So the broccoli is ready in the garden and it’s delicious! My dilemma is harvesting it before it blooms. Some of the heads have escaped being eaten; I didn’t get there in time and they’re blooming but that’s OK…it’s more food for the beneficials. I’ve noticed that if I leave the cut broccoli overnight, it doesn’t have the same crispness that the grocer’s does; perhaps you have this problem too. I thought that we would look at some tips for keeping your vegetables fresh after harvesting them from the garden.
- BROCCOLI – so if your broccoli is more floppy than crisp the day after you harvest it, try soaking it in ice water for a few minutes before you’re ready to use it. Of course, if you’re cooking it, you can skip this step because you’re going to make it floppy anyway. I think that broccoli is best stored in the fridge.
- CUCUMBERS – cucumbers are best stored outside the fridge on the countertop. Unless you’re ready to eat one of course. I love a cold, crisp cucumber so we keep a few in the fridge when they’re in season (and the 5 gallon buckets of them are overflowing).
- LETTUCE – lettuce prefers the fridge to the countertop. We generally grow romaine and I like to wash it and then place it in layers of paper towels so that it’s ready to use when we need it. All of the paper towel and lettuce layers go into a ziploc bag and then into the fridge.
- TOMATOES – some people swear by keeping their tomatoes on the countertop…that it makes them last longer. Others say they keep longer when in the fridge. Personally, I don’t have a refrigerator big enough to handle all of them so I usually keep the majority of them out of the fridge in the aforementioned 5 gallon buckets. If we have problems with blossom end rot, I still pick those tomatoes for canning…I just cut the bad ends off. Those I try to keep in the fridge since they’ve been injured.
- PEPPERS – it’s been my experience that peppers are better stored on the countertop. If they’re kept in the fridge, mine tend to look shriveled up…like all of the moisture has been sucked out of the skins.
Here’s another tip that you can keep in mind the next time you’re bringing in your harvest. Many herbs and greens can be kept fresh in your refrigerator by placing them in water like you would cut flowers. A bouquet that you can eat…now that’s an arrangement I’m interested in!
What are your tips for keeping vegetables fresh? Do you have any secrets that you’d like to share with the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community? Leave me a comment below or send me an e-mail. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening! And happy Friday!