Storing and Saving on Vegetables

I don't know how many times I've bought something at the grocery store, brought it home only to forget it in my fridge, veggies that were mushy, slimy and moldy.. money down the drain...again!
But with some research, planning, budgeting, I found a way to extend the shelf life on my veggies and save money.

Storing Vegetables

  • Keep potatoes, and onions in a cool, dry, dark place, but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin its flavor. Potatoes may last as long as 3 months, onions as long as 1 - 2 months. I place them in large grocery paper bags, then placed them in a dark closet.
  • Store salad greens wrap in paper towels, and in a sealed plastic storage bag, don't squeeze the air out of the bag. Salad greens should be good for 1 week or more.
  • To store parsley and cilantro, place in a large jar half-filled with water, and loosely cover with a resealable plastic bag. They will last up to 2 weeks or longer.

  • Most vegetables, like carrots,  broccoli, cabbage, and celery should be stored in a plastic bag or container in the crisper of your fridge. Crisper should be around 35°F.

  • Green onion storage is the same as cilantro. To keep green onions fresh, fill a tall glass or container with 2 inches of water and place the roots of the onions in it. Then, cover the jar with a plastic bag and hold the bag in place with an elastic band. Green onions last at least 2-3 weeks.

  • Bell pepper storage: Refrigerator: take a plastic grocery bag and poke a few holes in it. Do not tie or knot the bag closed. You will need airflow to keep the peppers fresh. Do not wash bell peppers before storing them. If you have rinsed your bell peppers, paper towel dry them before storing them, moisture can speed up rotting. Good for 1-2 weeks. Keep dry in the fridge.

  • Tomatoes: Underripe tomatoes can be left out on the counter for a few days to ripen. To keep your ripe tomatoes in peak condition,  you can actually store them in the fridge until a couple of days before you want to eat it, then keep them on the counter for a couple days so they can recover their flavor. If you are using ripe tomatoes in 1-2 days leave in a cool place in the kitchen away from heat. 

Can I freeze vegetables?

  • Yes, you can freeze most vegetables. Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture.
  • Chop, slice, dice the vegetables(not tomatoes) you want to freeze and bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil. Place the vegetable in a steamer basket, and place it in the boiling water for a few minutes. Each vegetable will take different times to blanch. Smaller vegetables like asparagus, green beans, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc. will take between 2 - 4 minutes. Whole potatoes and corn will take 4-8 minutes. 
  • Drain vegetables after blanching. Cool immediately in ice water or cold water (60 degrees F or below) for the same time used in blanching.
  • Drain vegetables. Pack vegetables tightly into freezer approved containers or freezer bags. Press out air and seal tightly.

  • Wash tomatoes, cut stem and core. Cut into quarters, place on a baking sheet single-layered with skin side down. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen, place in plastic freezer bags. Tomatoes once thawed will be good for sauces, soups, and stews only. 

Storing Chile Peppers 

 Refrigerator: The best place to store fresh peppers is in the refrigerator. Simply place the peppers into a plastic bag and keep them in your refrigerator crisper drawer. Optimal temperature is between 40-45°F.

Freezer: For freezing hot peppers, you can simply freeze the pepper whole. The process of freezing hot peppers is easy: Wash and thoroughly dry the peppers. Remove the stems. Place peppers in freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.  Seal and freeze for up to 1 year