When you buy local, your produce will last a heck of a lot longer than if you get it from the store. That's because it's been picked more recently. A bag of salad mix from the supermarket goes bad within a few days, because it most likely came from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Which means it was harvested weeks ago, not yesterday.
Salad actually lasts for a couple weeks. Many things do, when they're stored properly. Here's how to keep your produce the freshest, crispiest, and most flavorful, for as long as possible:
In the fridge:
- Asparagus, beets, black-eyed peas, cabbage, chard, collards, figs, garlic chives, green onions (AKA spring onions), eggplant, mizuna, mustard greens, kale, okra, peppers, radishes, roc d'or beans, salad mix, spinach, summer squash, turnips, zucchini
Not in the fridge - somewhere well ventilated, dry, and cool:
- Cucumbers, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (the only exception to this sungolds - they can be refrigerated), winter squash
In water (like flowers):
- Basil, mint, parsley
There are some exceptions, like the sungolds. Garlic is one - it can be kept out on the counter in a basket, but you can also refrigerate or freeze it. (Freezing it will keep it the longest - it'll be good for months and months.) If you're storing it outside the fridge, though, make sure to refrigerate or freeze it once you cut into one of the cloves, or else it'll go bad quickly.
Under no circumstances should basil be refrigerated! Treat it like a flower bouquet - we keep ours in water on our dining room table, like a centerpiece. It'll last for up to two weeks that way.
Same with tomatoes. Contrary to popular practice, tomatoes should never go in the fridge (except sungolds). The frigid air sucks them of their flavor and their will to live (okay, maybe just their flavor).
Make sure your produce is getting air. Unless you get it from us in a Ziploc bag (like with our leafy greens), you probably don't want to put it in one for long. Most veggies, and especially herbs, need ventilation to stay fresh.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!