Save your Veg

Oct 22, 2013 by

Food waste has been in the news a lot lately. Tesco say that over two thirds of their bagged salad is often thrown out. I’m not sure why, but bagged salad in general seems to go off really fast. In days gone by when I occasionally bought it, very often it was slimy by the time I had got it home. It’s not even nice so not sure why I ever bought it.

Over the years I have discovered a few secrets to storing vegetables.

Fruit is another story. It really doesn’t keep well especially in summer. But don’t ever put bananas in a fruit bowl with other fruit unless you want them to help ripen something. They emit ethylene gas which ripens fruit or over ripens it. A cool room is best for a fruit bowl even in winter.

Salad and Spinach
For both, if pick I my own or buy it in the farmers’ market, I’ve found the secret is to wash it immediately and then shake it well. Transfer to a clean plastic bag and store in the vegetable drawer in your fridge. It keeps really well this way for a least a week.

Tomatoes keep better at fridge temperature but taste a lot better stored at room temperature. I actually keep them on a sunny window sill. If they get soft just use them in a tomato sauce for pasta or pizza.


Pickled cucumber

Cucumbers need to be stored in a loose plastic bag (remove the clingy plastic) in the salad compartment for a few days but then tend to go mushy. The best way to preserve them (and they taste a lot better I think) is to pickle them.

Root Vegetables (carrots, turnip, swede, celeriac, etc)
For root vegetables remove from plastic and place in paper bags. Store in a cool, dark place in a cardboard box in a garage/shed if you have one. All root veg keep much much better if you buy them unwashed. I have kept carrots for weeks like this and the flavour is incredible. I also never buy them in summer when they are out of season.

As above. Never store in fridge or in plastic. Must be stored out of direct light.

Celery and Brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, romanesque)
They keeps best in a plastic bag in the vegetable compartment. In fact they tend to keep well for the longest of all, probably because they are used to the damp and the cold in our climate. They will also keep really well in a cool, dark garage if your fridge is full (especially in winter).

Onions and garlic need to be kept somewhere dry and dark preferably. Do not store in fridge. A cool cupboard or a cardboard box in your garage or shed is best. The exception to this are scallions which really have to be stored in fridge in loose plastic (not cling film).

Get a needle and thread and thread the chillies through the stalk. Hang them somewhere dry in your kitchen. I hang them under a shelf. This way if you don’t get to use them fast enough they will dry naturally.

Mediterranean Vegetables
As in peppers, courgette and aubergine, they need to be stored in the vegetable compartment in paper bags. If you leave them in plastic they go slimy.

Keep best in paper bags. Remove from plastic. Can be kept in the hard plastic tub they come in but with the cling film removed.

A good plan is to check your vegetables weekly, and for anything that is going a bit wrinkly, use in a soup. You can use even use lettuce and cucumber in soup.

Anything that is beyond redemption can be composted. And even if you don’t have a garden you can make compost for herb or flowering containers. 

See no need to waste. Do you agree or disagree?


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  1. And the best thing is they keep forever. I still have some I dried years ago. Very handy. Store in jars once dried.

  2. Some great tips, thanks. Have quite a few chillies in my garden and had meant to google how to dry them, now I know 🙂

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