Several years ago, I ditched my crisper drawers. I was tired of the soggy and rotten vegetables that tend to multiply when stored in those drawers.The ultra-organized side of my brain could not handle the waste and chaos created by shoving bags of produce in there and then hoping I would remember to use it all before it spoiled.
I set up a system of boxes that works amazingly well for helping produce last longer and actually get eaten in the process! I’ve used this system in a very large refrigerator and in the much smaller one that I have right now. It is completely adaptable; simply find boxes that fit well in your space.
READY TO EAT VEGETABLES: carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, bell peppers, snap peas. The selection changes throughout the year, but there is always an assortment of washed and cleaned vegetables ready for snacking or salad making.
READY TO EAT FRUITS: grapes, berries, melons and pineapple. This selection changes according to the season, but there is almost always something in the fruit box.
FRESH HERBS: rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley and cilantro are the most common. The selection changes according to my mood and whether or not I have fresh herbs available in the garden. There is always parsley in my refrigerator. I keep my green onions and my fresh ginger in this container as well. Everything in this box is wrapped in paper towels. The fresh herbs are wrapped in towels and then stored in ziploc bags with most of the air pressed out of them. My herbs last at least 2-3 weeks this way. I’ve had them last as long as 5-6 weeks.
FRESH LETTUCES AND OTHER GREENS: Leafy greens can be stored (before or after they are washed) in airtight containers lined with paper towels or in ziploc bags with paper towels, with all of
the air pressed out. Lettuces will always last longer if you wait to wash them until you are ready to use them.
Keep a layer of paper towels or a washcloth in the bottom of
each produce box. The
absorb moisture, helping everything to last longer. When the towels are wet, simply
replace them with dry ones. If a box tends to
be more humid and gathers water along the sides or the lid, laying a
second towel on top of the produce will help prevent that.
FRESH HERBS can also be kept in water in the refrigerator. It is lovely to see a bright green bunch of leaves when you open the refrigerator. However, I never manage to have enough dedicated space for that, so I tend to use a produce box for my herbs most of the time.
Did you know that GREEN ONIONS can be re-grown in a glass of water? I’ve been doing this for over a year now. As you trim what you need, the onions will grow back slightly lighter in color and the flavor will not be as strong. I tend to trim them down a few times and then use the ends and replace them with fresh onions.
CELERY will keep for 4-5 weeks when wrapped in foil. I do not use a great deal of celery in my cooking, but I always seem to need a stalk or two as soon as I don’t have it in the house. By wrapping the celery in foil, it lasts much longer in between uses. I wrap it in foil without washing it and then just break off and wash the stalks as I need them. You can also wash and trim celery and then store it in the vegetable box with the other ready to eat produce. Mine lasts a couple of weeks when stored in the boxes.
I use the pre-washed and cut vegetables to make our Snack Tray Lunches at least twice a week. I set the vegetable box and some Homemade Ranch Dip on the table almost every night while I am making dinner. We all snack on it as we wait for dinner. I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. Enjoy!
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