skip to Main Content
Shutterstock 117297610

Keeping Organics Fresh: The Ultimate Guide

Our curated boxes of fresh and organically grown fruits and vegetables are thoughtfully put together each week to provide you with a great array of nutrients, colours, flavours and textures. We want you to get the most of your order each week of beautiful produce. Knowing what to eat first, and taking the steps to properly care for your produce will allow you to enjoy every last bite. Naturally some of these will be more perishable than others.

  1. Unpack: your box and see what you have – ask us if you are unsure of what an item is or how to use it
  2. Prep: prep your items to lock in the nutrients and ensure freshness is preserved for as long as possible
  3. Plan: develop an idea of how you might use each item at meal times to get the most out of the items that are most temperamental

Prep…

Rule of thumb… all organic produce (aside from unripe Avocados, unripe Mangos, and Bananas) must be immediately refrigerated. Avocados and Mangos can be left out several days until ripe but as soon as they are ripe must be refrigerated so watch carefully.

Broccoli and Cauliflower should be soaked in vinegar/water solution as well but just before preparing it. This solution helps rid organics of little buggies. Cut up as you will be preparing it. Soak for 30 minutes agitating every 5-10 minutes. If you do notice bugs, which can happen on occasion in organics, you can add ice for the last 5-10 minutes to freeze them out, agitate, soak, and repeat. Rinse vigorously.

All containers and packaged items should be opened once you get home. Dry any condensation built up in the inside lid and along the sides. Remember these items have been refrigerated and while waiting for you to pick up, moisture can start to accumulate, causing them to spoil at an increased rate. Drying out the packages will allow you to enjoy these packaged items for a much longer time. This includes mushrooms, salads, sprouts, berries, prepackaged capsicums etc.

Open any bagged items to make sure there is not any moisture in there. The adage one bad apple can spoil the bunch is true. If any potatoes, berries, pears, apples, etc. happen to be bad, remove and toss. Please send us a pic if it’s significant so we can extra to your next order. If the packaged items are wet, be sure to dry very well before storing.

Consider refrigerating organic sweet potato and white potatoes: conventional potatoes are treated with a number of chemicals and as such are suitable to be stored on the bench or in the cupboard for extended periods, however organic potatoes will sprout or rot so be sure to refrigerate if you intend to store them for longer than the week. Ensure they are kept dry, as wetness will cause them to go bad quickly.

Leafy Greens will keep a long time if you simply trim the ends and put them in a glass of water, like you do flowers, only put them in your refrigerator. It’s also a lovely welcome each time you open your fridge. If your greens are a little wilty by the time you pick up your order, remember at the stores they have them in the cool and are constantly misting them, this trick will perk them up nicely! This works great to prolong the life of your Herbs as well. Snip bottoms, put in water in a glass in your refrigerator.

Celery should always be refrigerated. There are several ways to store it to help it last longer. Store in a bag, store submerged in water (filtered), store in your crisper drawer, or store wrapped in foil. If it is a bit wilty by the time you pick up, submerging in water will crisp them up nicely. Change the water every few days if storing submerged. Wrapping in foil and storing in the refrigerator works well once it’s crisped up.

Onions must be dry or they are likely to spoil rapidly. Do not keep in a sealed plastic bag. Be sure to check or rotate frequently especially if your home is a little more humid.

Corn should be left in its husk until ready to use. Only needing a quick grill or plunge into boiling water, fresh corn should always be enjoyed soon after pick up as the sugars will turn to starch over time. Sweetest soonest after harvest and some even enjoy it raw. Be aware that organic corn is notorious for having, on occasion, a big ol’ caterpillar-like wormy thing at the tip. It’s not something you can miss and they are only at the top so lob that off and you’re good to go. Look at it as a good thing, no chemicals were used, it must be yummy, and certainly not genetically modified as they are munching away, that’s for sure! Always enjoy corn soon after receiving it as the sugars start to turn to starch once harvested – so freshest is best! Certified Organic corn is non GMO.

Root vegetables with their greens still attached, like beetroot or carrots, should be separated before storage. The greens will continue to suck the sweetness out of the root otherwise. Then store the greens as you would any green and you can use them as you would any leafy. Store the roots in the crisper drawer on a towel to be sure they are kept free of moisture.

Lovely Heirloom Tomatoes arrive in a variety of sizes and colours, odd shapes with strange unsmooth bottoms, and yet are so totally incredible! Heirlooms are REAL tomatoes and will feel super soft, even scarily mooshy, once ripe. Don’t let the feel fool you, and don’t let their appearance deter you. They are heavier in juiciness than the regular tomatoes that have been bred for travel so the feel which you and I have learned is a bad overripe tomato is just the sweet love of an heirloom about to dance on your tongue. Yellow, green, red and purple, each has a unique flavour to enjoy. Slice to reveal this beauty and take your taste buds on a trip to deliciousness. Enjoy straight up or add to your sandwich, salad, omelet or oh my the options are endless! Ideally store on your counter.

Grapes are a seasonal item so enjoy them fresh while you can! Always do a vinegar water soak before storing but be sure they are dry before storing or they will mold. If you plan to eat them soon then wait and wash before using but the vinegar-water solution will help wash them better and help them store longer. Since they are a seasonal item, you may find you get more than you can enjoy sometimes. If you cannot keep up, soak in vinegar-water, rinse, dry carefully and freeze. No need to defrost to enjoy this sherbet-like treat any time of the year!

shutterstock_117297610

Take a look at what you have picked up and plan what you will want to use first.

Check out recipes to figure out what you may want to prepare so you don’t miss out on any of the delicious fresh produce. See what might go well together in a stir-fry, soup, side, or meal. Jot down a plan so that nothing goes to waste and you have an idea what delicious meals you can prepare this week from the box. Can’t use all your produce in time? Take a moment now to note your calendar a date certain, depending upon the perishability, that if you have not used the item, you will wash, chop, and place in your freezer for use later. Some, like beans and broccoli, blanch first (dip into boiling water for a moment or two (less than a minute) then to ice water to stop the cooking process. Other things like sweet potatoes and hard squash should be cooked before frozen, freeze mashed and use in baked goods or even smoothies. Always dry produce being frozen very carefully to avoid ice crystals. Try a salad spinner and towels. Taking a little prep time now before storage or if you cannot use in time, before it goes bad, will save you money and allow you to enjoy every last bite of your delicious box of produce!

What to use first and How to Store It…

The humidity and condensation in your refrigerator (how often it is opened too) will play a key role in how long your beautiful produce will last for you. Make sure to enjoy the more perishable items first and take the time to store them properly for your best value.

Perishable items to enjoy soon after receiving your order of most perishable:

Mushrooms – very perishable, must be refrigerated and used within 3 days

Berries / Grapes – Do not wash until ready to use. Never store berries wet and never leave them out of refrigeration. All berries must be promptly refrigerated. Raspberries are more sensitive than strawberries which are more sensitive than blackberries which are more sensitive than blueberries.

Cucumbers – are somewhat sensitive and are best eaten soon after pickup, also great to be juiced, they will go bad quickly if any moisture gets to them so be sure they are in a dry part of your refrigerator. Cucumbers enjoy within 3-4 days though they may last over a week if stored properly during strong seasons.

Corn – though it may hold longer, you always want to enjoy as soon after harvest as possible for the sweetest possible corn or do a blanch and freeze for later.

Salads/ Baby Spinach / Spinach bunches – unlike other leafies which will last a little longer, spinach bunches are very sensitive and need to be used soon after pick up. Baby Spinach and Salads that are packaged come with a date and will last even past that if you take the steps noted earlier on drying out the containers.

Snow Peas/ Green Beans/ Sugar Snap Peas – keep in a container or bag in your fridge and make sure they are kept dry. If the bag or container is sealed, moisture may trap inside causing them to go bad quickly. If they are in a brown bag, note it on the bag or you may forget and miss out on using them. Yellow Beans are more sensitive than Green Beans which are more sensitive than Sugar Snaps and Snow Peas. Can’t use them in time? Wash, blanch, dry, and freeze them in a sealed container for a beautiful stir-fry or to add to a stew or soup later on. We suggest enjoying within 3-5 days after pickup.

Tomatoes – Store on counter is best however in parts of the year it is simply too hot and humid and they may mold on the counter so against best judgment, refrigerate to store longer but keep in a towel and away from the direct cool air flow. Heirloom Tomatoes can be on the counter but eat within a day or so and watch carefully as they will mold if your home is too humid. We suggest they be refrigerated and maybe taken out several hours before enjoying. If Mini Heirlooms or Cherry/Grape tomatoes are hard and green leave on a towel on the counter until ripe but check regularly to make sure not molding and keep home cool.  Sprouts – keep refrigerated in their container, they should be dated

Broccoli / Broccolini / Cauliflower – refrigerate like Broccoli; is more sensitive than Broccoli, store in bag or in crisper drawer. Broccoli and Broccolini will last a week maybe more but Cauliflower probably 5-7 days.

Herbs – snip bottoms and put in water like flowers in a vase in the fridge

Peaches / Plums / Nectarines – tend to be more sensitive than other fruits but may hold well in the refrigerator as long as they are kept dry and do not get wet. If not yet ripe, leave on the counter one day but watch carefully, they will mold and may wrinkle so only one day. They will ripen more slowly in the fridge.

Mid-perishable –if stored properly may hold 4-5 days, plan to use and enjoy:

Leafy Greens – if stored properly will hold at least a week, sometimes longer however, plan to use fairly soon after you receive your order as they are sensitive. To store: unwashed in a “green” bag or wrapped in a damp towel in your crisper drawer. Best yet, trim the ends and store in water (like a vase of flowers) in the refrigerator – they will stay crisp and green longest that way. Will last a week maybe more if stored this way.

Lettuces – store in a bag in your refrigerator. Sometimes you will see some brown scarring on the leaves or wind damage where the membrane of the leaf may pull off, this is normal and not an indication of a quality concern but rather of a weather issue during it’s time growing. Normally last a week or more if stored properly.

Zucchini – keep refrigerated, should hold a week or longer, crisper drawer is ideal, may last even two weeks if kept dry but we say use within 8-10 days.

Leave a Reply

Wholefood-Harvest-logo-landscape-web-300