What is the best way to store the vegetables?

Different sources provide a variety of suggestions and storing techniques. We have enjoyed the comprehensive “Food Storage Tips” guide devised by Full Circle Farm in Carnation, Washington (www.fullcirclefarm.com/storage). We have included selections from that guide here for the produce that we are providing in our CSA program, except for entries marked with an asterisk*.

Arugula: Best used fresh, but you can keep arugula for a few days in the refrigerator. Wash arugula, let it dry (use a colander or spinner). Place in a plastic bag and into the crisper drawer in the fridge. Sometimes a paper towel in the bag helps to keep excess moisture to a minimum as well.

Beets: To store beets, trim the leaves 2 inches from the root as soon as you get them home. The leaves will sap the moisture from the beet root. Do not trim the tail. Store the leaves in a separate plastic bag and use within two days. The root bulbs should also be bagged and can be stored in the refrigerator crisper drawer 7 to 10 days.

Broccoli: Broccoli can be stored in the high-humidity vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for up to three days.

Cabbage: Cabbage stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's humid vegetable bin will last at least a week.

Carrots: Before storing them remove their green tops, rinse, drain, and put the carrots in plastic bags and store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator with the highest humidity. They'll last several months this way. To keep the carrots crisp and colorful add a little bit of water in the bottom of the plastic storage bag; this will keep the carrots hydrated. Carrots should be stored away from fruits such as apples and pears, which release the ethylene gas that cause carrots to become bitter.

*Cauliflower: Store in perforated plastic bags in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Cucumber: Should be stored in a plastic bag and placed in the refrigerator at a temperature between 45°F and 50°F for up to a week. Be sure not to wash cucumbers until you're ready to use them.

*Eggplant: Store in warmer part of the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Garlic: Stored under optimum conditions in a dark, cool, dry place with plenty of ventilation, garlic will last from several weeks to one year. Try to use fresh garlic within a few weeks and do not refrigerate unless the garlic has been peeled or chopped.

Green Beans: Wash to add moisture and refrigerate in a plastic bag. Remove the tips (and strings, if present) right before cooking.

Kale: Kale should be wrapped in a damp towel or in a plastic bag and refrigerated, preferably in hydrator drawer, for up to 1 week. Leaves will wilt if allowed to dry out. Plunge in cold water for 10 minutes to re-hydrate. Kale also freezes well, just blanche, squeeze out excess water and put into Ziploc and freeze.

Lettuce and Salad Greens: Greens will expire quickly if not stored properly. Greens like moisture and cool temperatures, so store lettuce in perforated plastic bags wrapped in damp paper towels, and keep in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. A good trick is to trim the bottom stem of whole lettuce heads as you would cut flowers then wash in warm water. Let the greens sit for 5 minutes to let dirt settle to bottom of sink then lift out lettuce. Spin or shake and paper towel dry before storing with the damp paper towel wrapped loosely around stem end and in an airtight plastic container or bag.

Leeks: Often used to flavor casseroles and soups/stews, with a subtle and sweet flavor. They can be eaten raw or cooked. Wrap leeks in plastic wrap to help prevent their aroma being absorbed by other foods. They can last up to seven days. If cooked, eat within 2 days of storage.

*Onions: Store in a mesh bag in cool place.

English Peas: Peas are best purchased for immediate use, or keep in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Wash them before eating.

Peppers: Bell peppers like cool not cold temperatures, ideally about 45°F to 50°F with good humidity. Peppers are ethylene sensitive, so they should not be stored near ethylene-producing food such as pears or apples. Put peppers in plastic bags and they will keep up to five days in the refrigerator. Green peppers will keep slightly longer than the other, more ripe, varieties.

Potatoes: Potatoes like cool (45°F to 50°F) humid (but not wet) surroundings, but refrigeration can turn the starch in the potatoes to sugar and may tend to darken them when cooked. Store in burlap, brown paper, or perforated plastic bags away from light, in the coolest, non-refrigerated, and well-ventilated part of the house. Under ideal conditions they can last up to three months this way, but more realistically, figure three to five weeks. New potatoes should be used within one week of purchase. Don't store onions and potatoes together, as the gases they each give off, will cause the other to decay.

Radishes: Wash roots, trim both tap root and tops and store in plastic bags in refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Spinach, Kale, Mustard: Untie bunches, remove any blemished leaves, trim off the stems, and wash it thoroughly in cold water. Repeat if necessary until you're sure all the grit is gone. Spin dry in a salad spinner or drain well, then put into clean plastic bags very loosely wrapped with paper towels. It will last only two to three days, so plan on eating your rinsed spinach right away. Cold, moist surroundings, as low as 32°F and about 95% humidity are the best for storing spinach.

Summer Squash: Your summer squash will dehydrate fast, so use within a week. Store squash in plastic bags in your crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Damaged/blemished squash will expire very quickly, so use right away if you find this.

Sweet Corn: Corn is best eaten immediately. However, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days in plastic bags with the husk still on. If possible, store in a refrigerator with a high humidity storage bin. If the corn has already been husked, partially or fully, refrigerate it in a perforated plastic bag.

*Tomatoes: Put in sun-free spot on counter and avoid refrigeration as it will deplete flavor

Turnips and Rutabagas: Store unwashed turnips in a plastic bag for 1-2 weeks. To prolong the shelf life of turnips, you can put them in moist sand in a cool location.

Winter Squash: Winter squash or hard-shelled squash, such as kabocha and butternut, should not be refrigerated unless cut. Stored at 50°F to 55°F away from light in a well ventilated spot with low humidity, it will keep for up to three months. Cut squash will keep about one week when wrapped tightly and refrigerated.

*Watermelon: Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Zucchini: Refrigerate in vegetable crisper in an opened plastic bag. They will remain firm for about one week. To avoid damaging the skin, do not clean zucchini until ready to use.