12 fruits and vegetables that keep for a month or more
There are so many lovely fruits and vegetables that keep a surprisingly long time if you just treat them right and use them in rotation
Funnily enough I have often been in the position of having to plan for a month's food in one shop without the possibility of going back because I have lived aboard a ship – and yet, being an obsessive cook, I want every meal to taste as fresh and exciting as the last. So, I thought I would pass on some of my storage tips!
So, let's get started with some basic vegetables, that alongside some pulses, pasta, tinned tomatoes, oil and spices allow you to have a really strong repertoire of store cupboard cooking possibilities – without stepping out of the door for a month.
Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels
Onions are such a staple and keep really well. In fact, given the right conditions you can keep them for six months. They love a dry, cool, well ventilated space but the fridge is just too cold for them. In an ideal world you should store them in wooden boxes with newspaper at the bottom in a well ventilated place like the cellar, pantry or pushed under a unit. In fact on the boat we put them under the floor and in the wardrobes. Perhaps you have a space in your wardrobe?
Keep the onions well spaced out and make sure that they stay dry.
Garlic also loves a dark and dry place, but needs more circulation – although it doesn't matter as much if you pile them high, so a wire basket in a kitchen cupboard is perfect. When you buy them, check that they are firm and closely packed as these will last the longest.
Whole ginger is best if you buy the biggest chunks possible and put them into the crisper drawer in a freezer bag with the air squeezed out.
Actually you can use ginger even if it is quite dry as long as it has not gone soggy.
So, chillies will survive well in a plastic box in the fridge but may not make a whole month – so if you keep half in the fridge and half in the freezer it is the best way. I know it's cheating a bit but it will get you through the month.
Lemons and limes
Lemons and limes will keep well in the fridge in ziplock bags, and should get you through the month to create gorgeous salads (and importantly, pep up your gin and tonic!).
It's important to know that you must not wash potatoes before you store them. The best way to keep them is to use a wicker basket and put newspaper at the bottom. They must be stored in a cool, dry and dark place and under no circumstances be allowed to get wet.
Check on them on a regular basis and throw away any that rot, otherwise it will spread rapidly and spoil your store.
I find cabbage a godsend whether it is red or green. I get the really firm round ones and wrap them in a pet pad (an incontinence pad in other words) with the plastic side on the outside and put it in the crisper drawer. Not only can you use it as a vegetable you can also use it finely shredded as a replacement for salad. Even if it is close to the end of its life it still makes great coleslaw so it always justifies its space in the fridge.
Carrots need to be stored in plastic bags at the bottom of the fridge. As long as they don't get wet or exposed to the air too much they will be fine.
Many types of squash last a really long time. Look for one that is heavy for its size and that has no bruises or cuts. Store it in a dark cupboard. Once you have cut into it you would be best to use it all as it will then only keep fresh in the fridge for a couple of days. It makes fantastic soup though so I would generally use any spare for that and then freeze it to pull out for a lazy winter supper.
And finally, apples and oranges
These are such a healthy sweet treat it is worth always having some around. If you keep them in a zip bag in the crisper drawer they should still be fresh and juicy to enjoy at the end of the month.