Storing food in the refrigerator

Food-storage tips

I have used this method for YEARS and my veggies will last quite some time before going bad. Before I start, I wanted to share this worthy article: Complete Guide to Storing Food in the Fridge

First — to explain why I do what I do:

Veggies need a humid environment to stay ‘alive.’ But, your refrigerator is pretty much a huge dehydrator. It is built to pull out whatever moisture that is inside the fridge. Veggies have quite a bit of moisture and will be releasing it as it sits. Grocery stores combat the veggies from drying out by spraying water.

How to store green leafy vegetables

(parsley, chard, kale, etc)

    1. if you have a ‘bunch’ from the store — then — remove the tie! …or rubber band. Let those sprigs be free. Any tight areas will start to ‘sweat’ and then wilt and decay, which will dispatch those decaying odors to the rest of the bunch. And the party is soon over. So, instead, open it up and fluff the stems and leaves.
    2. Remove the clumps of dirt, weeds, bugs and the already-wilted parts. Fluff again, they need airflow.
    3. Do not wash it. Pat dry any wet leaves/stems.
    4. Wrap very loosely with a very lightly damp towel (or paper towel), with just a sprinkle of water.
    5. Slide it into a plastic bag.
    6. Blow air into the plastic bag to fill it up like a balloon.
    7. Tie a knot and store in the fridge or on the counter:
      • Basil likes warm weather = Store on the counter, see image, below.
      • Parsley and cilantro like cool weather = Store in the fridge, see 2 images, below.

3 types of storage

  1. The Refrigerator drawers: Put the veggies in the dedicated fridge drawers  –be sure to set the sliders for FRUITS or VEGGIES. I always go for the strongest setting.
  2. In a plastic bag: put the food inside a plastic bag —in the fridge, or on the counter. (I will explain this, below). You will need a type of bag that will hold air like a balloon. A gallon zip lock baggie might be too small. The plastic produce bags at the grocery store are ideal size and material.
  3. In a jar:  fill a jar with 1 inch of tap water, and cover it with a plastic bag —in the fridge or on the counter. Explained below.
    (NOTE: I’m trying to eliminate my plastic consumption, so please send a note if you have a better storage solution.)

How to store root vegetables, and stalks, heads

(celery, leek, broccoli, cabbage, etc)

    1. If the vegetable is “shrink wrapped” nicely, then leave it on. (bagged cauliflower, cabbage, etc)
    2. If not wrapped, then remove any twist ties or rubber bands.
    3. If the root is still attached to the stalk, then remove it and store it separately. (beets, fennel, etc) Store in the same bag is okay, but separate the two items with a towel. Anything touching will start to sweat, then wilt, then decay.
    4. Brush off any dirt or mud.
    5. Do not wash it. Pat dry any wet areas.
    6. Wrap very loosely with a DRY towel (or DRY paper towel). This acts as a desiccant and will absorb the moisture coming from the veggies. I also imagine then that the towel will dry out at the same time as absorbing the moisture —which the veggies will then absorb. Cool! My hypothesis.  
    7. Slide it into a plastic bag.
    8. Blow air into the plastic bag to fill it up like a balloon.
    9. Tie a knot and store it in the fridge.

Sealing the bag with a tight knot will create a terrarium-like environment. 

10. Don’t forget this step: every day –open the bag. Blow some fresh (your-special) air into it.

These are your babies, and they need to be fed…

…even if you will not be using the veggie that day. Take a few seconds to look around for aging spots. Those are caused by too much moisture or too dry of an environment or the loss of your breath was too fast (i.e. a leaky bag).