Storing your Veg.
The key to getting the best out of your lovely vegetables is storing them at the right temperatures. As a basic rule, veggies fall into two categories: those you should keep in the fridge and those that need to be a little warmer. To avoid temperature changes and moisture loss, it’s wise to store all your vegetables in the dark. Especially potatoes!
Another thing to keep an eye on is the humidity. Just like all living things, vegetables are made mostly of water. When they’re harvested, they’re cut from their water source; it’s important to delay the loss of water to keep your vegetables at their best for as long as possible. Some vegetables can be stored in plastic containers to seal in the humidity and reduce air movement. These include broccoli, carrots, kale and parsnips - really any of your veggies that can tolerate fridge temperatures (listed below). Any vegetables that are stored in the fridge should be packed loosely because the closer they are, the less time they’ll last.
There are a few crops which do better in a slightly drier environment. In particular, onions, pumpkins, garlic and squash should be kept separately in a dark cool room or cupboard to stop them from rotting and sprouting. It’s also important to keep any fruit separate from the vegetables as fruit will release a ripening agent (ethylene) which can prematurely spoil your crops.
One last tip! In general, it's better not to wash root vegetables before storage. Instead, gently brush off soil when you receive them and wash as and when you need them.
At a glance
Best kept in the fridge:
Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, collard greens, corn, kale, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, peas, spinach, turnips.
Best kept in a cold, humid location:
Cucumber, lima beans, okra, peppers, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, aubergine, tomatoes.
Best kept in a cold, dry location:
Garlic, onions, squash, pumpkins.
A few extra tips
In particularly warm weather
If the weather is really warm it can be difficult to find a cool place other than the fridge. In these times it may be best to store all veg in the fridge particularly new potatoes, ripe tomatoes and other ripe fruits.
Fruits & ripening
Our shorter supply chains mean that fruit crops can be harvested when closer to ripening, as they do not need to survive weeks during long distance transport and storage. This means that your fruits will arrive to you packed full of nutrients and will have more flavour, however you may need to eat some items quickly or refrigerate them if already ripe. Most fruit taste better at room temperature though so do try to remove them from the fridge about an hour before eating… if you can wait that long! Some fruits will need ripening before eating, the classic example is the conference pear that's hard until its mushy... it can be tricky to gauge. To encourage ripening leave fruit in a warm and sunny spot, some people find bananas or tomatoes can speed up the ripening of other fruit around them. To check ripeness carefully squeeze near the stalk. Tomatoes and avocados are fruits too, so the same applies.
Refresh leafy greens and salad by dunking into (or spraying with) cold water, and putting them in the fridge in plastic or a tub.