How to Wash and Store Your Produce

Washing tomatoes

You just got back from the grocery store loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables for the week. Your countertop is filled with bright colors and flavors to add to every meal! So how do you help your produce last the longest and stay the freshest? This is one of the most frequently asked questions that we receive from customers and the answer is… proper storage! Different fresh fruits and veggies have different storage requirements.

Here are the best ways to wash and store some of your favorites!

Tomatoes
No matter the size, beefsteak or snacking, always store tomatoes on the counter at room temperature. Tomatoes should never be kept in the refrigerator. The cold temperature minimizes their flavor and firmness.

When you’re ready to use the tomato, rinse it under cool water and gently rub the surface with your fingers or a clean dish towel, rinse again and pat dry. For snacking tomatoes, many our pints and ecofriendly bowls have small holes on the bottom and sides. Remove the top seal, rinse in cool water right in the packaging. The holes will drain the excess water for you.

Peppers
Unlike tomatoes, peppers like to be cold. Storing them in the crisper in your refrigerator will protect them from moisture loss and spoilage. This is true for all peppers of every color and heat level, from bell peppers to jalapenos, so to keep your peppers crisp and snappy, be sure to keep ‘em cool!

When you’re ready to eat your peppers as a snack or add them to a recipe, just give them a quick rinse under cool water, pat dry and then watch this video for the easiest way to slice a bell pepper!

Cucumbers
Ever hear the saying “cool as a cucumber”? There’s more to this saying than just staying calm under pressure. Cucumbers like cold temperatures. It helps them stay fresher longer and keeps the moisture inside the cucumber. For our smaller snacking cucumbers, we recommend removing them from the packaging as soon as you get them home, rinsing them with cold water, and then patting them dry. Once they’re dry, wrap them in a paper towel and store them in a clean plastic bag or reusable storage container. This extra step will help prevent smaller cucumbers from getting slimy.

When you’re ready to eat your cucumbers, wash them under cool water and pat dry. From there it’s your choice; chomp down on the whole cucumber or cut them into slices to eat.

INSIDER’S TIP: Just because a product is stored one way in the store does not mean that’s the best way to store it at home. This is especially true for cucumbers which are frequently displayed at room temperature because they typically sell within a day or two.

Strawberries
The best thing for strawberries is to keep them cold and dry so they don’t get moldy. When you bring them home, take the berries out of their container and arrange them on a paper towel lined tray, cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.

Before you eat or use them in a recipe, wash them under cool water, remove the stems and enjoy!

Eggplant
If your fridge is filling up with peppers, cucumbers and strawberries and space is getting tight, you have options for your eggplants. If you’re going to be using your eggplants in one or two days, you can store them in a cool dry place, like a pantry. If you plan on eating the eggplant three or more days from now, it should be kept in the refrigerator. Wrap it in a paper towel and place it in a reusable container or perforated plastic bag to be put in the crisper.

When it’s time to eat, rinse the eggplant under cool water and pat dry. From there, it’s your choice to leave the skin on or peel it off.

What about vegetable washing solutions or washing vegetables in vinegar?
This is a method of produce washing that some people prefer. They are both acceptable and will not cause harm to your produce. For vinegar and water to be effective, your mixture should be 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar. For any produce washing products, follow the directions on the package.

We hope you find these tips for washing and storing produce helpful. If you have an idea that’s worked well for you, leave us a comment and let us know. Because while we’ve learned a lot in our 60+ years of growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants we’re always looking to improve and learn from our customers.

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