Store vegetables properly & help keep them fresh

Store vegetables properly & help keep them fresh

  • 22 April 2020
It’s so frustrating having to throw away your veggies because they’ve gone off before you’ve eaten them. Most vegetables do not stay fresh for long - they start wilting, spotting, discolouring, sprouting and even moulding before you’ve had a chance to cook them.

Different types of vegetables need to be stored in different ways. Some vegetables need to be stored in the fridge, some in the pantry, and some on the kitchen counter. You also need to consider what packaging they’re stored in - often the packaging you buy them in from the shops makes them go off quicker! Even storing certain vegetables together can affect how long they last.

By learning how to correctly store your veggies, you will help keep them fresher for longer and cut down on your food waste.

Store them away from fruits


Many fruits release a gas called ethylene, which speeds up the ripening process of any nearby stored fruit and vegetables. We can use this to our advantage, for example by storing an apple or banana with an avocado we want to ripen. However, we usually don’t want the same with veggies - storing them with fruit will just make them go off quicker.

Potatoes


Potatoes and sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place, like the pantry or a potato drawer. They should not be exposed to sunlight - they may begin to sprout quicker because they think they’re outside in the sun! They can be stored in any packaging that provides good ventilation, like a paper bag or mesh bag.

One mistake a lot of people make is storing potatoes and onions right next to each other. Onions release moisture and gases which make potatoes sprout quicker.

Onions


Onions should also be stored in a cool, dark place with good ventilation, just keep them separate from those potatoes. Storing onions in the fridge will damage their texture and they can become mushy. Garlic is in the same family as onions and should, therefore, be stored in the same way.

Tomatoes


Although we usually think of tomatoes as a vegetable, they are technically a fruit! They should be stored room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for example in a bowl on the counter. You shouldn’t keep tomatoes in the fridge, because their texture may become grainy and they will have less flavour.

Mushrooms


Mushrooms have a high moisture content and some of it evaporates during storage. If they are in a plastic bag the moisture is trapped and they will become slimy. Rather store mushrooms in a paper bag or mesh bag.

Lettuce and other leafy greens


Salad leaves, spinach, kale and other leafy vegetables are often sold in plastic bags, but stored like this can make them go off very quickly. Keep them crisp and fresh for longer by washing them and removing damaged leaves, dry with a salad spinner, paper town or dish towel, and then store in the fridge where air can circulate - like in a colander or wrapped in a tea towel. You can also store them with some paper towel, which will absorb moisture.

Fresh herbs


Herbs are often bought in big bunches, and if stored in the fridge they will become limp, wilted, discoloured, and slimy. To keep them fresher for longer, store them upright in a jar or cup with some water in it.

Broccoli


Broccoli should be stored at a cool temperature, in the fridge. Wrap it in a damp paper towel so that air can circulate and help keep it fresh.

Carrots


If you buy them with the green, leafy top still attached - cut it off. This will help keep them crisp and delay wilting. Carrots can be stored in a shallow container of water in the fridge to help keep them crunchy for longer, or in a plastic bag if that isn’t practical - but make sure the bag has a few holes in it to assist with air circulation