The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
May 18, 2010

How To Store Produce Without Plastic

We don’t use plastic to store any of our vegetables or fruits. For example, we store carrots, whole or cut, immersed in containers of water. They will stay crisp in the refrigerator for weeks.  (Make sure to change the water frequently.) Celery works the same way.

how to store carrots without plastic

The Berkeley Farmers Market has put together a huge list of ways to store produce without plastic.   The market went plastic-free last year and is doing everything it can to encourage customers to not only bring their own bags and containers but to skip the plastic when they get home as well.  The information is listed below.  And here is a printable PDF version of the flyer, HowTo Store Fruits and Vegetables: Tips and tricks to extend the life of your produce without plastic (PDF).

How to Store Vegetables Without Plastic

Always remove any tight bands from your vegetables or at least loosen them to allow them to breath.

Artichokes‐ place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.
Asparagus‐ place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. (Will keep for a week outside the fridge)
Avocados‐ place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening‐ place an apple in the bag with them.
Arugula‐ arugula, like lettuce, should not stay wet! Dunk in cold water and spin or lay flat to dry. Place dry arugula in an open container, wrapped with a dry towel to absorb any extra moisture.
Basil‐ is difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. The best method here is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside‐left out on a cool counter.
Beans, shelling‐ open container in the fridge, eat ASAP. Some recommend freezing them if not going to eat right away
Beets‐ cut the tops off to keep beets firm, (be sure to keep the greens!)by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness. Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.
Beet greens‐ place in an airtight container with a little moisture.
Broccoli‐ place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in the fridge.
Broccoli Rabe‐ left in an open container in the crisper, but best used as soon as possible.
Brussels Sprouts‐ If bought on the stalk leave them on that stalk. Put the stalk in the fridge or leave it on a cold place. If they’re bought loose store them in an open container with a damp towel on top.
Cabbage‐ left out on a cool counter is fine up to a week, in the crisper otherwise. Peel off outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to loose its moisture after a week , so, best used as soon as possible.
Carrots‐ cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they’re stored that long.
Cauliflower‐ will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it’s bought.
Celery‐ does best when simply places in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter.
Celery root/Celeriac‐ wrap the root in a damp towel and place in the crisper.
Corn‐ leave unhusked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best the day it’s picked.
Cucumber‐ wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room.
Eggplant‐ does fine left out in a cool room. Don’t wash it, eggplant doesn’t like any extra moisture around its leaves. For longer storage‐ place loose, in the crisper.
Fava beans‐ place in an air tight container.
Fennel‐ if used within a couple days after it’s bought fennel can be left out on the counter, upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.
Garlic‐ store in a cool, dark, place.
Green garlic‐an airtight container in the fridge or left out for a day or two is fine, best before dried out.
Greens‐ remove any bands, twist ties, etc. most greens must be kept in an air‐tight container with a damp cloth‐ to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.
Green beans‐ they like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or loosely closed container.
Green Tomatoes‐ store in a cool room away from the sun to keep them green and use quickly or they will begin to color.
Herbs– a closed container in the fridge to kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.
Lettuce‐ keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.
Leeks‐leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).
Okra‐ doesn’t like humidity. So a dry towel in an airtight container. Doesn’t store that well, best eaten quickly after purchase
Onion‐ store in a cool, dark and dry, place‐ good air circulation is best, so don’t stack them.
Parsnips‐an open container in the crisper, or, like a carrot, wrapped in a damp cloth in the fridge.
Potatoes‐ (like garlic and onions) store in cool, dark and dry place, such as, a box in a dark corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.
Radicchio‐ place in the fridge in an open container with a damp cloth on top.
Radishes‐ remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in a open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.
Rhubarb‐wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.
Rutabagas‐ in an ideal situation a cool, dark, humid root cellar or a closed container in the crisper to keep their moisture in.
Snap peas‐ refrigerate in an open container
Spinach‐ store loose in an open container in the crisper, cool as soon as possible. Spinach loves to stay cold.
Spring onions‐ Remove any band or tie and place in the crisper.
Summer Squash‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut.
Sweet peppers‐ Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as wetness decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple a days, place in the crisper if longer storage needed.
Sweet Potatoes‐ Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet potatoes don’t like the cold.
Tomatoes‐ Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness place in a paper bag with an apple.
Turnips‐ remove the greens (store separately) same as radishes and beets, store them in an open container with a moist cloth.
Winter squash‐store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Many growers say winter squashes get sweeter if they’re stored for a week or so before eaten.
Zucchini‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage.

How to Store Fruit Without Plastic

Apples‐ store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage in a cardboard box in the fridge.
Citrus‐ store in a cool place, with good airflow, never in an air‐tight container.
Apricots‐ on a cool counter to room temperature or fridge if fully ripe
Cherries‐store in an airtight container. Don’t wash cherries until ready to eat, any added moisture encourages mold.
Berries-Don’t forget, they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating them.
Dates‐dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in.  Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag‐ as long as it’s porous to keeping the moisture away from the skin of the dates.
Figs‐ Don’t like humidity, so, no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week un‐stacked.
Melons‐ uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be in the fridge, an open container is fine.
Nectarines‐ (similar to apricots) store in the fridge is okay if ripe, but best taken out a day or two before you plan on eating them so they soften to room temperature.
Peaches(and most stone fruit)‐ refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruit will ripen on the counter.
Pears‐ will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening put an apple in with them.
–Fuyu‐(shorter/pumpkin shaped): store at room temperature.
–Hachiya‐ (longer/pointed end): room temperature until completely mushy. The astringentness of them only subsides when they are completely ripe. To hasten the ripening process place in a paper bag with a few apples for a week, check now and  then, but don’t stack‐they get very fragile when really ripe.
Pomegranates‐ keep up to a month stored on a cool counter.
Strawberries‐ Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.

One question I’m often asked is how to store loose salad greens without plastic. That’s a tough one. I don’t have a great answer. We actually don’t buy loose salad greens very often, opting for heads of lettuce, which are sturdier. Our strategy, if we did buy loose greens, would be to eat them right away and save hardier veggies for later in the week. (You can store chard in a glass of water too, like a bouquet.)

We also don’t freeze veggies and fruits  or buy them frozen. We eat what we can get from the farmers market when it’s available, and we don’t expect to have strawberries in December.

I’d love to hear about your produce storage ideas/challenges.

163 Responses to “How To Store Produce Without Plastic”

  1. Collin says:

    Thank you this is awesome

  2. Daniel says:

    What about storing fresh ginger?  I’ve been wrapping it in a paper towel and then storing it in a plastic bag, but it tends to mold.  If I leave it just out, it tends to shrivel.  What’s the best way to store fresh ginger and turmeric?

  3. madbiologist says:

    It is better to twist the top of beetroot rather than cut it off. If you cut it off it will bleed when you cook it.

  4. guest6 says:

    Interesting article, but I would think this would use a good deal of water. Which as we all should know, is not a resource to be squandered.

  5. Thank You!!!! I’ve been looking for ways to get rid of plastic when it comes to produce!

  6. Rose says:

    Much appreciated. For leafy greens I wash and shake off excess water and wrap in thirsty towel

  7. Roby says:

    I keep lettuce and loose salad greens in a thick cotton kitchen rag, well thigh, in the fridge.

  8. Kate says:

    Whoops forgot to mention I also find if I wash the berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc) immediately after I get home from the store in vinegar diluted by water. Then air dry and store in a bag or jar. They don’t seem to last much longer and less likely to get moldy.

  9. Kate says:

    I’ve found keeping lettuce and kale in mason jars in the fridge work very well as well. They seem to keep so much longer this way and not wilt.

  10. Stephanie says:

    The best way to keep basil is in a vase.  If you don’t have a way to grow your own, buy at the store with long stems attached.  Keep it out on the counter or on your kitchen table just like freshly cut flowers.  It lasts more than a week and makes the room smell so good!

  11. dori says:

    mushrooms should be stored in brown bag..if not used,will dry and then can be reconstituted with hot water..

  12. manouchk says:

    Best place I found on internet. I’m trying to move plastic bag free here in Brasil!! Love the site!

  13. robin says:

    I have great success storing loose salad leaves, herbs and most veggies in cotton/muslin bags, damp (wet and wring out well) in the veggie crisper of my fridge. The humidity helps darn near everything (not mushrooms or eggplant) tho, and they keep a really long time.

  14. Susan says:

    In answer to storing loose salad greens, try glass mason jars.  I wash my greens and dry them thoroughly, then pack them in the storage jars where they stay fresh about a week.  I’ve even used my FoodSaver jar attachment to keep them fresh a little longer.

  15. Hez says:

    This is a fantastic resource!  
    But no mention of how to store grapes- sealed container or no?  Moisture added?  

  16. ANN BURNETT says:

    Do you buy romaine head lettuce or regular head lettuce?

    • BethTerry says:

      I buy a head of butter lettuce… when I buy lettuce.  Honestly, I don’t really like lettuce, but that’s just a personal thing.

    • veganmama says:

      Romaine is hearty and healthy. Store with humidity but with air circulation for all lettuces. We eat several heads of lettuce a week. It’s a mainstay in our household.

  17. veganmama says:

    Nice list Beth, thank you!!
    So nice to see an inquiry from Hari about plastic-free shipping!!

  18. Hari says:

    Hi Beth ,
    I work for a Online store , you can check out the store at
    I wanted to know from you on whether there is a solution to ship Fruits & Vegetables without using Plastic trays or covers . We currently Shrink wrap all the fresh produce with cling file or pack them in Plastic covers or pack them in punnets .please advice whether we can avoid doing this .

     Request you to revert to me on the following mail id


  19. ChristinaMinniti says:

    Hi Beth,
    I was wondering, does your Farmer’s Market run all year long? I recently moved from Phoenix AZ (where Farmer’s markets have pretty much anything you could want all year around), to Salem MA. And, I’ve found that my Farmer’s market not only stops selling fruit in November and December (doh) but actually closes altogether from Jan-Jun. I don’t have a car, so I usually shop at the small grocer down the street rather than bus it to a Whole Foods. The problem is, all of their greens and much of their produce is in plastic. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

    • BethTerry says:

      @ChristinaMinniti Hi.  Our farmers markets in the Bay Area do run all year long.  In areas with real seasons, people get creative about eating locally.  (Check out the book “No Impact Man” to find out what he ate in NYC in the winter.)  I would imagine that the produce from the shop down the street is imported from far away? Let me know if that’s not right.  But are there winter vegetables like cabbage, etc. that are not wrapped in plastic?  One strategy is to figure out what is in season and try to stick to those foods in the winter, although it could leave you with not much variety.  Another strategy is to see if there is anyone in your area growing produce in the winter and connect with them… or try growing some of your own greens yourself.  Things like kale and chard are super easy to grow and like cool (but not freezing cold) weather.  Other people can produce in glass during the summer to have in the winter.  I don’t have a car either and either take the bus or my bike to Whole Foods.  It just requires planning ahead.

  20. Kathy H says:

    From market or garden, all my fruits, herbs & vegs go into a clean sink along with filtered cold water & 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar.  They soak for up to 20 minutes, rinse & are placed in produce bags – our family’s discarded cotton shirts sewn up.  Works great & I make them for family & friends, extending the knowledge!

  21. darrisbnelson says:

    I just checked out the ‘Salad in a Jar’ site . . . fabulous!! I really don’t like the idea of purchasing a plastic gadget but this may be the exception for me! I realize this is an old post but would love to know if anyone has tried storing uncut greens in a Glass Lock container in the fridge. The recommendation above is to put greens in an airtight container which surprises me. I’ve always thought they needed a bit of air (unless vacuum sealed) and moisture to be in an optimum environment.
    Thanks for this post and for all you do to educate us Beth!

  22. plastic vs water says:

    it’s great to be plastic-free and all, but it seems a little impractical.  I mean, covering the veggies with water and having to replace the water often?  That’s wasting natural resources even further…especially if you say they can keep for weeks–and if there are multiple fruits and veggies that’s even more water per that would be replenished over and over during the weeks.

  23. helene says:

    aloha, i love the idea of plastic free life, i”m just wondering about some of the things yous ay to store on a cool counter…i live in Hawaii where it is never cool and the humidity is high….also if you dont put stuff in the icebox your house will be infested with all kine bugs within a few hours….everything in my house goes straight to the icebox…any suggestions?  mahalo

    • BethTerry says:

      This guide was written by the Ecology Center in Berkeley, CA, so I’m sure there are some changes that would need to be made depending on the climate.

  24. justcallemo says:

    I’ve read that storing lettuce, celery and broccoli in tin foil keeps it crisp – might work for loose salad greens!

  25. naturalmothers says:

    I love this! What a mine of information. I’m going to print this off to keep! 
    I would feel honoured if your were to share your posts with us at Seasonal Celebration Sunday @ Natural Mothers Network! Rebecca x

  26. KATIA EMI says:

    Hi. Great ideas!!! on the other hand, perhaps it´s wise to buy consciously what´s needed for the week or day (whenever it´s possible) so we won´t waste energy with storage (fridges, water, containers etc…) and whatever we buy won´t go bad…it´s something I´ve been thinking on doing. @Decio Alexandre

  27. johnkawakami says:

    One other thing – one way to prepare hachiya persimmons is to hang them.   Found this:

  28. johnkawakami says:

    I do what my mom discovered – just wrap the food in newspaper.  The paper gets moist in the crisper and helps to regulate the humidity.

  29. Helen Jefferson says:

    This advice is generous and appreciated. I have a large kitchen but still lack the cool counter that is often mentioned. And even the space needed for the onions and garlic out of my garden will tax my storage capability. My guests would be walking around the food on the tile floors if I carried out all your advice, I abhor plastic but many folks don’t have the luxury of space you recommend.

    • BethTerry says:

       @Helen Jefferson We actually have a small kitchen but still find ways.  For the produce that does better outside the frig, I often store it all together in a large bowl on the table.  I also hang baskets down the wall as a way to keep the counters clear.

  30. Becky says:

    Fantastic information in this post! Pinning immediately! Thanks for putting this out there. I am stopping by from Frugally Sustainable. Have a great week!

  31. Sean Whitney says:

    If you can find greenhouse basil with the roots still attached, take it home and put it in a tall glass and enjoy fresh basil for weeks or longer.  I can find it at our local grocery store or the farmer’s market (which we take home and plant outside)

    • BethTerry says:

       @Sean Whitney I tried growing basil in a pot in my Oakland front yard last summer, and it was pathetic.  I think maybe we don’t get enough sun here.  I haven’t seen basil for sale with the roots, but I will look for it.

  32. tb says:

    Is it okay if the airtight containers are reusable plastic?

    • BethTerry says:

      That’s really up to you.  It depends on if you are comfortable storing your food in plastic.  Many plastics contain chemical additives that can leach out into foods, and manufacturers are not required to disclose what chemicals they have used.  Even “food safe” plastics have been found to leach chemicals.

  33. clnewcomb says:

    Awesome list!  I will be sharing this – thank you, thankyou, thankyou!

  34. chuck_ says:

    and mushrooms while I’m here ;)

  35. chuck_ says:

    what about Ginger

    • BethTerry says:

       @chuck_ We keep ginger outside refrigerator in a basket with garlic.  I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it or not, but it works for us.

    • Kikimouse says:

       @chuck_ I keep ginger in a paper bag in the fridge, seems to last quite a long time

      • BethTerry says:

         @Kikimouse  @chuck_ Good to know!  In our house, it doesn’t last very long because we eat it up pretty quickly after buying it.  :-)

    • Jen says:

      @chuck_ I follow a Japanese trick: peel and slice the ginger, pour sake over it, and store it in a glass container in the fridge. Lasts forever and adds a slight umami flavoring which is nice in almost everything.

  36. venkat1926 says:

    useful. but you are thinking of cold places like higher latitudes. Here in Chennai in India most of the time it is hot and cannot follow many of these storage instructions. 

  37. alex says:

    Salad: go for the whole plant, including roots, and put on water, like flowers. Keeps surprisingly long, even not refrigerated!! if this is not possible, keep in moist teatowel, fluffy and airy, in fridge. Do not press or compress, though!

  38. Regina says:

    Lettuce keeps very well when stored washed and dried in a bag made from a terry towel in the crisper.

  39. lseitter says:

    We grow our own leaf lettuces for most of the year and made an interesting observation.  Last week we picked a large amount of lettuce for a farmer’s market, but didn’t sell much of it.  We had put one large bag of ice in the bottom of a cooler and laid the lettuce on top.  When we got home we decided to just eat off it until it was past the “eatable” point and then give it to our farm animals.  We didn’t replace the ice and left the cooler outside the back door.  One week later we finally gave what was left to the animals and not because it had gone limp or bad, but because the cooler itself was needed.  I am amazed at how long the lettuce held up.  You should also be able to put the leaf stems into a bowl of water in the fridge and have them remain fresh.  We never wash the whole leaf until we are ready to eat it.

    • BethTerry says:

      lseitter, very interesting. What do you think was the difference between the ice cooler and the refrigerator?

      • Carebags says:

         @BethTerry I think the difference is that the ice cooler contains more moisture. Live plants like lettuce carrots broccoli etc. need moisture

  40. kinifee says:

    I’m not sure that keeping veggies stored in water, that you even through away every few days, will keep their nourishing qualities. As far as I know they loose all their vital contents like vitamins etc. 

    • BethTerry says:

      Hi Kinifee.  I agree that it’s important to eat produce as quickly as possible to get the most nutrients from it.  But I don’t know of any better way to keep carrots and celery crunchy without plastic, even for just a few days, besides immersing in water.

      • Chele says:

         @BethTerry I have found you don’t have to keep them in water to keep them crisp. I leave them in the produce draw and when needed if they seem a bit limp, I sit them in ice water for awhile and they crisp right up.

  41. Hippie_68 says:

    I would love to see shelf life for each item displayed~Great site. Thank you for the info :)

  42. Diana Brimer says:

    Great information! Thanks for the great article.  dianabrimer 

  43. mrshinds says:

    Be sure to call all the companies whose products you purchase and ask them why they don’t use recyclable packaging — and if they do use recyclable packaging be sure to call them and say thanks.

  44. MiriamFrunchak says:

    I have learned that nutrients stay in the food when dehydrated, so this is what my choice is for off-season fruit and vegetables.

    • BethTerry says:

       @MiriamFrunchak That’s a great idea too.  I had a guest poster from a while back who wrote about that very thing on this blog.

  45. MarionSansing says:

    Loose salad greens: Put the salad greens (washed and spun dry) in a salad bowl cover with a plate and refrigerate. No reason for extra dishes.

    • BethTerry says:

       @MarionSansing I love the bowl/plate method for storing lots of foods that you are going to eat fairly soon.  I do it with small bowls and saucers, too.  The nice thing is they are stackable.

  46. Crunchy4Life says:

    vacuum seal mason jars esp for leafy vegs works for longer storage.

    • BethTerry says:

       @Crunchy4Life Hi Crunchy4Life.  For leafy veg, so you add water to the jar or not?  How long does it last?  And how do you not grow mold?  And are you referring to lettuce or things like chard, kale, spinach?  I would love more details.

      • Crunchy4Life says:

        google salad in a jar for some reason i wasnt able to copy and paste link

        • BethTerry says:

           @Crunchy4Life Here’s what I found:  It looks like a great idea if you already have a vacuum sealer.

        • Chele says:

           @BethTerry We do this method for loose salad and it keeps for 2 weeks or more. We got our vaccum sealer just for the mason jar attachment aspect. It keeps all of all spices etc. fresh while in dry storage.

  47. I just use mason jars for everything. Freezer-safe mason jars are widely available, and a good use for all those leftover lids that you cannot reuse. 

  48. SteveNNancyThiles says:

    I take lingerie bags to the grocery store and farmers market. At home I store everything in glass whether with water or without. Usually canning jars. Trying to get away from the plastic but I havent found anything to put my hubbys sandwich’s in that stay fresh in a ice cooler. Any idea’s????

    • BethTerry says:

       @SteveNNancyThiles Hi.  I love the stainless steel sandwich container from LunchBots.  Here’s my post those, as well as a few lunch bags.

    • mrshinds says:

       @SteveNNancyThiles I use cloths (dish towels, etc…) to wrap my hubby’s sandwiches — he takes his lunch in an old fashioned metal miner lunch box . That way he also has a cloth napkin too. I also wrap his fruit in that too. Works great – no plastic, no paper.

  49. KBB says:

    For root veggies, wouldn’t a small wooden box root cellar with clean sand work better? I’ve tried the water method and have wilting issues, but I haven’t done the root cellar, yet, as it is an upcoming project. I would love to know the comparison beforehand. Thanks!

    • BethTerry says:

      KBB, I have never tried the root cellar method, but I’ll be really interested to learn how yours turns out.  Please keep me posted.

  50. storage Tulsa OK says:

    Your commitment in having a plastic free life is admirable and these storage tips for the food that we love is great! Reading through, there were some produce storage tips that were interesting to learn! We can surely live a life without plastic and you are leading by example.

  51. marianne vigeland says:

    Gather a collection of recycled wide-mouthed glass jars- peanut butter and gallon pickle jars work well.
    Rearrange your refrigerator shelves to accommodate the new storage method. Think frontier ice box.

    Follow Berkeley food market guidelines for specific vegetables- some need water and/or lids, other don’t. Use cheesecloth and rubber bands to make a breathing environment.
    Gather baskets and tiered bowls to store room temperature produce. Onions and garlic like it dry- put them up high where rising warmth gathers. Root vegetables do better close to the floor.
    Visit a good restaurant and take a look at their methods.
    Use what’s going to go bad, first.
    Pay attention to the moon cycle- tolerate a little chaos and excess during the rise- then clean and organize during the fall.

  52. April says:

    I love your site! I am working on transitioning to a completely trash free lifestyle. And i am very anti-plastic. Great work!

  53. Once again, you save the day! We are slowly running out of the last box of Debbie Meyer produce saver bags, which are reusable but plastic nonetheless and do eventually wear out. I was sure I would find an answer to storing fruits and vegetables without plastic here, and you came through as always. Thank you so much!

  54. Shannon says:

    I bought lingerie bags for my produce. They are much cheaper than the bags that are specifically made for that purpose ($.50 each vs. $5.00 each).

  55. Beth Terry says:

    I would wash grapes and store in a bowl in the refrigerator.

  56. Alinna says:

    this has been so helpful for me when i come home with stuff from the farmer’s market — just scroll to the veg/fruit i’m trying to make last.

    one question — how do you store grapes?

  57. bren says:

    thanks so much for this! i printed it out and stuck it on my fridge so there are no more excuses for rotted food in there.

    i make reusable cloth produce bags and we store our salad greens in those. just get the bags a little damp and toss in the fridge.

  58. Honesty says:

    I place my salad greens in a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid. Before I put the lid on I place a dry paper towel on top, then close, invert and refridgerate. I have kept greens for about two weeks this way, as long as you change out the paper towel when things start to look like they might get soggy. I know I’m using plastic – but it was given to me and it doesn’t make much sense to throw it away… As far as the paper towels go, I let my 4 year old daughter “clean” with the damp towels before I compost them, and they really don’t need to be changed often. Being choosy which products you buy is as important as what you do with them when you’re done!

    • SoCalGT says:

      Paper towels work great for absorbing liquid but they are made using chemicals. Use clean cloth instead. Old clean, folded, white dish towels should work.

  59. nina says:

    Great post.
    We store loose salad in ceramic bowls covered with plates. Works well for us.

  60. Mrs Fuzzy says:

    Thanks for the article. I’m learning to grow salad stuff in the greenhouse so I can have greens when I want them… which is always in late winter. Living in Appalachia there is no such thing as “fresh vegetables” at that time without a greenhouse. I grow a lot of our food so the canner and dehydrator run non-stop from July through to October and the freezer is definitely a canner’s best friend because you can store lots of foods (especially fruit) without loss of quality until you can deal with it in a day or a week. For this kind of short-term freezing I use a large metal cake pan and freeze fruits between layers of waxed paper. If you don’t want to freeze… all squashes, zukes, tomatoes, mushrooms, herbs, and most fruits dry beautifully. I do then store my dried herbs in the freezer. When I need to “buy” more it’s always as green and tasty as it went in!

  61. Rosetta says:

    Home compostable cello bags are a great storage alternative to plastic containers. You can find these all natural plastic-free bags here

    *Tip* Be sure to purchase bags by size (not weight).

  62. Amy says:

    Store greens / salad in a cloth bag. Any breathable fabric will do.

  63. Beth,

    This is wonderful! I was looking for something EXACTLY like this just a few days ago and didn’t find anything (I should have checked your blog!). Anyways, I hope you don’t mind, but I’d love to post this over on LLP. I’ll give you and the Berkeley Market a shout out.

    And in regards to storing without plastic–I use a lot of parsley and cilantro in my cooking. Both of these herbs will keep for quite a long time if you put their stems in a glass of water (like a bouquet in a vase) and put them in the fridge. It’s awesome.

    Thanks again!


  64. lola says:

    Store greens / salad in a cloth bag. Any breathable fabric will do.

  65. Beth Terry says:

    Yikes, Allison! I had no idea. Thanks for letting us know. I’ll move those carrots to another container right away!
    .-= Beth Terry´s last blog ..We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Plastic Thing in the Middle of the Pizza =-.

  66. Allison says:

    What kills me about that photo is the carrots are clearly being stored in a piece of pottery that was Raku fired. To those who don’t know about toxicity in ceramics: Raku is a decorative glaze and should never be used on a functional item. You can see the dark cracks in the surface of the glaze. This means the glaze contracted when the pot cooled after the firing. Sure it looks neat, but you really shouldn’t eat out of it, let alone SOAK carrots in it. Raku glazes are loaded with toxic ingredients that can leach out into food. Look for another pot that does not have any surface cracks in the glaze and be suspect of anything with a vibrant color, especially red, yellow, orange, etc. Bland manufactured pots are best. Use the crazed Raku pot for flowers. Please get another pot to soak carrots in, I beg you.

  67. Sue Green says:

    I stopped using Plastic bags for produce years ago. I do alot of different things with my veggies to prolong their freshness and keep them in the fridge. As of late my favorite choice is Organic mesh Produce Bags. There is one company that makes them in North America, even the fabric ! Check out I have used mine for 2 years and they work really well, I’ve turned alot of my friends on to them.

  68. Beth Terry says:

    Hi Sakeenah. That is an Anchor Hocking glass refrigerator container. I wrote about them here:

    I got mine at The Container Store.

    I love them. They’re not airtlight, so you can’t store things in it for long periods of time, but for the purpose of cut carrots in water, it’s perfect. They come in bigger sizes too.
    .-= Beth Terry´s last blog ..Plastic Lives Forever =-.

  69. Sakeenah says:

    I like the glass storage container in your photo, where do you get these?
    .-= Sakeenah´s last blog ..Is there such a thing as Self-Sufficient Living? =-.

  70. Rosa says:

    Loose greens do fine in a glass container or a damp cloth bag, like a bunch of people said.

    Condoblues, chopped, blanched cooking greens (kale, chard, mustard greens, etc) freeze find. Any green you normally eat raw is not going to store very well.

    It’s all very well to only eat fresh when you live in California. Here, we just got the very first fresh greens a few weeks ago despite a very warm early spring – and that was pea tips, not salad greens. I’m pretty tired of cabbage at this point in the spring – been out of local squash since January, no local greens between December and April.

  71. Karen says:

    I do the same as Hethir — I take the lightweight cotton drawstring bags with me to the market, then dampen them at home and store them in the refrig drawer. The loose greens stay amazingly fresh and crispy.

  72. Sara says:

    trying to buy stuf without plastic packaging, try to recycle or reuse the plastic an support green economi as green store this is my favourite:

  73. Simple in France says:

    I think growing your own salad greens is one of the best options ever. You don’t need much light or space if you intend to eat the smaller sprouts or leaves. And you can always supplement your stock with regular and easier to store lettuce.

  74. We’re lucky to have a good number of shops very close to us so our solution is to buy little and often that way we don’t need to think about the bulky storage methods.
    .-= Crafty Green poet´s last blog ..Horses and Geese =-.

  75. Amber says:

    Moist tea towels, or even moist cloth produce bags, will keep salad greens for a day or two. When I buy them, I generally only buy enough to last me that long. My current strategy, actually, is to grow my own salad greens, which is entirely plastic-free, and very tasty. I just need to work out an arrangement with whatever keeps eating my lettuce shoots.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Praiseworthy? =-.

  76. Rob says:

    My Mason Jars come to mind. I store radishes and carrots in them (with water) and I use them like vases for storing Chard, Leaf Lettuce, etc. Just like you mention, change the water frequently
    .-= Rob´s last blog ..One For Da Guys =-.

  77. Mark says:

    I have gotten very “Marka Stewart” and sewed my own cloth bags to use at the market and in the crisper. I got the idea from watching a video on your site.
    tea towels sewn into bags- yes- just fold in half and sew the two sides- to hold lettuce, carrots, broccoli and other veggies in the crisper. they stay fresh for much longer than in plastic. I don’t wash them before storing- so the bags don’t get damp and mildewy.
    I also took old boxers and was able to make bags with drawstrings made from old shoe laces. These are great for regular Farmer’s Market shopping and for storage in the fridge a well.
    All bags can be washed after use.

  78. Cindy says:

    I buy tons of strawberries and other produce when they are in season and then I freeze them in quart-sized glass Mason jars to enjoy throughout the year. I try to go to one of the pick-your-own farms (and I bring my own box to put them in) or I shop for them at the farmers’ market (once again bringing my own bags).
    You can find new Mason jars just about everywhere or you can try local thrift stores if you want to reuse.

  79. Deb Hardy says:

    *blissful sigh* it’s such a joy to come to this page and see all the people like me. I don’t have a lot of people in my circle that are as “in” to all of this as me. And hearing that the Berkeley Farmer’s Market went plastic free is awesome. I actually just learned this past Saturday that it’s at a time I can actually go…so I can’t wait!

    We do a lot like others have said with greens, we line the “crisper” with a towel & then change it as necessary. I’ve heard of people using paper towels, but that creates such waste.

    Our biggest problem is finding greens that we like the taste of that aren’t packaged. We buy a brand called “OrganicGirl” and the packaging is compostable (plant derived plastic) but I still feel like this is cheating. I’m not sure if anyone can fix this problem for us, but they can try!


  80. Issa says:

    I put some veggies in water, like you mention. Especially radishes. I’ve got a ton of radishes coming out of the garden right now, but if I slice them and put them in water they last a really long time. Leafy greens I’ve always just set in the fridge without doing anything else to them. Other cut things, like half a tomato, I put in one of my glass storage containers, which do have plastic lids. I’ve been trying to figure how to get away from plastic or foil in the freezer. It’s great to freeze, say, fresh loaves of homemade bread, but I hate the plastic/foil waste. I do try to reuse the bags or foil, but it still bugs me.
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..Step One: Notice =-.

  81. Beth Terry says:

    Sudha, I guess maybe in some places loose greens only come in plastic bags. Out here, we can get them loose and unbagged from the grocery store and farmers markets. The mainstream grocery stores provide plastic bags to put them in and don’t allow you to use a cloth bag, but stores like Whole Foods will allow you to bring your own bags, and of course the farmers markets do too.

    If I lived in an area where loose greens only came in plastic bags, I would just not buy them. There are so many other veggies to choose from.
    .-= Beth Terry´s last blog ..Plastic-Free Living Discussion, Part 3 =-.

  82. Sudha says:

    loose green?…dont they come in plastic bags?
    .-= Sudha´s last blog ..Aamir Khan – Sanitation Champion for Indian Schools =-.

  83. Eleanor says:

    I’ve heard of people drying greens (Ms. Astyk’s book Independence Days, for example) but freezing them…. freezing a plant with such a high concentration of water will get you thawed wilted nasty slimy-ness. Ever been to a restaurant where some of your salad was a weird texture and looked more translucent than the rest? They stored the salad somewhere where it got frozen. I guess if you eat it before it thaws or like the texture produced, awesome. I’d do it to ONE leaf first to see. Spinach holds up ok, but I think they cook it first. Maybe arugula would do like spinach. If you can eat it cooked, I’m guessing it’d do ok frozen. But I prefer my greens fresh/seasonal. That way, right when I get tired of them, there are no more. And right when I wish I had some, the first arrive for the year.

  84. Shop and store your fruits and veggies in Blue Lotus Goods Produce and Bulk Food Bags!! All bags are made with with organic cotton and come in many different sizes and styles. The bags also have really cute prints like carrots and and greens.
    We moisten the bags slightly and store our leafy greens and veggies right in the bag in the fridge keeping your produce crisp and fresh. You can use the bags for bulk foods and all bags conveniently have the tare weight on them so you won’t get charged for the weight of the bag. They are awesome!! Go check them out!! Jill

  85. Rita Vail says:

    Oh. forgot to say that the towels are soaking wet!

  86. Rita Vail says:

    Thank you for the wonderful web site.

    I line the crisper with a thick hand towel and put another towel on top of the veggies. I also take my own jars to get bulk food, so they have the tare weight already on them. This works well for shitake mushrooms, which last for weeks in a jar in the fridge. With a big enough jar, you could get loose greens or anything else bulk this way.

  87. Dana says:

    I keep my loose lettuce and green leaves in a kitchen towel. I usually rinse them, and let them dry on a towel for a bit and after I’ve used all I need for that night’s salad, I transfer the rest to another towel, tie the ends criss-crossed, and drop them in the drawer in the fridge. They keep great this way!

  88. MollyB says:

    We use plastic without guilt. Large containers filled with water and produce take up too much space. Totally impractical. Then again we use paper towels and bathroom cups too. But we grow a lot of our own produce in the growing season. So it’s about balance.

  89. Hillary says:

    I’m curious about your statement that you don’t freeze fruits or veggies. I’m not sure whether this is coming from a locavore or anti-plastic stance, but why couldn’t you still satisfy both ideologies by freezing locally grown strawberries (for example) in glass or metal containers? Then you CAN has strawberries in December!

  90. condo blues says:

    Can you freeze lettuce and other greens for later? My husband and I signed up for 1/2 a CSA share this year. He’s convinced that it’s going to be too many vegetables for us to eat, and we love our fresh veggies! One of the benefits that I stuck by is that it would encourage us to freeze or possibly can the extra for winter. The thing I’m not so sure about will be the lettuce and other greens. Any help for long term storage?
    .-= condo blues´s last blog ..7 Areas for Easy Kitchen Spring Cleaning and Clutter Busting =-.

  91. AJP says:

    I pretty much keep everything in the crisper and try not to let things wilt. I eat a lot of veggies so usually things don’t stick around long enough to get wilted.

    Salad greens – these are really simple to grow yourself. Just get some mixed lettuce seeds and you can even grow them indoors in a container. Thin the leaves by eating them! Yum! No worries about the greens going bad. And you can grow them pretty much any time of year. This is the easiest veggie I’ve ever grown.

    When I get too much of one thing in my produce shipment I try to pickle, preserve or can somehow. I’ve made a lot of sauerkraut and plan to make lots of relishes, pickles and jams this summer.
    .-= AJP´s last blog ..Fully Fermented Dinner: Tempeh Reuben with Fiddlehead Ferns =-.

  92. mudnessa says:

    I wrap a damp cloth around my greens if it is a small bunch and like Danielle I have a salad spinner that keeps greens fresh for quite a long time. I have seen stainless steel salad spinners that I’m sure work just as well. I think it is the whole “layer of air” that keeps the greens “fresh”. I’ve never had any issues with carrots just hanging out in the fridge. I put my mushrooms cleaned into a bowl and put a damp cloth over them. I do freeze things that can be frozen because I am horrible at eating food in a timely manner and stuff like zucchini was always going bad on me.

  93. jenn says:

    I always freeze strawberries from any half-flat or flat I buy – I put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them individually; yes, I am guilty of using lots of ziploc bags, but I reuse them (sometimes for years) as long as they don’t have holes. Hard to store chanterelles without using them – they freeze flat and stack well in the freezer.
    .-= jenn´s last blog ..Potato Condo Harvest! =-.

  94. Danielle says:

    While I know it’s plastic… I’ve had a salad spinner for years. It works wonderful in storing greens :)
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..What’s SO Different?? =-.

  95. Hethir says:

    Hi Beth,
    We store our baby greens in a moist cotton produce bag. We take the bag to the farmers market, get our produce, then once we get home we moisten the outside of the bags and refrigerate it. We store most of our produce this way.
    .-= Hethir´s last blog ..Learn All About Worm Castings & Compost Tea, Episode #21 =-.

  96. Hethir says:

    Hi Beth,
    We store our baby greens in a moist cotton produce bag. We take the bag to the farmers market, get our produce, then once we get home we moisten the outside of the bags and refrigerate it. We store most of our produce this way.

  97. Mike says:

    I store greens in non-lidded bowls covered with a slightly damp paper towel. That works for several days.

  98. shona~LALA dex press says:

    I am able to store salad greens in a Pyrex lidded container that I line with a tea towel. I my have to change out the towel once during the storage. I found that they last a few more days this way. More recently I’ve been buying spinach in bunches, washing it all + storing it this way. One thing that is alluding me is I recall that sprouts could be bought by weight, not in the plastic containers, but I cannot find anyone who sells them this way. Guess it’s time to buy a sprouting bag.

    Thanks for the link to the storage tips + especially for passing along the store in water tip.
    .-= shona~LALA dex press´s last blog ..ALLEY SCORE =-.


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