Storing Vegetables

2013-08-23 - IMG-20130823-00266Buying local and eating good, fresh vegetables is great, but with most markets taking place on a weekly basis – not to mention seasonally – it’s important to know how to keep the vegetables that you’ve bought as fresh as possible for as long as possible.  There are a few basic considerations when storing vegetables, categories into which most vegetables fall.  Most vegetables like a combination of either moist or dry storage, and cool or cold storage.

Below you can find a chart that outlines how to best store the most common market vegetables.  If there’s anything missing from this list that you’d like more information on how to store, feel free to contact me.

VegetableHow to StoreExpected Shelf-LifeComments
AsparagusCold and moist2 weeksKeep upright
BasilAt room temperature5 daysKeep stems in water; will discolour if kept in refrigerator for 10 days
Beans, SnapCold and moist1 weekDevelop pitting if stored below 4.5°C (40°F)
BeetsCold and moist5 monthsStore without tops
BroccoliCold and moist2 weeks-
Brussels SproutsCold and moist1 month-
CabbageCold and moist5 months-
CarrotsCold and moist8 monthsStore without tops
CauliflowerCold and moist3 weeks-
Corn, SweetCold and moist5 days-
CucumbersCool spot, 13°C (55°F) in perforated plastic bags; in refrigerator for a few days okay1 weekDevelops pitting & water-soaked areas if chilled below 4.5°C (40°F); do not store with apples or tomatoes
EggplantLike cucumbers1 weekDevelops pitting, bronzing, pulp browning if stored for long period below 10°C (50°F)
KohlrabiCold and moist2 monthsStore without tops
LettuceCold and moist1 week-
Muskmelon (Cantaloupe)Cold and moist1 weekDevelops pitting surface decay with slight freezing
OnionsCold and dry4 monthsCure at room temperature 2-4 weeks before storage, do not freeze
ParsnipsCold and moist4 monthsDo not wax or allow roots to freeze; sweetens after 2 weeks storage at 0°C (32°F)
PeasCold and moist1 week-
PeppersLike cucumbers2 weeksDevelops pitting below 7°C (45°F)
PotatoesCold and moist; keep away from light6 monthsCure at 10-16°C (50-60°F) or 14 days before storage, will sweeten below 3°C (38°F)
PumpkinsCool and dry2 monthsVery sensitive to temperatures below 7°C (45°F)
RadishesCold and moist1 monthStore without tops
RutabagasCold and moist4 monthsDo not wax
SpinachCold and moist10 days-
Squash, SummerLike cucumbers1 weekDo not store in refrigerator for more than 4 days
Squash, WinterCool and dry2-6 months, depending on varietyCuring necessary; do not cure Table Queen
Swiss ChardCool and dry5 daysDo not wash until ready to use
Tomatoes, RedLike cucumbers5 daysLoses colour, firmness and flavour if stored below 4.5°C (40°F); do not refrigerate!
TurnipsCold and moist4 monthsCan be waxed
WatermelonsLike cucumbers2 weeksWill decay if stored below 10°C (50°F) for more than a few days
  • Cool and dry: 10-16°C (50-60°F) and 60% relative humidity
  • Cold and dry: 0-4.5°C (32-40°F) and 65% relative humidity
  • Cold and moist: 0-4.5°C (32-40°F) and 95% relative humidity