Friday, April 18, 2008

Storing vegetables (and some fruits) properly

With a new appliance, I'm fired up to learn to use it properly. So I did a little bit of research about how to store veggies in the vegetable drawer properly ... and found out, to my astonishment, that I've been making some big mistakes all these years! For example, I've always unthinkingly thrown tomatoes into the vegetable drawer ... but apparently, tomatoes ideally aren't supposed to be refrigerated (unless you really intend to keep them longer), because refrigeration changes the taste.

Unfortunately, all the websites I've found regarding vegetable storage were made in the West; I haven't found a website that talks specifically about fruits available in Southeast Asia, or that takes Southeast Asian tropical weather into consideration, but I compiled whatever I found helpful and here's my list. (I changed the name of the veggies to their Tagalog equivalents when appropriate.)

  • Carrots - Remove greens, put in a Ziplock bag, keep in vegetable drawer. Lasts 2 to 4 weeks.

  • Lettuce - I got different advice for lettuce. Two websites said to make the lettuce a little damp (either by wrapping the lettuce in a damp paper towel or sprinkling a teeny bit of water on the leaves), put it in a Ziplock bag, and place it in the vegetable drawer. Another said that the lettuce should be as dry as possible before putting it in the Ziplock bag. Some said the bag should have breathing holes; others said the bag should be completely sealed. Lasts a week to a week and a half.

  • Cabbage - Wrap in Clingwrap, keep in vegetable drawer. Lasts 2 weeks.

  • Sayote - Keep in vegetable drawer. Lasts 1 to 2 weeks.

  • Chili peppers - Put in a Ziplock bag to prevent aroma from spreading to other vegetables, keep in vegetable drawer. Lasts a week.

  • Spring onions - Don't wash. Put in open plastic bag, keep in vegetable drawer. Lasts a week.

  • Ginger root - Wrap in paper bag or newspaper. Store in vegetable drawer.

  • Sitaw - Place in open plastic bag. Store in vegetable drawer.

  • Cauliflower and broccoli - Wrap the head in plastic wrapper. Store near the back of the refrigerator (where it's colder). Lasts a week.

  • Calamansi and lemons - Don't wrap. Store near the front of the refrigerator. Before using, allow to warm to room temperature. Lasts 1.5 to 3 weeks.

  • Squash (opened) - When opened, shop into pieces, wrap each piece well in Clingwrap and keep in the vegetable drawer. Lasts 5 days when opened and stored in the refrigerator.

  • Tomatoes (ripe) - Wrap loosely in paper bag or newspaper. Store on refrigerator shelf. Lasts from 2 days to a week.

  • Kangkong - Put in open plastic bag, keep on refrigerator shelf. Lasts 3 days.

  • Eggplant - Store unwrapped on refrigerator shelf. Lasts 7 to 10 days.

  • Grapes - Don't wash until you're about to eat it. Put in Ziplock bag. Store on refrigerator shelf, near the back. Lasts 2 - 3 weeks.

  • All fruits - As a general rule, don't keep fruits in the same drawer as vegetables. Many fruits need good air circulation and if they need to be refrigerated those fruits are better kept on the refrigerator shelf.

  • Squash (unopened) - When unopened, store outside of the refrigerator in a cool dry place. Lasts a month when unopened.

  • Tomatoes (not yet ripe) - Wrap loosely in paper bag or newspaper. Store in a cool dry place. Lasts from 2 days to a week.

  • The obvious ones: onions, garlic, potatoes.

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Md Shohidul Islam Robin said...

Do you prefer storing fruits and veggies in specialized fridge like Fruits and Vegetable Display Refrigerator ?

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