The first step in proper storage is making sure your refrigerator is at the proper temperature. You will want to make sure your fridge is somewhere between 34 degrees and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If your fridge goes above 40 degrees, your food will spoil more quickly, but if the temperature is too low, the vegetables in your drawer will freeze.
Often, crisper drawers will have a mechanism to regulate how much moisture flows into and out of the drawer. Depending upon which vegetables you are storing, set the drawer to either let moisture out for drier veggies or keep moisture in for vegetables that need the humidity. Having a fridge with multiple crisper drawers is helpful in storing vegetables based upon their humidity needs.
Vegetables tend to be very sensitive to ethylene, a substance that comes from most fruits and a select number of vegetables. Because of this, storing fruits and vegetables separately is advised. Ethylene exposure is responsible for carrots turning bitter, the yellowing of certain green vegetables and lettuce turning brown. In addition to absorbing ethylene, some vegetables also absorb odors from other veggies. For example, the odor of apples is absorbed by carrots, cabbages and onions. If odor absorption occurs, it can affect the taste of the vegetable. Add a box of baking soda to the crisper drawer to help with odor absorption. After about two weeks, you'll want to shake out the top layer of the baking soda to maximize freshness.
Some vegetables benefit from being stored in a bag in the refrigerator rather than being out of a bag. These vegetables, such as artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and eggplant, should be placed in the crisper bin in perforated plastic or paper bags so that they can maintain moisture. However, some vegetables like lettuce don't do well with lots of moisture; for this reason, you should not wash your vegetables before storing, but before eating instead. With carrots, beets, radishes and parsnips, removing their tops prior to storage will help them keep longer. Similarly, the head of celery stalks should be covered before storing.
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