Thursday, January 4, 2024

How I store my produce (HI Barb) and use it

 First on storage...I use Bluapple classic and Bluapple Fresh mats. Have now for maybe 3 yrs. Works good when I have a frig full of produce coming in from gardens and need extra time to process it. I like the mats as I can wash and dry them. I can buy refills for the classic. I am now going to try Bluapple veggie zips (also reusable) for my lettuce and mushrooms. Hubby said he likes the mats because if something does start going bad, the mat keeps it contained and can be washed, like the cucumber that got under a bag of lettuce.I couldn't figure out where the lettuce came from (he got it from Amish).

Some of my standard practices of keep produce longer I learned in culinary classes.

Mushrooms get brushed off gently and put in brown paper lunch bags and closed.DO not leave them in closed plastic as they will get slimy.

Greens, all greens are wrapped in white kitchen cotton dish towel(yes those big thin white cotton towels your grandma or great grandma used) or paper towels then in plastic bag. I also wrap my homemade bread in a white kitchen cotton dish towel before I put it in the bread box.  Amish wrap their lettuce (head lettuce only. I haven't seem one grow leaf lettuce for their family) in newspaper and put in spring house (around 37-38° which is like our frig). N's wife E wraps their Chinese cabbage in newspaper also for the spring house. Said she has had it last at least 2 months that way unless N eats it. He likes to snack on it while working.  I have done this with green onions also and then in a plastic bag not sealed. 

Celery is wrapped in foil.

I keep apples, bananas and avocados separate from greens as they give off gases that will mess greens up.

ALWAYS remove rubber bands from produce. 

Remove leafy tops from root veggies (toss radish tops in your salad and cook up the beet, turnip etc tops.). I try to keep a damp cloth over them and in the bottom of frig where it is the coldest.

I freeze my ginger. 

I keep my potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions (not with potatoes) and garlic in basement which is cool . Garlic is in mesh bag hanging. Onions are in panty hose hanging (*yes it works). Potatoes and sweet potatoes are in milk crates (not on concrete floor) covered to keep out of light. Keeping that stuff in frig makes it turn to starch. I just spend a day once a month making sure I go through the potatoes to use what is going to sprouts first and breaking  sprouts off. 

The biggest tip is what to eat first

Any greens I have are ate within 7-10 days and that is pushing the limit. Kale, collards and mustards hold longer than lettuce and spinach. Head lettuce hold longer than leaf lettuce or precut lettuce. I have had ice berg lettuce wrapped in newspaper for 2 wks. Just pulled the outer leaves off . Cucumbers are in this group also.

Tomatoes NEVER go in the frig. About 2 wks on the counter with the side of where the vine was DOWN. We usually eat them before 2 wks. But I tested it for Daughter 2.I put a paper towel under the tomatoes.

Bell peppers last about 3 wks on the fresh mats. I take them out of the plastic bags.

Turnips, parsnips. rutabagas, radishes and beets are loose in crisper drawer.

I had a root cellar at the old farm rental that I could hang my cabbage and Brussels sprouts by the root. I don't have that here but have a friend say they did Brussels sprouts that way in their unheated garage. They just moved the cars outside until they had it ate since they didn't think they should start the car in the garage with it. Amish hang theirs in the barns or equipment sheds. I might try the barn this coming year.

Broccoli needs to be dry and not wrapped tight, stored in bottom of frig. I don't put it in the drawer as it needs room. The same with cauliflower. I will make sure both are dry but keep loosely wrapped. Turn cauliflower root side up to help it last longer. I've had it 3- 4 wks in the frig. 

I've wrapped cabbage including cut cabbage with Press and Seal and kept it for at least a month(usually 3-4 months) in the frig.Brussels sprouts will hold about a month. 


I focus on leafy greens and tomatoes first. Peas, snow peas and green beans in season.

Then bell peppers, mushrooms, head lettuce and shredded carrots, summer squash if during season.

Then broccoli and cauliflower, root veggies like beets, radishes. 

Then cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots and celery. Winter squash in season. 

My onions will store up to 3 to 4 months usually. Usually I run out before any really go bad.

 When I get down to 1 bunch of celery and an open bag of carrots I know I need to make a produce run. 

We only do bananas and oranges for fresh fruit. I store OUR apples in frig deli drawer.If I buy pineapples, I put cut it up and put in freezer. We eat berries in season (I have strawberries, blackberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, honey raspberries and am now am growing blueberries again) I can peaches (order bulk through Amish). We grow grapes (freeze what we don't eat) and rhubarb (can what we don't eat as pie filling).