Right now at this time of the year (early May)… it’s incredibly challenging to find room for all the produce you might have each week. Especially if your diet and meals revolve around produce (like ours does).
Instead of making our meals revolve around meat, we cut back HUGE on meat, and now base our meals on what produce we score in our CSA bag each week. It’s FUN – because it’s challenging, to make it all stretch, without allowing ourselves to go to the store for other items.
So this is it. 🙂
As the summer creeps closer, it’s going to get even MORE difficult to find space in your fridge – chances are you have a garden, and so your summer produce is abundant. You might also be picking up produce at your weekly CSA share.
Our most difficult day is Thursday because that’s the day we bring back produce from the farmers market (CSA) and although it’s real exciting to have NEW produce for a week, it’s stressful for me because I can’t always fit it in the fridge drawers.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though – right? Just a challenge. Abundance is GREAT.
So here are some tips for storing that produce in creative, waste-free ways – that go beyond the refrigerator… thanks to Berkeley Farmers Market & My Plastic Free Life. Our goal? To prevent as much waste as possible, and still keep those veggies and fruits fresh.
You’ll notice that our CSA put our Cherry Tomatoes in bags (above) — they keep better. Our strawberries won’t even last a day, and the grapes MIGHT last through Saturday but that’s a huge “MIGHT” 🙂
Apples: Keep on a cool counter for up to 2 weeks. If longer, store in a cardboard box in your refrigerator.
Apricots: Keep on a cool counter at room temperature. If they are fully ripe, keep in the fridge.
Asparagus: Can keep up to a week outside the fridge at room temperature. But if you do store on the counter, place them in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temp.A
Avocados: Place in a paper bag, at room temp. To hasten ripening, place in the refrigerator.
Cherries: Store in an airtight container – ONLY wash them before you are ready to eat them (otherwise they can get moldy quickly).
Basil: Use an airtight container with a damp piece of paper inside, left on a cool counter. It does not like to be cold or wet.
Beets: Cut off their tops (keeps them firm), keep the greens, too. Wash, and put in a container with a wet rag on top.
Berries: Keep in a paper bag preferably, don’t stack in the fridge (so keep in a single layer) and only wash them just before eating.
Broccoli: Place in an open container in the fridge, or wrap in a damp towel and keep refrigerated.
Cabbage: If storing on the counter, then make sure your temperature is cool. Otherwise, keep in the crisper drawer and remove the outer leaves if they should start to wilt. Use quickly versus waiting.
Carrots: Cut the tops off, and keep in a closed container with moisture (wrap in a towel or dunk them in water every other day).
Cauliflower: Try to use quicker versus later; but if you do opt to store it, it’s best in a closed container.
Celery: Keep refrigerated and wrap in a damp towel. If it wilts, then cut the end off and stick uprigth in a jar of water to rehydrate.
Cucumber: Wrap in a moist towel, keep in the refrigerator.
Garlic: Always store in a dry, dark place.
Green Beans: Do not like to be wet! put them in a closed container with a little damp paper towel over the top for humidity (which they love).
Melons: Do not cut, and keep in a cool place for several weeks. Once cut, store in the fridge in an open container.
Nectarines: Once ripe, store in the fridge. Since they need to be soft to eat them, remove from the fridge a few hours before eating.
Onions: Store in a cool, dry place that is without light.
Peaches: Leave at room temp until fully ripe; then once fully ripe, refrigerate.
Potatoes: Try to store in a paper bag or, in a cool, dark, dry place.
Radish: Take off the greens, and put in an open container with a wet paper towel draped on top.
Rhubarb: Wrap in a damp towel and keep refrigerated in an open container.
Snap Peas: Keep refrigerated in an open container.
Spinach: LOVES to be COLD. Store loose, in the fridge, in an open container.
Squash: Keep on a cool counter for a few days.
Strawberries: Avoid getting them wet; try to store in a paper bag in the fridge, for up to 7 days. But each day you will want to check the bag for moisture.
Sweet Potatoes: Do not refrigerate; instead, keep in a cool, dark, dry area.
Tomatoes: Avoid refrigerating. They can sit on a countertop at room temperature. Place in a paper bag to avoid them from becoming too ripe too quickly.
Zucchini: Leave on a cool counter, but if you choose to cut & refrigerate you will need to wrap in a damp cloth.
Are you Part of a CSA?
Here in Phoenix we are fortunate to have several CSA’s — I’m in the East Valley so the two that pop up first in mind are Taste of Paradise and Desert Roots Farm.
Taste of Paradise – a local Phoenix CSA with locations all around the East Valley to include Scottsdale. You can order one time or as a regular repeat customer – and choose between full or half share. You will receive a weekly bag of produce that will contain 8 pre-selected varieties of locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables. The produce will vary each week and throughout the seasons, and will come in multiple pounds and quantities.
Desert Roots Farm – another local Phoenix CSA with pick up or delivery available; they have 15+ Valley wide pick up locations and you can opt from a full or half share.
The two noted above are just a few of the CSA’s available in Phoenix – we have many more here locally. You can see a larger list CSA’s for Phoenix HERE.