Storing Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables store better at cool temperatures. This prevents fruits from over-ripening since this is essentially what they do when kept in warm kitchens.  Fruits and berries are fragile and over-ripening is a step closer to their decaying process.

Vegetables are longer lasting and will keep in refrigerators for longer periods if kept dry and in the crisper pans instead of stored at room temperature. Colder weather vegetables such as cabbages, Brussels sprouts, turnips,  beets, parsnips are better keepers than the more fragile lettuces and leafy greens.

* Keep at desired room temperature

Ideally an underground cellar works best for storing potatoes, cabbages, apples, onions, sweet potatoes and other produce. Other ideal places are dry unheated basements, out of the way bedrooms or cool attics in the winter. These do not do well in too cold refrigerators.
Garlic keeps well if left in a cool place. It does not need refrigerating. It mimics onions in their keeping ability. Their outside sheaving – coverings – and their particular structure gives them this advantage.

* Preserving foods by drying

Beans, all types of beans, green beans, brown beans, kidney beans, can be successfully dried and kept to be cooked during long winter months. Herbs such as parsley, sage, thyme, basil, chives and others do well when dried.

Fruits such as peaches, apples, pears, cranberries, blueberries and all other berries dry well, although much flavor is lost in berries that are dried. It is possible to dry winter squash once they are cut and peeled, but it is needless to do so, since in their hard shell, they are the best keeper of all. Store them in closets, garages, unheated and unused bedrooms.

Tomatoes can be sun dried and this gives them a peculiar taste that make them an excellent choice for winter time cooking. This is an alternative to canning or freezing tomatoes when the summer season has been just right for growing these fruits that masquerade as vegetables. They do best with plenty of sunshine, and the right amount of water, but not too much which makes they watery and less meaty, and tasteless.

* Preservation of food by freezing

Freezing food is usually only for about three months storage, longer than that then they lose flavor, and when freezer burned the cooked and reconstituted vegetable or fruit – or meat – begins to taste somewhat like the refrigerator smells when it needs cleaning.

* Canning is a long standing favorite of storing food. If done properly it can last for a couple of years. A season when the crops fail, is no problem for those with well stocked cellars and pantries with home canned foods. Beans, corn, tomatoes, spinach, kale, and most other vegetables and fruits can be canned quite successfully.

* Salt  curing of vegetables is possible, but for health reasons this is not used today as much as it once was. Cabbages do well when left to ferment with salt as do some other vegetables. Kraut is still a popular item of food, but should be used sparingly.

*Best of all storage method when purchasing fruits and vegetables is to grocery shop at least once a week and buy only enough for that week’s food supply. The purchased food then can be consumed when nearly fresh. During the summer growing season, buying from local sellers rather than chain groceries ensure the freshest produce and that which is most likely to last days longer.  Most large food markets buy from local growers and these are always the best options.