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Fresh Produce Storage Tips for Peppers, Lettuce, Tomatoes, and More

| 10/6/2016 9:23:00 AM

Fresh produce is one of the cornerstones of healthy diet, and each season brings its own cornucopia of fruit and vegetables into supermarket aisles, farmers’ markets and, of course, backyard gardens. But how do you make the best of your garden harvest (or even supermarket harvest) to extend its shelf life?

There are many methods of food preservation such as canning, drying and pickling, but in this post I’m going to talk specifically about fresh produce – that is, vegetables stored for a limited time period in their natural state.


Fresh peppers. It's wise to plant as much as you can reasonably use. 

Don’t buy (or plant) more than you can reasonably use. When buying fresh produce, make a realistic estimate of how much of it you can use or preserve in a reasonable amount of time. My husband finds eggplants irresistible, so I’ll often find myself with ten eggplants taking up an entire refrigerator shelf, and thus I’m trying to think of new and creative ways to use up these big glossy vegetables before they aren’t so glossy anymore. When vegetables turn into something resembling a Petri dish before you have had time to use them, it probably means shopping (or planting) habits need to be re-examined.

Food Storage Tips for Top Vegetables

Tomatoes. Tomatoes don't react well to cold. They should be stored at room temperature until completely ripe and afterwards up to one week in the refrigerator. Remove stems before placing tomatoes in refrigeration. To prolong the tomato's shelf life, store in plastic bag with large holes for good air circulation, and put a paper towel (or small kitchen towel) next to the tomatoes to absorb excess moisture. Personally, I prefer a plastic box lined with a towel, for compact storage.

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