Tips & Tricks For Storing, Ripening, and Preparing Your Organics
First things first, remember that organic produce needs to be stored and prepared properly so you get the most bang for your buck. We've put together a few easy tips to ensure your produce lasts as long as possible. We also have a 100% Happiness Guarantee on everything we deliver, so if something is not up to your standards, simply email us for a credit towards your next delivery. No questions asked - even if you decided to eat it anyway! Now let’s get into the basics for storing, ripening and preparing your organic produce.
Certain stone fruits will continue to ripen if you leave them out ~ like apples, avocados, mangoes, melons, pears and tomatoes. Others, however, should definitely be refrigerated ~ such as berries, citrus fruits, and grapes ~ because they will deteriorate if left sitting on counter tops. For ideal ripening of tropical fruits, place your kiwis, pineapples, persimmons and pomegranates in vented paper or plastic bags at room temperature until they’re soft. Bags trap the ethylene gas released by produce and speed up the ripening process. Bananas, for example, are "ethylene producers" and can spoil the other fruit around it very quickly. So if you're going to store some items on your counter, keep that fruit away from your bananas. With cucumbers, wrap them in plastic bags and refrigerate them. This reduces the moisture content and slows down the decaying process.
First, always take off rubber bands or ties and trim any leafy ends, but leave at least an inch so your vegetables won’t become dry when you store them (ex: artichokes, broccoli, celery, turnips, etc). Be sure your veggies are placed inside bags that have holes, so there’ll be good airflow. With leafy salad greens (kale, lettuce, spinach, etc.), immediately soak them in water before storing them; but with mushrooms, only wash them right before you use them. Root vegetables like beets, potatoes and radishes should be carefully washed, followed by allowing all excess water to evaporate before storing. Root veggies with tops should have the tops removed right away (about ½ inch from the crown). Otherwise, in the case of carrots, the tops will make them limpy if left on too long. And yes, “limpy” is a totally scientific term. ;-) The aforementioned methods include other common vegetables like asparagus, green beans, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, corn and onions, as well as yummy squash, eggplant, okra, peas and rhubarb too!
Treat fresh herbs (like basil and dill) similar to a bouquet of flowers; trim the ends and place the stems in a glass jar with an inch of water. Keep at room temperature because fresh herbs can be damaged from the cold. Cilantro, however, thrives in cool temperatures and should be stored in the frig. Parsley can go either way, so feel free to store at room temperature or in the refrigerator. When it comes to soft herbs, they should not be washed until right before they are used. Finally, garlic should be placed in a location with good air circulation. The bulbs of the garlic can be kept in a small container, so long as there is ventilation. Never store garlic in sealed containers or plastic bags because this can cause mold and sprouting.
Also, here’s some fun and easy bonus tricks to remember:
Fast Ripening Trick: You can always ripen something faster by putting it in a lightly closed brown paper bag with something else that's already ripe - like a banana!
Slow Ripening Trick: You can slow down the ripening process by putting the item in the fridge. This is great if you're not quite ready to use something. To keep your produce fresher for longer, we also recommend using Green Bags.
Produce Bath Recipe: Give a ‘bath’ to your berries before you pop 'em in the fridge. Use 1 parts vinegar and 10 parts water, and soak your berries for a couple minutes. Dry them off and then put them back in the container they came in and into the fridge.
Lettuce Revival: If your lettuce is wilted, an ice bath will bring it back to life. Get a bowl of ice water and put your lettuce in there for a few minutes. It'll come out fresh and ready to make you a really great salad. Trust us, this one is a miracle worker!
In general . . . store your fruits, vegetables and herbs loosely rather than stacked together. That’s what the separate drawers and temperature ranges are for in your refrigerator - to help keep produce properly stored and prevent rotting. Follow these simple tips & tricks, and your organic goodies will stay fresh and ripe for as long as possible!