How to Store Vegetables

Jul 29, 2022 by Hannah Sunderani

How to Store Vegetables

Hi friends! I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful summer weather! These warm days have really been doing a number on my vegetables, which has led me to research alternative ways to store my fresh produce. The best ways to store vegetables are easier than you would think!

In fact, it doesn’t take much more time or effort to ensure your vegetables are kept crisp and fresh! It can be as simple as keeping certain fruits away from your veg. Fruits including tomatoes, bananas, melons, apples, avocados and peaches, produce a type of gas that acts as a ripening agent that speeds up spoilage of other fruits and vegetables placed in close proximity. Keep them away from veg, in their own designated places.

When it comes to buying vegetables, there’s nothing worse than buying a head of lettuce or a bag of carrots to have them wilt, go rotten, or slimy within days.

Say goodbye to spoilage! With our simple tips and tricks, you will have less waste, resulting in less of your money being wasted; which is always a win-win!

So, let me tell you exactly how to store your veggies so you can enjoy them at your leisure!

how to store vegetables

Index

How to Store Vegetables to Keep them Fresh:

First and foremost, when selecting vegetables, make sure to choose the veggies that look the most rich in colour, strong and healthy looking, with no limp or yellowing leaves. Any signs that a veg is past its prime is a good indicator that it won’t last long once brought home.

How to store vegetables in fridge

Organization is key. The ultimate tip for the best way to store vegetables in your fridge is to keep them organized. Lining your vegetables up so that you can see them all will allow you to know what you have and prevent potential food waste.

Tip: Freeze your vegetables. Placing vegetables in the freezer is the quickest and easiest way to preserve their nutrients and prevent them from spoiling. Most vegetables should be blanched before frozen.

Check out my Green Beans Almondine Recipe, where I refer to Feel Good Foodies article on How to Blanch Vegetables.

Asparagus

Keeping your asparagus sitting upright in a container with about an inch of cold water covering the bottoms will keep them from drying out. Alternatively, if you do not have space in your fridge to allow for the hight of the asparagus to sit upright, you can dampen a paper towel or reusable kitchen towel and wrap it around the stalks to keep them moist. Keeping the end of the stalks wet will allow them to stay at their prime for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Ready to use your asparagus? Try this delicious Charred Asparagus with Mango-Tomato Salsa.

asparagus stored in a jar of water

Beans

Store your unwashed green beans in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge. If your beans came in a plastic bag from the grocery store, keep them in this bag for optimum freshness. If they came in a cardboard box from the market, transfer them to a plastic bag before putting them in the fridge.

When freshly picked, store in ideal conditions of 32° F and 95% relative humidity and they will last 7 to 10 days. If bought from the store and kept in the fridge, they are best eaten within a few days.

Beets

Chop off all but 2 inches of the stem. Leave them unwashed and place them into your crisper. Keep them dry because excessive moisture can make beets go bad quickly. Store beets in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Beets will keep in the fridge for 1 to 3 months. Alternatively, beets can be stored in a container full of moist sand. Insuring you keep an eye on them and remove any beets that show signs of rotting (one spoiled beet will ruin them all), and they can last up to 3 months.

Fun Fact: Fresh root vegetables you can store in sand include; turnips, beets, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, ginger, onions, and winter radishes. To learn more about how to store vegetables in sand, you can visit the Farmer’s Almanac by clicking here.

beets with the stems cut

Bok Choy

Storing unwashed Bok Choy in a plastic bag with holes in the bag and then placed in your fridge will keep it fresh for 3 to 4 days. Another way to store Bok Choy is to cut off the base, separate the leaves, wash them, dry them thoroughly, wrap them in paper towel or a reusable kitchen towel and place them in a plastic bag to store in the crisper drawer of your fridge. They will last about 5 to 6 days with this method. Alternatively, placing your stalks upright in a bowl of about 1 inch of cold water will keep them fresh for about 2 days. Last but not least, you could to try wrapping your Bok Choy in aluminum foil. Insure it is completely wrapped, place it into a reusable plastic bag and into your crisper and it may last up to several weeks!

Broccoli

There are many ways to store your broccoli in the fridge. You can simply place them in your crisper and they will stay fresh for up to 5 days. Another options is to place your broccoli into The Swag bag (not sponsored, I just love it!). Dampen the bag and wrap them inside and they will stay fresh for 1 to 2 weeks! Another options is to place your broccoli stems upright in a bowl, glass or container with 1 inch of water. Make sure the florets are sticking out of the container and cover them loosely with a plastic bag and tying snug around the container or hold with an elastic band. This method will keep your broccoli fresh for about a week.

Brussels Sprouts

Rinse the Brussels Sprouts with water and lie them on a paper towel or reusable kitchen towel and put them inside a plastic bag. Place them in your crisper and they will last up to a week. Another option is to pour them into a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Make sure to poke some holes in the top and they will last 5 to 7 days.

Cabbage

If a head of cabbage is kept whole and not cut, it can often stay fresh quite a few days unrefrigerated. Once cut, your cabbage should be wrapped tightly in a plastic bag and stored in the crisper in your fridge. It will last 1 to 2 weeks. If kept longer, it may still be crisp and usable, but make sure to shave off all exposed ends that have previously been cut, to ensure you are discarding any spoiled or dried parts.

Carrots

For crunchy and fresh carrots, peel and chop your carrots into desired size. Fill a reusable container with water and fully submerge the carrots into the water and tightly close the containers lid. Your carrots will last up to 3 weeks. Another great way to store your carrots is inside The Swag bag. Carrots will last for a month or longer!

Lastly, if you have a large quantity of carrots that you need to store and keep fresh for a long period of time, try the sand technique. Use a reusable container or bin, spread a layer of damp sand on the bottom. Next, arrange your carrots on top, making sure they are not touching. Spread another layer of damp sand and repeat. It is important to use damp sand, not wet sand for this storage option. Your carrots will last up to 6 months!

Cauliflower

If you buy your cauliflower covered in plastic, make sure you cut open the plastic to give the cauliflower some air flow before placing it in the fridge. You can also place it, unwashed, into a plastic bag, leaving the bag open and it will last 7 to 10 days.

Fun Fact: Cauliflower is actually a type of flower! It is harvested before it is fully developed into a flower. This edible flower also has edible leaves. The leaves have a stronger taste than the florets. They’re great coated with oil and salt and roasted in the oven.

cauliflower with plastic wrap opened

Celery

The most efficient way to store celery is sitting upright with its base in water. Fill a jar or sturdy glass with 1-2 inches of water. Place the base of the celery into the water. Cover the top of the stalk with a plastic bag and tightly tie the bag, or elastic band, around the top of the jar or glass and your celery will last 2 to 3 weeks.

If you do not have room in your fridge for your celery to sit upright, try tightly wrapping your celery in aluminum foil and placing it in the crisper. This will hold in the moisture and allow it to last up to 2 weeks.

Cucumbers

After bringing your cucumber home, wash it and dry it well. Depending on the temperature of your house and it is not too hot, you may be able to keep your cucumber on your counter at room temperature and have it last up to 1 week.

If your house is too hot, wash your cucumber (take it out of the sealed plastic if it came like this from the grocery store) and dry well. Wrap the cucumber in paper towels or reusable kitchen towels and place it in a reusable storage container and then put it in your crisper to stay fresh for a week.

If your cucumber has already been cut or chopped, put the pieces into a container and submerge in water. Put the lid on tightly and keep in your fridge for 1 to 3 days.

Need a suggestion on what to make with all your cucumbers? Click here to make this refreshing Cucumber Gazpacho, perfect for hot summer days!

Eggplant

Eggplant will stay fresh unrefrigerated, in a cool dark room, for up to 4 days. You can also place your eggplant in the crisper drawer of your fridge for up to 1 week.

Wrapping it in paper towel or a reusable kitchen towel and placing it into a reusable container and then into the crisper will also keep it fresh for a week.

Lettuce and Leafy Greens

There are two benificial methods to keeping your lettuce and kale fresh and crisp. Rinse them well, wrap them in paper towel or a reusable kitchen towel and place them into a container or sealed plastic bag. This method can also be applied to Swiss Chard.

The second method for lettuce and kale is to place them into a container with a few inches of water. Ensure the base of the lettuce and the stems of the kale are submerged into about 1-2 inches of water. Then cover with a plastic bag and tie snug around the container, or securely with a rubber band, holding the bag around the container to ensure there is no air flow into the bag. They will last 2 to 3 weeks!

Need to use up your kale and don’t know what to make? one of my favourites is this Harvest Kale Caesar Salad!

kale wrapped in a clean dish towel

What are the best types of storage containers?

The answer to this is simple! Any container will work as long as it has a tight seal. Reusable containers are eco friendly and cost efficient. I use Glasslock food storage containers with lids. To check out my favourite food storage containers click here.

Mushrooms

Remove any plastic wrapping from your mushrooms. This will prevent them from going slimy within days. Place your unwashed mushrooms into a paper bag and place them into your fridge. They will stay fresh for up to 1 week. Click here for an easy way to use us your mushrooms in this Healthy Balsamic Mushrooms recipe.

mushrooms in a brown paper bag

Peas

Put peas in a plastic bag with holes. Then place them into your crisper drawer in your fridge to keep them moist. They will keep for 5 to 7 days. After about a week of being stored in a very cold location, peas may begin to turn soft and brown. If not consumed within a week, prevent spoilage by freezing your peas.

Peppers

Peppers can be placed in a plastic bag and put into the crisper of your fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. They like to be cold but not as cold as most other vegetables, so place them near the front of the fridge. Alternatively, place them in a mesh bag or a plastic bag with holes to promote air flow and keep them in your crisper for 1 to 2 weeks.

Do you have a bundle of peppers that need to be eaten? Try this Stuffed Peppers recipe.

Why are crispers so important!? The crisper drawer in a refrigerator is designed to provide the perfect environment for vegetables to chill out (pun intended). They are sometimes referred to as the “produce drawer” or the “humidity drawer”. The specially designed drawer offers more humidity than the rest of your fridge. The humidity preservation enables the vegetables to wilt at a much slower pace than if they were in the main part of your fridge. The number 1 rule to a crisper drawer is to never mix your fruits and veggies together! Many fruits produce a type of gas that acts as a ripening agent that speeds up spoilage of other fruits and vegetables placed in close proximity. Keep them away from veg, in their own designated places. For more information about this visit; Why You Should Store Some Fruits and Vegetables Separately.

Root Vegetables

Do not place your root vegetables into the fridge until they have evenly ripened. Parsnip, rutabaga and turnip will ripen slowly without spoiling if kept in a dry, dark and cool location like your pantry, cupboard or cellar. Once ripened, they may be placed into the fridge.

Rhubarb

Wash the stalks, dry well and place into a reusable plastic bag. Tightly wrap and store in the crisper of your fridge to last for up to 3 weeks. For optimum freshness, loosely wrap in aluminum foil, place in the fridge and it can last up to 1 month!

FYI – Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but often considered a fruit. Huff Post has a great article about what exactly is rhubarb, anyway? And try my recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, my favourite way to enjoy this fruit – er, vegetable.

Scallions

Scallions, also known as spring onions or green onions, are best kept standing up straight with their roots submerged in water. Place them in a glass or jar with water covering their roots and a bit of their white base. Cover the green tops with a plastic bag and tie the bag tightly, or secure with an elastic band around the glass or jar to ensure no air flow. This will keep them fresh for up to 2 weeks.

Money Saving Tip: Once you have cut the green tops off of your scallions, you can keep the roots submerged in water on your windowsill and after a few days or weeks, you will see green shoots emerge from the bulbs. Voilà, free food!

Spinach

If the spinach leaves are loose, do not wash them. Wrap or layer them in dry paper towels or a dry reusable dish towel and place them into a reusable container into your crisper. They will keep fresh for 7 to 10 days. If you notice any leaves turning wet or slimy, discard those leaves before they spoil the rest.

Zucchini

If zucchini and summer squash are kept in the crisper in your fridge, they will definitely last up to 1 week. I’ve had zucchini last more than 2 weeks in the fridge by keeping them in The Swag bag.

How to store pantry vegetables

Some vegetables last longer unrefrigerated. These vegetables will do well in your pantry! Remember to let them breath with proper air circulation by taking them out of plastic bags. Keeping pantry vegetables in plastic will ripen them too quickly.

Don’t have a pantry?

It’s alright if you don’t have a pantry. As long as your vegetables are kept at a temperature between 50-70 Fahrenheit or 10-21 Celsius, that will work. If you have air conditioning in your home set between 20-25 Celsius, that will work too. A dry and dark lower cabinet in your kitchen, away from moisture and light, will usually work just as well as a pantry.

Squash

Butternut, acorn and winter squash should not be kept in the fridge, unless cut. Uncooked cut offs can be stored in the fridge. But a whole uncut squash should be kept in a cool and dry place, such as a pantry for 1 to 2 months. If you have cut your squash and have left over uncooked pieces, tightly wrap in plastic or place in a reusable container for up to 4 to 5 days in your fridge.

Click here to learn the most effective way to cut a squash.

Onions and Garlic

Choose heavy garlic without any blemishes or soft spots. When choosing your onions and garlic in the store, give them a pinch or squeeze. If they feel soft or mushy, avoid buying them. If they feel firm or hard, this is a good indicator that they are fresh and will last longer once you bring them home.

When kept at optimum conditions, onions and garlic will last 1-2 months. The most efficient way to store onions and garlic is hanging in a mesh bag. Alternatively, you can cut the legs off of stockings/pantyhose and hang your onions and garlic inside.

Make sure to tie a knot to separate them if you’re storing more than one. Garlic and onions like optimal air circulation. This method can keep garlic and onions fresh for 6 to 8 months! Once an onion is cut, it can be placed in a reusable container, tightly sealed and placed into the fridge for up to 1 week.

Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Yams

Allow air circulation by taking them out of plastic bags and placing them in fabric bags. Another trick is to place an apple with your potatoes. The apple will prolong the potatoes from sprouting. Keep potatoes away from onions, because they will cause them to sprout faster. Do not put potatoes in the fridge because cold temperatures may convert starch into sugar leading them to brown too fast and scorch when fried.

It is important to remember that even in ideal conditions, potatoes will always eventually sprout or turn green. When kept in a cool, dark and dry place, potatoes will last up to 2-3 months. Sweet potatoes and yams may last 2 weeks.

Potato Facts

Can I eat the eyes in potatoes? There are opinions on both yes and no. In short, we believe as long as the potato is still hard, you can cut off the eyes and the potato is still safe to eat.

Can I eat a green potatoes? When there is green skin or flesh on a potato, this means there is a toxic level of glycoalkaloids which is unsafe for humans to eat at high levels. If your potatoes are presenting green flesh, throw them out or compost them.

how to store vegetables

When in doubt, throw them out!

We hope you have found our tips and tricks for How to Keep Vegetables Fresh, helpful! Keep in mind, we never know how old vegetables are when we buy them from a store. Depending on when they were harvested, they may last a long time or spoil quickly regardless of how well you take care of them.

If you are unsure if a vegetable is safe to eat, you can usually tell by looking at it. Its colour may have changed, mould may have started, it has become soft or mushy to touch, or it may have a rancid smell. It is always a good reminder to be safe rather than sorry. When in doubt, throw it out (or compost it)!

So, now you know how to keep your veggies fresh for longer. We hope you found this information helpful. And, if you do try any of our tips and tricks please let us know in the comments below what you think! We love hearing from you. And of course, tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #twospoons.

Have some veg that needs to be used pronto? Try our Easy 3 Bean Salad, Vegan Caesar Salad, Vegan Pesto, Apple Slaw, or Charred Asparagus with Mango-Tomato Salsa.

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