As we approach the start of our Summer CSA, we want to make sure our farm members know how to store all their summer veggies. Here’s our guide to keeping those veggies and greens fresh as long as possible!
Note: We wash all our greens before packing them, so you can eat them straight from the bag. If you’re storing greens from the grocery store or another source, we recommend washing and spinning them dry before following the storage tips in this post.
Another note: Several summer veggies’ (cucumber, eggplant, summer squash, tomatoes, zucchini) ideal storage temperature is between 50-55 degrees F. We designate a cooler at our farm for this temperature during the summer, but we recognize this is not feasible in most homes. We are giving the best storage advice for your home in this post.
Basil: Trim the tips of the stem and place the sprigs in water–I use a half pint or pint ball jar–and keep on the kitchen counter out of direct sunlight. I recommend cooking with this tender herb sooner than later, but if you won’t be using it till later, loosely cover the jar with a plastic bag and change the water every couple of days. I do not recommend storing basil in the fridge, as the colder temperature may discolor the leaves.
Beets and Beet Greens: Beets should be stored separately from their greens. Trim the greens about one inch from the top of the beet, keeping the entire beet intact. Store the beets in an airtight bag or container in the fridge. Store the greens in a separate airtight bag or container in the fridge.
Cantaloupe: See “Melons.”
Carrots and Carrot Tops: Trim the tops from the carrots. Store the carrots in an airtight bag or container in the fridge. Store the tops in a separate airtight bag or container in the fridge.
Cilantro: See “Fresh Herbs.”
Cucumbers: Store outside of the fridge in a cool, dark spot. Use as soon as possible. Keep separate from bananas, tomatoes, and melons. If you like your cucumber chilled, wrap loosely in a plastic bag and put in the fridge an hour before eating.
Dill: See “Fresh Herbs.”
Eggplant: Store outside of the fridge in a cool, dark spot. Use as soon as possible. Keep separate from bananas, tomatoes, and melons.
Fresh Herbs (soft–cilantro, dill, mint, parsley): Trim the ends. Place herbs upright in jar with the bottom of the herbs in about an inch of water. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and store in the fridge. Replace water every 2-3 days.
Fresh Herbs (hard– oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme): Wait to wash until right before eating. Wrap the herbs loosely in a damp paper towel. Place in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge.
Greens Beans: Store unwashed beans in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer in the fridge. If you see condensation forming in the bag, add a paper towel to absorb the moisture.
Head lettuce: Trim the base of the head. Rinse any dirt from the bottom of the leaves. Pat dry. Store lettuce leaves in a sealed plastic bag or container with a paper towel to collect moisture. Store in the fridge.
Kale, full-sized: Store kale leaves in a sealed plastic bag or container with a paper towel to collect moisture. Store in the fridge.
Melons: Store melons at room temperature. If melons are very ripe and you won’t be eating for a few days, store whole in the fridge.
Okra: Store okra in a brown paper bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
Parsley: See “Fresh Herbs.”
Peas (snow and sugar snap): Store the peas in an airtight bag or container in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Wash right before eating.
Peppers (sweet and hot): Place in an airtight plastic bag and keep in crisper drawer of the fridge. For information on freezing peppers, read this post.
Potatoes: Store in a paper bag or cardboard box (not plastic!) in a cool, dark place. Our potatoes have not been cured, so we recommend using them fresh within a few weeks rather than storing them over the next 4-6 months.
Shallots: Store shallots in a cool, dark, well-ventilated space.
Summer Squash: Store the squash dry and unwashed. Place in a perforated plastic bag or plastic/paper bag with one end of the bag open, and keep in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
Swiss Chard: Store Swiss chard leaves in a sealed plastic bag or container with a paper towel to collect moisture. Store in the fridge.
Tomatoes (slicing and cherry): Store outside of the fridge in a cool, dark spot. Use as soon as possible. Keep separate from eggplant and cucumbers.
Watermelon: See “Melons.”
Zucchini: See “Summer Squash.”