After you pick it.....

loribee2(CA 9)July 26, 2014

Tomatoes don't go in the fridge, I know. But what about zucchini, green beans, bell peppers, cucumber and carrots? When you harvest, do you store them in the fridge?

And if you do, what if you are going to bring a supply to a friend or to work the next day. Would you keep it in the fridge overnight? Or do you think it's fine to leave them in a bag on the counter for 24 hours?

Aside from tomatoes, I pretty much refrigerate everything I harvest, at least within a few hours of when I pick it. But it can be a pain when I've got a lot, taking up valuable storage space. I'm wondering if I'm refrigerating unnecessarily.

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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

Yes, I refrigerate all of those things. However, if I'm going to bring zucchini in to work, I'll just leave it in a bag on the counter overnight and it's fine. Cucumbers will lose crispness if not refrigerated, especially small ones. Peppers and carrots would probably be fine in a bag on the counter overnight.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 12:59AM
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ltilton

The answer, of course, is another refrigerator!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 9:29AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

It depends on whether they will stay fresher on the counter or in the fridge or in a bag. Fresh beans seem to go limp quickly in either location if not in a bag, carrots too. Zuchini is fine on the counter for a day or so and peppers too. If anything, including tomatoes looks like it is going to go past ripe and into overripe before I'm ready to eat/process it, into the fridge it goes! Oh, and most things seem to last longer if given a saltwater bath after coming in from the garden.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:29AM
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loribee2(CA 9)

ltilton: I've already got two refrigerators, LOL!

But thanks everyone for the feedback! Of course, zucchini is my biggest space sucker so I'm glad to hear I can leave it out if I plan to give it away soon. Most of it I do give away. Good advice about bagging it, and I did not know about a saltwater bath!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:59AM
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gin_gin(5)

I've got zukes on my counter right now that have been there at least a week, and they are still way fresher than what's available from my local grocery store.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 12:13PM
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elisa_z5

I normally leave beans and zucchini out overnight no problem. Zucchini, as gin gin says, can stay out even longer.

But sunnibel -- that saltwater bath idea sounds curious to me. I thought things stayed fresh longer if you didn't wash them. Like this spring I harvested a ton of lettuce to take on a trip. It was dry when I harvested it, and 17 days later we ate our last salad from it, and it was great. A month or so later, I harvested a few bags of lettuce when it was wet with morning dew, again to travel, and it rotted within 6 days. (It was all kept in coolers to travel)

I'd love to hear about your experience with it, like what veggies you've used it on and how it has helped. (probably not lettuce :))I'm always open to learning something new!

This post was edited by elisa_Z5 on Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 15:30

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 3:28PM
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ltilton

elisa's experience is the same as mine. Nothing rots lettuce in storage quicker than wet.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 4:57PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've never heard of a saltwater bath....what's the reasoning behind it? If I have a lot of tomatoes on the counter, I wrap each one in a paper towel or piece of newspaper and they stay fresh much longer and never go into the fridge.

Lettuces and greens are stored unrinsed except for any that we'll be eating that day. I like to rinse those and chill them for a few hours to crisp them up.

Other than the greens, everything gets thoroughly rinsed and/or scrubbed before it goes into my fridge, including (especially) any produce from the grocery.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 6:17PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've never heard of a saltwater bath....what's the reasoning behind it? If I have a lot of tomatoes on the counter, I wrap each one in a paper towel or piece of newspaper and they stay fresh much longer and never go into the fridge.

Lettuces and greens are stored unrinsed except for any that we'll be eating that day. I like to rinse those and chill them for a few hours to crisp them up.

Other than the greens, everything gets thoroughly rinsed and/or scrubbed before it goes into my fridge, including (especially) any produce from the grocery.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 6:18PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I pick sweet corn at the peak of perfection and store it in the fridge. Modern varieties keep well for maybe a week...lots better than letting it tough out there on the stalk.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 6:22PM
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2ajsmama

I cut lettuce and immediately plunge it into a bucket of cold well water, spin it dry then store it in open plastic bag with a dry paper towel. Green beans go in the fridge unwashed, so does squash (if room), peppers, of course cukes but if they're pickling cukes I put them in ice water in fridge until ready to use (no more than 24 hours).

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 7:22PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Sorry, thought it was obvious that you dry things after a bath! Wet lettuce is bad to store no matter what you use to wash it. Plus, lettuce would definitely be one of the things that doesn't make the list of "most things do better with a salty bath". Basil also not good, but other tougher leaves are ok. And not potatoes, onions, garlics for obvious reasons...

It's like using salt water when you have a sore throat- a mild disinfectant, plus a wash to physically remove bacteria and spores and even small insects (especially anything soft-bodied). For example, with tomato season on us, tomatos last longer on the counter (because the fridge is full already) if given a swish in lightly salty water. Some things I rinse the salty water off, but tomatoes don't seem to mind it. Plus they taste extra good with the slight saltiness that remains when they dry! But you don't have to take my word for it, you can try it yourself. :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:42AM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Interesting to hear how everyone treats their veggies. I'm definitely going to stop thinking all my zucchini needs to take up the bottom shelf of my fridge.

A saltwater bath for freshness and disinfectant: I wonder how that stands up to a white vinegar bath, which I have heard people do for the same reasons. Particularly non-organic store bought produce which is likely to contain pesticide residue. I did a Google search and found a saltwater/vinegar soak, 1/4 c vinegar 2 T salt in a bucket of water. It said, "Place the fruit and/or veggies in and allow to sit for 25-30 minutes although I have even left soaking for over an hour (this will not affect the flavor at all, the vinegar cleans and the salt draws out any little bugs, dirt and other small unwanted things, it also will remove some of the wax."

Interesting. Last week, I ate one of those peaches my store later recalled for Listeria. My doctor said not to sweat it and I am fine, but it is a reminder that washing beyond just a plain cold water rinse might not be a bad idea. I've always washed apples with soap, but everything else always just got a quick rinse under the faucet.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 11:43AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I don't wash my home growns until it's time to use them. However, when things are coming in faster than I can process them (such as green beans right now, or my neighbor's pears!), I do use the Debbie Meyers green bags to store things until I have some time to blanch/freeze or whatever!
You can get them at Olivers. They seem expensive, but can be re-used over and over. There are bread bags also, but I can only find them on-line. It's worth it to have "good bread" last more than a day! I usually split an order of bread bags with a friend. Nancy

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:07PM
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2ajsmama

At least 1 study has shown that commercial vegetable washes are no more effective than tap water for removing pesticide residue. Rubbing the produce (and using a brush for thicker-skinned vegeables) helps more b/c it's primarily the mechanical action that removes the residues and dirt, not the "solvent".

I wouldn't wash any food with soap (though the study did use 1% dish soap, it didn't say anything negative about it but it wasn't any better than plain water), but have used vinegar to remove wax. Though I try to buy things without wax (I won't even touch grocery store cucumbers) - in fact, I don't buy a whole lot of produce except for apples, carrots, frozen veggies, and canned beans.

I'm not sure about salt, but soaking veggies (not something thin-skinned that might absorb too much water and then split) does help get the creepy crawlies out. But salt won't hurt unless you use a lot of it (salt ice water soak makes cucumbers crisper by drawing water out of the cells).

I think you'd have to wash with bleach solution like you clean countertops with to do any better at removing/killing Listeria like on the fruit that was just recalled. I know some growers use a bleach solution on cantaloupe but I wouldn't use it on peaches. And the FDA is saying not to wash the stone fruit that's recalled, just throw it away (they said the same about cantaloupe a couple years ago) since it may be contaminated internally not just surface.

Here is a link that might be useful: Washing produce

This post was edited by ajsmama on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 21:17

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:10PM
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ediej1209(5 N Central OH)

I always wash melons, apples and cucumbers from the store with watered-down antibacterial dish soap. But I don't with the ones I get from my own garden, those just get rinsed and dried with a paper towel before being refrigerated. I think I'll give the salt-water bath a try. Thanks for sharing that great idea!
Edie

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:27AM
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