Some people shop impulsively for shoes. Erin, associate editor of Gardenista, shops impulsively for vegetables. But unfortunately, her vegetable crisper is where her “good intentions go to die.” Luckily, Ecology Center in Berkeley has put together a cheat sheet to help extend the life of your fresh produce.
Here is a helpful guide to knowing how one might stretch the longevity of vegetable purchases.
Photographs by Erin Boyle.
Above: A fresh haul of vegetables from the Union Square Greenmarket. Below are guidelines for a few basic vegetables:
Carrots: Cut off the tops, store in the refrigerator in a closed container with plenty of moisture.
Celery: Place in a shallow cup or bowl of water on the counter or in the refrigerator.
Summer squash and zucchini: Leave on the counter; wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.
Eggplant: Leave on the counter; don’t wash until ready to use.
Beets: Cut off the tops, then store in an open container covered with a damp cloth.
Onions, garlic, shallots: Store in a cool dark, place.
Tomatoes: Store on the counter.
Peppers: Keep free of moisture until ready to use; store on the counter or in the crisper for longer storage.
Above: Root vegetables like carrots and beets send energy into their leaves even after they’ve been harvested. Keep all the nutrition in the root itself by storing them without leaves. Save the beet greens and use them as you would chard. Some vegetable nuts eat carrot tops, but most folks agree that they’re toxic.
Above: Carrots like to be kept moist and cool. Erin has been storing hers in a ceramic crock from Canvas Home. Designed to hold coffee; She thinks the Handmade White Covered Coffee Jar from Canvas, makes the perfect sealable container for a refrigerator.
Above: Alliums like garlic, onions, and shallots should be kept out of the refrigerator in a cool, dark place. For me, that’s my kitchen counter. Erin uses a Small Bisque Handmade Bowl.
Above: Tomatoes belong on your counter, not in your refrigerator. Erin keeps her Sungold and other cherry tomatoes in a Tourne Berry Bowl. For larger tomatoes, store them in a single layer, upside down on a plate to keep them from rotting too quickly. Eggplant and summer squash are happiest on the counter, too.
Above: Celery does well in a small cup of water in the refrigerator.
Do you find yourself with too much zucchini? If so, you’re not alone.