Tips & Tricks for Your Farmer’s Market Pick Ups

How to choose & store produce

Plump, vibrant in color and fresh are go to characteristics for all produce, here are some tips on specific fruits and veggies as well as how to store tham!

    1. Tomatoes
      1. No blemishes, dark spots or white fuzzy mold
      2. Vibrant in color, smooth, shiny and bright green tops
      3. Earthy smelling
      4. Heavier in weight and medium to firm ripeness
      5. Storage : Do not refrigerate! Chilling tomatoes will take away the flavor, instead store on the counter away from direct sunlight for up to 5 days
    2. Zucchini
      1. Look for smooth skin
      2. Small to medium in size, the larger squashes can become overgrown and loose flavor
      3. Storage : you can leave zucchini on the countertop in a cool place for 1 to 2 days, otherwise, store them in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp cloth or cloth produce bag in the produce drawer or refrigerator shelf
    3. Leafy Greens
      1. Look for lettuces without wilted or broken leaves
      2. wash only when you're ready to use
      3. Heartier, darker lettuces last longer than paler, tenderer ones. Choose leafy greens that look fresh, 
      4. Keep Kale in the coldest part of your refrigerator to prevent from wilting, store greens in a reusable plastic bag or container
    4. Root Vegetables
      1. look for root vegetables with fresh-looking greens attached because you can tell how long they’ve been harvested, remember the greens are edible too! 
      2.  Carrots - are best stored in a sealed plastic bag in the produce drawer of the refrigerator
        1.  If they become limp, refresh them in a bowl of ice water. 
    5. Bell Peppers
      1. Store peppers in a paper bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to five days
    6. Cucumbers
      1. Store unwashed and wrapped for up to a week
    7. Citrus
      1. citrus fruits are some of your best friends in terms of storage. They can be stored at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
      2. Other citrus such as grapefruit when stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator can last for a few months!
    8. Onions 
      1. Choose heavy tight skin onions, avoid onions with soft spots or are spongy 
      2. Store in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place, onions can keep for a month+
    9. Garlic
      1. Avoid yellow skinned, light, hollow or green sprouted garlic
      2. Choose firm & plump garlic bulbs with white or purple papery skin
      3. Fresh garlic is best in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Unbroken bulbs can be kept up to eight weeks. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will last for three to 10 days.
    10. Celery
      1. Wrap in Aluminum foil, it stores better & longer
      2. Store in coldest most humid area of refrigerator to be crisper

Steps to take when you get home from the market

  1. Remove and rubber bands or ties to prevent poor circulation or bruising of produce
  2. Don’t worry about washing right away, your produce wont last as long once it's washed! Exceptions are herbs (would wash, place a paper towel under in a sealable container and can store for a week or two) and berries (wash for longer storage time)
  3. If you do decide to wash produce so it’s easier for meal prep etc, make sure to dry really well with a salad spinner or cloth
  4. Cut off the leafy greens from the tops of the produce, remember these can be reused and some even replanted! By taking the tops off it keeps in the flavor and moisture so they don't go limp or dry

For fridge storing

  • Crisper, the coldest and most humid part of the refrigerator are for leafy greens, cruciferous plant like broccoli & cauliflower, celery and green beans
  • The top shelves near the front are the warmest part of the fridge. Keep your bagged cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini there, as they are the most sensitive to cold temperatures