Nothing says “tasty” like a carrot pulled from the refrigerator that proceeds to flop over like a spaghetti noodle, right? Hmmm… maybe not so much.
Produce like carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips can only maintain their firm texture by staying moist. However, if they are kept too damp they will turn slimy, just like improperly stored leafy greens. Neither taste good.
The solution is actually very easy. By creating an environment that maintains humid, but not wet conditions, you will be able to keep your harvest or your store-bought produce for a very long time and in good condition.If you are starting with store-bought produce, you will get to skip the cleaning steps, as that should have already been done. However, an extra rinse will still be needed for the final set-up. If you are starting with your own harvest, or produce bought from a non-commercial source, cleaning will be essential.
I know what you’re saying. You’ve been told for years not to get your produce wet before putting it in the refrigerator otherwise it will get moldy. That’s because the people that told you weren’t doing it right. Cleaning of root vegetables is essential before the method of storage I use because dirty produce will REALLY spoil more quickly due to all the little critters living in the soil on your food. Cleaning thoroughly will help to reduce their numbers, and also provide the moisture needed to keep your veggies at their prime.
It will also be important to remove any greens that are still attached. Many of these greens are edible and very good for you, so don’t be so quick to toss them into the compost. Do some research first from reputable sources to be sure, and store them separately. You want those greens removed because they can cause more moisture loss from the roots, and tend to go bad more quickly which will shorten the storage life of your veggies.Take a large plastic tub that has a tight fitting lid and line it with a clean muslin cloth, tea towel, or several layers of cheese cloth. You don’t want to use paper towels as they tend to not work as well, and aren’t reusable. Place your clean and still slightly wet veggies into the tub. Cover the vegetables with the edges of the cloth, or another cloth, and cover with the lid tightly. Turn the tub upside down for a little while to allow the moisture to drip to the top as well, then place the tub in your refrigerator.The cloth will absorb the moisture throughout the tub which keeps the produce hydrated, but will not be so wet as to make it soggy. No more limp carrots or withered beets!