be aware that the tubers of the Jerusalem artichoke do not store as well as potatoes. Do not store tubes where they will dry and shrivel.

If you need more advice, check out this article with basic advice for storage.