Don’t we all love munching on a leaf of crispy lettuce or a crunchy carrot and how do these fill our mouth with freshness every time? Of course, we do! There is no edible better than the one that is fresh and has its crisp intact. However, let us be honest, none of us has got the time to go out and buy fresh vegetables every day. It is essential to learn how to store vegetables to preserve their freshness and natural nutrition content.
Even if you grow some of these in your kitchen garden, there is no way you can let a vegetable hanging out there at your convenience. Different crops have a specific time for their harvest and hence, you can’t fetch a veggie only when the pan is warming up to welcome it.
But wait! You don’t have to worry even if you need to keep your veggies stored before you can eat them. Storing a vegetable does not mean you have to compromise on its crispiness. It’s not like freshness is a feature, only the recently harvested vegetables are supposed to have. Rather, you can easily enjoy freshness and taste even from pre-stored edibles if you want. For that, you just need to know what’s the best way to store vegetables and you’re all good to go.
Luckily, there are several amazing ways to store vegetables for days while ensuring their freshness. Depending on the vegetables you are looking forward to storing, you can try one of the many vegetable storing options. If done right, there is no reason the storing method won’t work for you.
Below, we are covering several vegetables groups and families and describing the best way to store vegetables from the respective group. So, let’s begin:
1- Garlic and Onions
Onions and Garlic are two of the most common edibles, present in almost all households throughout the year. These belong to the Allium family and the best way to store vegetables from this group is to keep them in a cool are dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.
Short-term Storage: Even if you live in a predominantly hot region, you do not have to refrigerate onions and garlic at all. Usually putting these separately in a dry and clean vegetable basket can keep these from perishing for a week or two.
Long-term Storage: You can easily store these two veggies for longer times if you put in some extra effort. For that, you first have to separate the clean and unblemished pieces from the over-ripe ones and ensure that the cleaner pieces don’t have any moisture on them. Then, you can put the clean onions and garlic either together or separately (separate storage is preferable) in clean and dry storage boxes and put these boxes in a cool and dry place without their lids. Just make sure that the onions and garlic are not stored anywhere near potatoes.
While they are stored, onions and garlic might develop some new bulbs and shoots. You don’t have to worry about these growths since they are edible and won’t harm the stored veggies, provided you allow for air circulation in the stored heaps.
2- Potatoes and Yams
Potatoes are another common kitchen item that is abundantly harvested in many regions. Usually, the best way to store root vegetables is to place them anywhere but inside a refrigerator, and potatoes alongside sweet potatoes are no exception. You need to choose a shady and cool place to store these veggies and they will do pretty good for weeks provided you ensure air circulation with more than enough humidity in the storage area.
How to Store Vegetables Short-term:
If you will be using your potatoes in a week or two, don’t refrigerate them at all. Just ensure that all the potatoes are healthy and unblemished and store them together in a basket or tub in a dark and cool place away from the kitchen appliances’ heat. Also, make sure that the potatoes do not have any ethylene-producing vegetables like onions or bananas near where they are stored. Lastly, allow for some humidity to keep the potatoes fresh and crisp.
How to Store Vegetables Long-term:
If you cannot ensure moisture for your potatoes or yams in a cellar for a long time, you can simply clean them and place them in a refrigerator or use any known method of cold storage for vegetables. However, refrigerated yams or potatoes can turn brown when cooked later and you also need to keep changing their position in the refrigerator to ensure their exposure to humidity and oxygen.
For sweet potatoes, you can put them alongside potatoes if they are being stored for a long time. However, if it is just for a week or two, it is better to store them in another container with no potatoes around them.
3- Lettuce, Cabbage, Broccoli, and Cauliflower
Now, this one is an interesting case. All these veggies are knowns for their versatile usage and their ability to thrive through minor weather disruptions. The good part about the lettuce and cabbage family is that their members can be very easily stored, both for short and long terms in a refrigerator or any other cold storage for vegetables.
Generally, the best way to store iceberg lettuce and other veggies from its group is to ensure moisture and humidity around them and these will easily last you for weeks. However, a little bit of extra care is required when you are aiming to keep these stored for a longer-term. Read on to know the major difference between short-term and long-term veggie storage for these vegetables.
Short-term Storage: Many modern-day brands offer us the best way to store vegetables in the fridge through a separate crisper drawer at the bottom of the appliance. If you aim to use the lettuce, cauliflower, or other such veggies within a week or two, you can simply place them in this drawer or on any other shelf in your fridge. In this case, the moisture and humidity will be ensured by the refrigerator itself and you won’t have to do anything as such. Some people often seal these veggies in a plastic bag before putting them in the drawer and, provided you can ensure air circulation, that method works fine as well.
Long-term Storage: Interestingly, the best way to store fresh vegetables from this group is not different than the short-term storage method shared above. However, you have to do a bit of extra labor here before you can put your veggies in the refrigerator. To ensure long-term freshness, the best way to store iceberg lettuce that restaurants also use is to first wash it, then let it dry, and then put the vegetable in a container that allows for air circulation through holes. This perforated container is then placed in the refrigerator and keeps the vegetable fresh for as long as it can.
When they have been stored for too long, your lettuce and cauliflower might develop discoloration on their outer layer. While mostly the discolored layers are fit for eating, they do not look too good in a salad bowl or as bedding. In that case, you can remove the outer layer and work with the layer beneath that will be completely fresh if you have stored the vegetable in the right manner.
4- Asparagus and Green Onions
These two veggies are the prototypical examples whenever we talk about storing vegetables in water. With these, there is no difference between short-term and long-term storage and the process of storing these is also very simple.
First, let us talk about Asparagus. The best way to store vegetables like Asparagus is to get your hands on a tall glass jar. Cut an inch or two from Asparagus’s bottom and then make it stand upright in the glass jar. Now, add water in the jar and keep on adding till it covers half of the stalk. Make sure that the water is neither too cold nor too hot and is clean. Also, do not overcrowd the Asparagus in the jar. It is better to split a single bunch in two or three jars if possible. You can leave the jars in a cool place as such however, we suggest that you cover the stalks coming out of the glass jar with a perforated plastic bag and secure the bag’s mouth downwards with a loose rubber band. This method of covering the stalks with a plastic bag is often used while storing vegetables in water to ensure their freshness for a week or two.
As far as green onions are concerned, storing these might bring you more benefit than eating them. Follow the similar method above but do not cover the jar’s mouth with plastic. Leave the jar with water and onions standing upright in a cool and shady place, preferably at a place where fresh air can reach the stalks. If you are lucky, the green onions will start growing further. You can plant them in the ground, and these can provide you with free harvest for up to 2 years. However, in case the growth is happening in the water jar itself and you don’t want to plant the Just keep cutting the green shoots and freeze them if you do not have to use them immediately. It is only through cutting that you can get new growths that can be used fresh, later.
If you have harvested the tomatoes on your own, they might be pale and would need some time to ripen up before you can finally store them somewhere. Since these are short-lived, there is no long-term storage for them. All you can do is to keep them in a cool and dry place, away from sunlight while they are fully ripe and then, you can store them in a refrigerator. Tomato cold storage works well for a week or two, but it is suggested that you use them as soon as you can. For longer times, you need to clean them and keep them in a protected cellar while ensuring consistent check-ups of these.
6- Leafy Greens
Many people are often confused as to what is the best way to store vegetables that are aptly referred to as leafy greens. Well, the answer to this question depends on several factors, mainly the time for which you want to store them and the region you live in. Again, there is no clear distinction between long-term and short-term storage of leafy greens.
How to Store Vegetables – Useful Tips
If you live in regions that are not too hot, you can simply put your leafy greens in the fridge without washing them and they will stay alright for a week or two. However, kitchen experts have another tried and tested method to store the leafy greens for over a month. They either boil or wash these and then cut them into smaller pieces. The cut veggies are then stored in a plastic bag that has the seal on its mouth and then put in freezers. These are then only taken out when they have to be cooked. This way, even when you are making a bit of compromise on the veggie’s taste and nutritive value, you can keep them stored for as long as needed.
Even when you are keeping these in a refrigerator, it is best to ensure no moisture around and allow for air circulation between the leaves. You can do so by putting the veggie in a perforated bag and then placing it in the crisp drawer.
Other than these, you can search the internet further to find the best way to store vegetables from other groups too. Veggie storage is not necessarily hard, all you need is a little bit of care and some prior knowledge and you will yourself see how storing fresh vegetables can save a lot of your time and money that is otherwise ruined when you have to throw out stale veggies.
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Wishing you healthy and happy eating!
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