Wild Gourd Farm

Organic Gardening in St. Louis City

Frugal Friday- Food Storage

We intend to grow as much of our own food as possible this year.  This means we’ll be preserving everything we can, especially later into the growing season to store up food for the winter months. More immediately, we want to keep our harvested vegetables fresh and ready in the fridge.

We’ve tried lots of different things, including those green bags that supposedly extend the life of your produce. The best method we’ve found is to simply store things in water (a tip from our friends Amanda and Ron). Rinsing and cutting celery stalks and placing them in a cup of water in the fridge will keep them fresh and crunchy. The same thing goes for bunches of cilantro. Vegetables like green beans and carrots keep well in bowls or tupperwear-like containers of water in the fridge. It’s best to change the water every so often.

Lettuce is a little trickier, but I’ve found that rinsing it, patting it dry (or allowing to air dry), and storing in a closed container works well for a few days. We’ve also tried storing (mostly) dry greens in containers with layers of paper towels, but it seems like such a waste to use all those paper towels.

Anybody else have some food storage secrets?

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9 responses to “Frugal Friday- Food Storage

  1. josh and joanna March 11, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    we tried that, and it works great on lettuce too! You have to cut off the bottom first for it to really work well. about 1/2 inch is enough.

  2. sallie March 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I go through a lot of salad greens and find that salad spinners are a great way to dry lettuces, spinach, parsley… They get so wilted if you lay them out long enough to dry, and bruised when you pat them dry, which also lessens their shelf life. So after I rinse the greens, I spin them dry and then store them loosely in a large container. They can last almost a week. I’ve tried those green bags too and I think they’re a gimmick.

    And I forgot about putting celery in water. Hopefully I can salvage the wilted celery that’s in my fridge now.

    • We Will Work for Food March 13, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Great idea! For now we’ve only been harvesting just enough greens for a salad or two, so we haven’t had to deal with storage. We’ll definitely have to invest in a salad spinner!

      We’ve found that putting wilted celery (or carrots, or green beans) in water in the fridge will resuscitate them. Otherwise, I can think of 6 animals in/around our house who would loooove to have your wilted celery!

  3. Christine Laperuto March 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I’ve only grown herbs. The woody herbs, like rosemary and thyme, I freeze whole at the end of the season and use all winter. For herbs like parsley and basil, I chop & freeze in small jars. I use a fork to scrape out the amount I need when cooking. Freezing is better than drying – at least for me – they taste fresher.

  4. Adolph Oliver Bush March 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    My man Harold McGee has some good tips as well as a great book, “Keys to Good Cooking”.
    http://www.amazon.com/Keys-Good-Cooking-Making-Recipes/dp/1594202680/ref=pd_sim_b_3

    He suggests storing fleshy stem herbs rolled in a moist paper towel refrigerated in a plastic bag. He reminds to store cold sensitive basil at room temperature.

    Before freezing vegetables, blanch them, chill immediately in ice water, then pat dry and freeze.

  5. Mom April 4, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Don’t forget to dry out the leaves from the celery for uses in many things. Use as an added spice and /or salt in sauces, soups, stews,vegetables, tuna salad. I micro the leaves on a paper plate on defrost for about 30 seconds at a time, any longer they seem to burn or send sparks.(I don’t know why) or you can use a low oven but this takes longer. Then fluff them up and repeat until dry and crispy, I then store them crunched up in small jar. Baby food jar works great.

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