Let’s talk food storage again.
We’ve already covered apples and onions, berries and tomatoes, carrots and herbs, but what about the stinkiest of vegetables. The ones that scream loudly with their scents the moment they turn to the dark side. The moment you crack open the fridge, their fragrance of age punches you in the face like a wooki.
I am here to tell you this can be prevented! Your nose no longer needs to suffer from pungent vegetables. Your hands no longer need to excavate gooey cabbage or mushy broccoli from the crisper.
Use the force. And don’t ever wash your vegetables before you store them.
To get the longest life out of your broccoli, you’ve got to start with good broccoli. Bright green (or purple), tight florets with no brown spots. Also try to avoid broccoli with yellow flowers. That means it’s too mature and past its prime. The stalk should also be bright green and firm, without any dry or mushy spots. Overall, a head of broccoli should seem heavy for it’s size. Same goes for pineapple and melons, while we’re on the subject of weight-to-size ratio.
So you’ve got your beautiful head of broccoli. What next? Store it unwashed in a plastic bag with one end open to promote air circulation. Alternatively, place in a closed zip top bag that you’ve cut slits into. Point is, you don’t want the broccoli to have too much air or too little. And of course, keep it away from our previously defined offenders. If stored properly, your broccoli should last in the fridge 10 days to 2 weeks.
If you want to freeze your broccoli to use during those winter months, never fear! Cut the broccoli into florets and the stalk into 1 1/2″ chunks. Blanch in hot water for about 3 minutes, then dunk in ice water to stop the cooking process. Let dry until all excess moisture is gone. Put in freezer safe zip top bag, seal and freeze. Baring any freezer burn, broccoli should last up to one year in the freezer.
While cabbage is typically a summer vegetable, it can be procured year round in many places around the globe. Someone somewhere always seems to be growing it.
When picking out a good cabbage, look for tight leaves and firmness. If the leaves are separating from the root, then the cabbage is starting to age. Whether the cabbage you are eyeing is purple, green, yellow or red, the color should be vibrant with no brown spots. Just like broccoli, a head of cabbage should be heavy for its size.
Believe or not, cabbage breathes in and out, producing oxygen. The more it breathes, the quicker it will decay. The best way to inhibit a cabbage’s breathing is to practically suffocate it. Wrapping the unwashed head in plastic is your best bet, or using a airtight container that is as fitted to the head of cabbage as possible then refrigerate it (preferably in the crisper). Keeping the cabbage at a low temperature helps it to retain its moisture and vitamin content. It will keep in the fridge for up to one week, two weeks if fresh from the garden, before it starts to degrade.
When buying fennel, choose firm white or pale green bulbs without splitting, scars or brown spots. The stalks should also be firm, bright green and should never be mushy. Flowering buds are a sign that the fennel is old and past its prime. The scent of fennel degrades over time, so pick bulbs with a very strong smell of licorice or anise.
Store unwashed fennel in a plastic bag or sealed container. It should keep for 7-10 days. But again, use it as soon as possible since the flavor reduces over time.
Check out more posts on how to store other vegetables and fruits by clicking here. Have questions on how to store something else? Let me know in the comments.