Basil can be quite finicky to store. It’s a warm weather crop and is quite sensitive to cold. Many people have luck treating it like a cut flower, removing the lower leaves trimming the stem ends to allow water absorption and placing on the counter in a vase or glass with water. You may also have luck wrapping your basil in a paper towel then placing the wrapped basil into a plastic bag and storing in your refrigerator. Sometimes we’ve managed to store basil for over a week, and sometimes it turns black in just a few days. It’s best to try and use it right away.
Store beet roots whole in a plastic bag in your refrigerator crisper drawer. If greens are attached to your beets remove them and store separately. Beetroots will store for several months if kept refrigerated, but their sweetness does diminish over time, so it’s best to use them within a week or two.
Keep in a loose fitting plastic bag in the refrigerator. Broccoli continues to “breathe” after harvest, so don’t wrap too tightly. It should keep for over a week, but is freshest within the first few days.
Store cabbage in the refrigerator, either in a loose fitting plastic bag or just loose in the vegetable bin, it will keep for over a month. When outer leaves become limp simply peel them away. Once cut into, cabbage should be sealed in a plastic bag or wrap.
Eggplant prefers to be kept at 50 degrees, which is warmer than most refrigerators, and cooler than most kitchens. The best comprise seems to be to wrap the eggplants in a towel and store in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. If you use it within a week it should still be quite fresh and mild.
There are two schools of thought on potato storage. One is that refrigeration should be avoided because temperatures in the mid 30’s will convert some of the starches in the potato into sugars. The other side of the argument is that keeping potatoes in the fridge keeps them from sprouting and greatly slows greening, both of which produce mild toxins that are unhealthy to consume. Our feelings: for short term storage (a week or less) it’s fine to keep potatoes in a cool, dark spot in the kitchen if you are concerned about maximum starch, but for ease and convenience most of our potatoes go straight to the refrigerator, where they are stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
Ripen tomatoes at room temperature on the counter for a few days – they should yield slightly when squeezed and have a fragrant smell when ripe. Although, tomato flavor and texture deteriorate quickly when stored below 55 degrees, it’s still best to refrigerate an unused tomato once it’s been cut into, or if it’s good and ripe and won’t be used for several days.
Winter squash like to be kept in a cool dry spot, the preferred storage is 50 degrees and very low humidity – difficult to duplicate in most houses. The refrigerator is not a good choice, it’s too humid and cold. The best option is to keep your squash in a cool, dry and well ventilated spot in your house. They should keep for a month or more, but if you start seeing deteriorating exteriors, cut the squash open and use what you can salvage before it’s too late.
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