Place strawberries in a brown paper bag and store on a lower shelf in the fridge (where it’s not as cold as the top shelves). Since water speeds spoilage, don’t wash berries until you’re ready to eat them. Tomatillos and husk cherries can be stored this way, too.
When you get your flowers home, give the stems a fresh cut and put them in a vase of cool water as soon as possible. To keep the water fresh and clear, remove leaves that fall below the water line and change the water every other day. To help the stems draw up water, you can add 1/8 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar to your vase.
Greens and Herbs
Greens like kale, lettuce, and chard should be patted dry and placed in plastic bags in the crisper drawer. Herbs can be stored this way as well. If you have the space in your fridge, herbs will stay fresh longer when treated like flowers; simply put stem or root ends in a glass of water and store them on a shelf away from the cold air vent in the fridge.
Cukes, zukes, peppers, new potatoes, and eggplant can be stored for a few days outside of the fridge. These fruits and veggies are sensitive to chilling and prefer temperatures of 45-50 degrees, they’re ok in the fridge for about a week. Wipe off excess moisture or dirt and place them in clean plastic bags (don’t fully close them).
Roots vegetables such as carrots, beets, parsnip, and turnips prefer cool temperatures and high humidity; store in partially opened plastic bags in the fridge for several weeks. Potatoes are more tolerant of drier and warmer conditions, and could be stored in the fridge or a paper bag in a dark place.
Sweet potatoes do not want to be stored in the fridge. Keep them at room temperature.
Tomatoes & Cantaloupe
These are best stored on the countertop or in an open-weave basket instead of in the fridge. Refrigerating tomatoes degrades their cellular structure, which affects both texture and taste. Cantaloupe shouldn’t be chilled until it’s fully ripened, and then only when necessary to prevent spoilage.
Winter squash & onions – These prefer dry condition and should be stored unwrapped in a cooler, dry place with good ventilation. If your onions sprout, start keeping them in the fridge, as this will slow things down.
Canning, freezing, and drying are excellent ways to enjoy local, organic produce long into the winter months. If you’re not sure how to go about doing it, ask an elder or friend to show you. There are also many classes and workshops offered through area farms and co-ops, and other resources can be found online. Here are a few we recommend: