When it comes to storing vegetables and leafy greens, most people think that the only way to do it is by using plastic bags or containers. While plastic bags come with a lot of conveniences, they are not the only option when it comes to storing your vegetables.
Aside from being a significant source of pollution on our planet and seas, plastic also contains chemicals that can leach into our food and water, which is why it is important to avoid using plastic whenever possible. Here are some tips on storing your vegetables without using plastic.
Reusable Canvas or Cotton Shopping Bag
These bags are sturdy and can be used over and over again. They are a great option for storing vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Simply put the vegetables in the bag and tie it up, or if you have a larger bag, you can put the vegetables in a smaller bag to store them separately.
Mason jars are not just for canning! You can use them to store fruits, vegetables, and even grains. The best part is that they come in all different sizes, so you can find one that is perfect for your needs.
Mason jars are a great way to store leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale. You can also put sliced or chopped vegetables in them and store them in the fridge as ready-to-eat mason jar salads.
Parchment paper is a great way to store vegetables like carrots, celery, and potatoes. Wrap the vegetables in parchment paper and keep them in a cool, dry place—this way, your vegetables will stay fresh for weeks.
Baskets are an excellent option for storing potatoes, onions, and garlic. Place the vegetables in a basket and store them in a cool, dry place. Make sure to check on the vegetables regularly, as they may need to be aired out from time to time.
When I remodeled my kitchen I chose to add a few “fruit and vegetable” drawers that would allow the fruits and vegetables to be stored in baskets while getting air.
My mom always uses a bowl or a bowl-and-drainer set to store her vegetables. This is a great way to store leafy greens and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and especially herbs-with a cloth covering the top of the bowl to keep them moist. The drainer will help keep the vegetables fresh, and the bowl will catch any water that drips off.
The bowl-and-drainer method is also my favorite way to store my herbs in the fridge for later use. I’ll have to check them every 2-3 days, and they can stay fresh for up to two weeks.
How to Store Leafy Greens without Plastic
Leafy greens—including lettuce, spinach, and kale—are best stored in the fridge, but it’s important to make sure that the leaves are dry before you put them in the storage. If they’re wet, they will quickly rot.
First, remove all stems, rubber bands, twist ties, or other attachments to prepare your veggies. Then, rinse the leaves under cold running water to remove dirt or debris. Next, spin the leaves in a salad spinner or pat them dry with a clean towel.
Once the leaves are dry, you can store them in a mason jar, cotton bag, or parchment paper. If you are storing leafy greens for more than two days, put them in the fridge as soon as possible after washing and drying. If you’re going to use them within 24 hours, they can stay at room temperature.
Leafy greens will stay fresh for about five days when stored in the fridge. If you want to keep them longer, you can blanch them (see below) and freeze them.
How to Blanch Leafy Greens
Blanching is a process that involves quickly boiling vegetables in water and then shocking them in ice water. This process stops the cooking process and helps preserve the vegetables’ color, flavor, and nutrients.
To blanch leafy greens, first, bring a pot of water to a boil. Then, add the leaves and cook for 30-60 seconds or until wilted down. Remove from heat and immediately plunge into an ice bath (a bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water). Let the greens sit in the ice bath for about two minutes or until cooled.
Remove from the ice bath and dry with a clean towel. Once they are dry, you can store them in containers. Make sure to label the storage container with the name and date of the greens, so you know when they were stored. Leafy greens will stay fresh for about seven days when stored in the fridge after being blanched.
Storing your vegetables and leafy greens without plastic is not only better for the environment, but it’s also better for your health. By using alternative storage methods, you can avoid chemicals leaching into your food and help reduce pollution on our planet. Try these tips next time you go to the grocery store!