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Vegetables that stand up to storage

Posted Dec 22 2009 12:00am
If you’re like me and go grocery shopping only once a week, you probably find your fresh vegetable options shrinking progressively as the week goes on. You want to include vegetables in your meals, but the problem is, there aren’t a lot of things that stay perky in the refrigerator from one market day to the next.

In the summertime, if the crisper is empty, I just swing by the farm stand and pick up a head of lettuce, or some broccoli, or whatever looks good.

In the wintertime, though, it’s more challenging. At the store, I try to plan ahead and grab a couple of items that will endure a week's storage in relatively good condition.

Not only is limp, wilted produce unappetizing, but chances are it’s lost a significant part of its nutritional value since it was harvested. Vitamin C, especially, has been shown to degrade over time; that’s why, in most cases, frozen vegetables are better for you than fresh ones that have been sitting around for too long.

When selecting fresh vegetables, be picky! If they’re already tired-looking or bruised at the store, they won’t stick around for very long once you get them home. Check out these storage tips to help extend the life span of fresh vegetables.

Below are some of my favorite vegetables that are good keepers -- in your fridge, freezer, or pantry -- so you never have to eat another meal without veggies on the menu.
  • Fresh: Cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, parsnips, turnips, avocados (refrigerate when ripe).
  • Frozen: Spinach, peas, broccoli, squash, or your favorites. Skip those frozen vegetable combos that come with their own sauce.
  • Pantry: Winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, dried mushrooms, roasted red peppers in jars. Canned vegetables tend to be disappointing, but canned pumpkin, squash, beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce are decent substitutes for fresh.
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