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2023 Food Box #8- How to store your vegetables.

Lettuce and Cucumber- Vegetables with a higher percentage of moisture like lettuce and cucumbers have shorter storage times and need refrigeration. Lettuce requires proper air circulation and little moisture so after washing your lettuce leaves, pat them dry and store in a plastic container lined with paper towel on the bottom. Cucumbers are similar and require similar storage. After washing your cucumber, pat dry and loosely wrap in paper towel and place in a plastic bag or container. Keep your cucumbers separate from other vegetables for best storage life. Fresh Garlic- Fresh garlic does not need to be refrigerated until the cloves are peeled from their skin. Store the fresh garlic bulbs in a cool, dark place. You do not want to store your garlic in an airtight container or plastic bag as this will cause them to rot faster due to moisture. Instead try storing your garlic in mesh bags or an open container with no lid to allow for proper air circulation. Tomatoes- Tomatoes should be stored in an open container uncovered on the counter. Once they have reached peak ripe-ness you will want to either use them within a couple days or refrigerate in an open air container. Refrigeration will slow down the decay of the tomatoes, but they should be stored at room temperature until this decaying process has started.

Peppers- Peppers should be stored in the refrigerator especially once they are cut into.

Zucchini: There are options:

1. Leave fresh zucchini out at room temperature: If you plan to cook the veggie within a few days of purchase, the best way to store it is on the counter at room temperature. Lightly rinse the veggie with cold water before cooking.

2. Store whole zucchini in the refrigerator: Store fresh zucchini in a paper bag in the refrigerator if you plan to use it more than a few days after purchase. The whole zucchini will remain fresh for more than a week if you store it in a crisper drawer or paper bag that allows air circulation and prevents wilting. Avoid storing zucchini in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container because the lack of airflow can impact its quality.

3. Flash freeze: The flash-freezing process will ensure that your cut zucchini pieces won’t stick together when storing them in the freezer for the long haul. First, place the veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them for a couple of hours. Remove the flash-frozen slices, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag, and return the veggies to the freezer. You can store frozen zucchini for up to three months; any longer and you’ll run the risk of freezer burn. To use frozen zucchini, thaw under running cold water or let it defrost in the refrigerator.

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