Waste not want not: A guide to storing, ripening, freezing and more
Thanks to the team over Growing communities in north London for sharing this veggie storing guide with us veg lovers over on the other side of the river! Having got your bags home, here are a few extra things you can do to keep your produce at its best:
Where best to store your veg
Plastic bags are the best way to keep in moisture. Some of our greens come in plastic bags, so hold on to these and reuse them for other veg that prefer to be cold and moist.
If leafy greens go limp, spray with water or soak in a basin of cold water, then shake off excess water, put in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Or stand them with their stalks in a glass of water. They’ll perk right up within hours. This also works for asparagus, celery, broccoli, rhubarb and herbs.
Shipping fruit before it’s ripe makes it easier to transport and less liable to spoil or bruise. So you may need to ripen bananas, plums, peaches and other fruit by leaving them out on the counter top or on a sunny windowsill.
To speed up ripening: put the fruit in a closed paper bag at room temperature, ideally with a ripe banana, apple or pear. The ripe fruit produces ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process.
To slow down ripening: keep your fruit separate from other ripe fruit and store it in the fridge.
Some veg can be frozen raw; others need to be blanched briefly before freezing. Wash veg thoroughly first and remember to label and date your items.
Blanching: submerge veg in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes then plunge immediately into icy cold water. Pat dry and store in plastic bags, Tupperware or glass jars. Store in portion sizes so you can easily defrost the amount you need.
Unblanched freezing this is the fastest, easiest method. Some unblanched, frozen vegetables can be stored for up to two months and maintain good colour, flavour and texture.
Freezing herbs: good for cooking but not suitable for salads as they go limp when thawed. Woody herbs: strip the leaves or keep sprigs whole. Pack in bags or jars. Softer leaves: chop and freeze in ice cube trays with a little water. Once frozen, you can take them out of the tray, store in a bag, and use a portion when needed for cooking.