Storage Tips

Apples: Store in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator or on a shelf in an unsealed plastic bag.

Avocados: Firm avocados will ripen at room temperature, or will ripen faster if placed in a paper bag. Ripe avocados should be refrigerated until they are eaten, but no longer than five days.

Bananas: Leave unripe bananas at room temperature until ready to use. Ripe bananas can be refrigerated for three to five days. Overripe bananas can be thrown into the freezer, as is, to be saved for making banana bread or smoothies (just immerse in a tub of warm water to thaw).

Berries: Store berries in the fridge and wash just before using. Unripe strawberries may need to be kept out of the fridge for a few days to develop a little more colour.

Broccoli and Cauliflower: Refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag. Keeps up to ten days.

Carrots: Store in plastic bags in the refrigerator for two to four weeks. Bunch carrots should have their tops trimmed off before storage to reduce nutrient loss and to avoid extra moisture forming in bag. Bagged mini carrots will keep for several weeks, but will eventually shrivel and become limp.

Cabbage: Store in plastic in vegetable crisper. Use up cut pieces of cabbage quickly as a head will begin losing vitamin C as soon as it is cut or torn.

Celery: When refrigerated in a plastic bag, celery will keep for up to two weeks.

Citrus Fruit: A little green on oranges does not mean they are unripe. To maintain at peak freshness, store citrus, uncovered for ten to fourteen days at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator in the crisper or in unsealed plastic bags. Lemons can be stored for one to three months and limes for about two months. If sliced, cover and use up citrus fruit as soon as possible.

Corn (on the cob): Corn should be stored unwashed in the husk or refrigerated unhusked and wrapped in plastic if the corn is not to be cooked immediately.

Cucumber: Store wrapped in plastic in fridge for up to a week. The sooner they are used after purchase the better.

Eggplant: Keep eggplants wrapped in plastic in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator vegetable crisper for no more than two days.

Garlic: Store garlic heads in a breathable ceramic container or paper bag for up to two months in a cool, dry place. Don't store in the fridge.

Ginger: Fresh ginger may be stored cut or uncut by wrapping it in paper towels and enclosing it in a plastic bag. Place in the refrigerator vegetable drawer for up to three weeks, or as long as it remains as firm to the touch as when it was purchased.

Grapes: Store grapes unwashed in the refrigerator. You can either leave them uncovered or in plastic. Since grapes ripen on the vine, the flavour does not improve after they are picked, so use within five to seven days.

Green Beans: Store unwashed green beans wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator. During their prime growing season you can store them for up to one week. For the best flavour and texture, however, try to prepare the beans as soon as possible.

Green Onions: When stored in a refrigerator in a tightly sealed plastic bag, green onions will keep for three or four days.

Herbs (Fresh): Leafy herbs such as basil, parsley and cilantro should have their roots wrapped with a damp paper towel and then be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge. Use within a few days. For longer storage, blend with oil and freeze.

Kiwi: Store at room temperature, uncovered and out of the sun. They are ripe when they yield to gentle pressure. Kiwis may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Leeks: Trim off roots, brush of any sand and wrap tightly in plastic. Keep
in a dry place in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Lettuce: Place unwashed lettuce in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Iceberg lettuce keeps longer than other varieties, sometimes up to three weeks. (However, Iceberg lettuce has inferior nutrient content, compared to other lettuces.) Do not store lettuce with melons, apples, pears, or other ethylene gas-emitting fruits as they will cause the lettuce to turn brown.

Mangos: Refrigerate ripe mangos in a plastic bag for no more than three days.

Melons: Once cut, melons should be placed in the refrigerator in a tightly closed plastic bag. Likewise a whole, ripe melon should be covered in the refrigerator.

Mushrooms: There are a number of ways to store mushrooms. Keep in the fridge, loosely covered in a paper or cloth bag, or a breathable ceramic container, so air can circulate. Do not store in plastic bags. Do not clean mushrooms before storing. They will keep for about two days.

Onions: Onions can be stored in the refrigerator for short periods. Store sliced onions in a tightly covered container. Sweet onions will store well for up to a month, while pungent onions last from two to three months.

Papaya: Ripe papaya can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.

Pears: Refrigerate ripe, unwashed pears in a plastic or paper bag for up to three days.

Squash (Hard): Hard Squashes, such as pumpkin, banana and butternut squash can be kept in an airy, dry, cool area for many months. In warmer areas they keep for a shorter time. Once cut, wrap squash in plastic and refrigerate. Cooked, pureed squash freezes for six months.

Peppers: Refrigerate unwashed peppers in a plastic bag for five to seven days.

Pineapple: Contrary to popular belief, the ease with which the leaves pull out is not a sign of ripeness. A sweet perfume-like smell is a good sign of ripeness however. Store pineapples at room temperature for up to two days. After that, peel and core pineapple, cut into pieces and store in air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Potatoes: Keep in a cool, dark place. Light will blush the spuds green and extended refrigeration will change the flavour.

Snow Peas: Refrigerate pods unwashed in a plastic bag for up to three day.

Spinach: Refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag for three to five days.

Spring Mix (Mixed Greens) & Delicate Greens: Remove any shrivelled, slimy or yellowish pieces from Spring Mix before storing in plastic in the refrigerator. To minimize handling and excess moisture, it is better to wash these mixed greens right before using. Delicate Greens such as Arugula, Mizuna, Dandelion Greens, etc., will only last a few days and are best used fresh. If you must store, wrap roots in a moist paper towel and store in an unsealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Sprouts: It is recommended that all sprouts be rinsed and drained well before being eaten. Sprouts should never be kept for any length of time in an air-tight container or they will go mouldy very quickly. If your sprouts come in a breathable plastic container, just rinse it out and re-use it. If they are bulk sprouts, try placing a paper towel (preferably unbleached) in the bottom of a plastic container, pour in the sprouts and cover loosely with plastic wrap or better yet, a clean cloth. Bean sprouts can be kept in an uncovered jar of water in the fridge, but change the water every day.

Stone Fruit: (Peaches, Apricots, Plums, etc.): To ripen, place fruit in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature for several days. After ripening, refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to a week.

Tomatoes: Ripen tomatoes at room temperature. To quickly ripen, place in a paper bag with an apple. It is best not to refrigerate tomatoes as it decreases their flavour. It may be necessary, however, if they are over-ripe, or during winter months when tomatoes are more highly perishable.

Zucchini: Keep zucchini in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator for no more than three to four days.

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