Storing Your Harvest: Tips and Tricks for Summer Vegetable Storage
Can you believe it is already midsummer? One of the “silver linings” of Covid-19 is that more and more people have been returning to gardening and growing their own food. Maybe you have planted, nurtured your seedlings, inevitably pulled weeds, and are ready to start enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. Even if you don’t have a garden, perhaps you’re getting produce through a CSA or your local Farmer’s Market. Either way, we can agree, local, fresh and seasonal vegetables can’t be beat. But do you know how to store them when you get home?
We did a little perusing and research on various websites and looked at the best ways to store tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and summer squash/zucchini. Here’s what we found out:
If you must buy or pick tomatoes unripe, store in a brown paper sack until ripe. Once ripe, keep on the counter (or in a cool/room temperature area) away from sunlight. Don’t refrigerate though; that will make them mealy inside. And who wants a mealy tomato in cucumber and tomato salad?
Cucumbers are another countertop vegetable. These summer favorites like to be stored on the counter out of sunlight, or in a cool place. But not too cool; they become sensitive to temperature at around 50 degrees.
Do you have a lot of bell, jalapeño or banana peppers? Peppers are best stored in the refrigerator unwashed, in a plastic bag. The thing that will make them go bad quickly is humidity, so adding a paper towel might do the trick.
This is a vegetable you will want to store in the refrigerator. The consensus was to wash and store in a plastic or paper sack with one end open to breathe. These favorites will stay good up to two weeks but may start shriveling on the ends after 3-4 days, so keep an eye on them.
No matter the storage options, enjoy the bounty of summer and savor those fresh flavors!