I’ve gotten a number of questions lately about how to keep various vegetables from wilting in the refrigerator. People are often surprised to find carrots wobbly and soft after several days in the fridge, not to mention the condition of lettuce or chard after the same period of time.
Remember – most vegetables are very high in water content. The chilly air in a refrigerator is very dry, and sucks moisture out of all produce (even beets will get wilted!).
However, since our vegetables are picked so fresh, they should keep a very long time for you in the refrigerator….IF you make sure to keep that moisture contained! For most items, that simply means putting them in a tightly-sealed plastic bag or sealed container and trying to make sure most of the air is removed.
Plastic bags can be used over and over again for various vegetables, and you’ll find that even our fresh lettuces will keep upwards of two weeks in this manner! Carrots stay crispy, chard stays puffy and brilliant, you get the idea!
For ALL green leafies (lettuce, chard, chinese cabbage, kale, etc.), the most important thing is to make sure the bag they are in is sealed as much as possible, to keep air out. When I wrap up chard in a bag and store it in my ‘fridge, it keeps for nearly two weeks! Lettuces will keep this way as well.
Carrots, beets, summer squash, peppers, beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, cucumbers, and peas will all keep for a long time in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Potatoes, garlic, winter squash, and onions should be stored in a dark environment at room temperature or a little cooler. So, something like a cupboard works well. I tend not to store them in a basement, as many basements tend to be damp, humid, and hot at this time of year…but maybe yours is different.
Tomatoes should, of course, NEVER go into a refrigerator unless you’re at risk of not using them before they go bad. A cold environment will suck the flavor out of a tomato in short order, so refrigerate only if you absolutely have to.
Eggplant can be cold-sensitive. It’s best if you can use them within a few days, but I do keep them in the ‘fridge.
Here’s a list put out by a farmers’ market that covers everything from artichokes to pomegranates. For the most part, I agree with what they have to say, although since this list was put out by a farmers’ market and not a farmer, I think I have more know-how when it comes to our precious fruit…so go with our suggestions on that. But since I don’t grow artichokes or pomegranates (nor citrus!), their list may be handy for you to look at.