I wanted to make some pico and so took cilantro out of the fridge. One has to have plenty of cilantro if one wants good pico- de gallo.
Eww! It was slimy in its plastic bag. Gross (and yet I picked through it to see if any was salvageable.)
And that got me to thinking that there must be a better way to store this kind of produce. Cilantro is very fragile. I can’t even grow it properly. If I plant a plant of it, it goes straight to seed (if the lawn man doesn’t step on it first.) If I grow it from seed…well I don’t have the patience to start it from seed. I can’t grow it, so I have to buy it. And now how to store it?
Anyway, you may have heard about how it is better to store foods in glass instead of plastic. Plastic bad. Glass good. Just storing vegetables in the plastic bags you get from the store is like suffocating them, killing them slowly. How would you like to be wrapped up in plastic and put in the ice box? Well, corpses are I guess. So we treat much of our produce like so many dead bodies! The idea is to keep your produce alive as long as possible. To not let them know they are dead or on the brink.
Yet my crisper is full of plastic bags of dying, gasping vegetables.
I looked up online how to store produce without plastic bags. Call it a whim if you want, but…
A wonderful site came up from the Berkeley Farmers Market. It was put on by “Washington’s Green Grocer”. The other websites all referred to this one. So if you want to know more about what to do with your sweet potatoes or nectarines, just follow the link and read! There is even a downloadable pdf of it for printing (which I have sitting right here on my desk).
I am trying out something new with the romaine that might or might not work. I am standing it up in a bowl with a little water. We will have to see if it stays perky or gets a wilty. The website says to store lettuce in an airtight container in the fridge. But I didn’t have an airtight container big enough! So is it back to plastic bags? Thats why I am trying the bowl of water method.
Another way, if that doesn’t work, is to wrap it in a damp clean dish towel and place in the crisper. It would mean checking it now and again to make sure it stays a little damp.
I had some canning jars to store some nuts and trail mix in. See some of moms pickles there too. I hope the celery thing works. I might put it, bowl and all, in the outside fridge.
Like many people, it is not in our budget to run out and buy all glass storage containers. But I will use what I have and add to it bit by bit. Celery, it says, does best standing in a bowl of shallow water on the counter top. So, I hear (although it’s not on the list) does parsley. Stand it up like a vase of flowers. So I imagine cilantro would be the same, right? Next time I buy some, when I get home and before they get slimy, I will cut off the ends and put them in a cup of water on the counter and see if they don’t last. If they start looking sad, I might keep it in the cup and put it in the fridge.
So my quest for how to store cilantro gave me instead a whole list on how to store other produce. That is a good deal I think.
Besides cutting off the air and making the produce rot, the plastic is very degradable and leaves chemicals you would not like on your food.
I have stored some of the produce in better grade plastic containers, not bags. Some day I will replace them with glass ones. But for now they are better than the bags.