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In each newsletter, we share information on the positive impact Riverview Gardens has in the community and on the people we serve. In addition, you can find delicious, nutritious recipes using items found in our CSA shares. We also include other little facts, tips and fun ideas.
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When buying asparagus, choose bright green stalks with tightly closed tips. Store asparagus in a bag in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in damp paper towel. When preparing asparagus, hold the bottom end with one hand and the middle of the stalk with the other hand and snap off the bottom. The asparagus will break where the woody section starts.
In the Fridge: Store unwashed beans in a reusable container or plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. Beans should keep for about a week.
In the Freezer: Rinse your beans in cool water and then drain. Cut the ends of the beans off then cut the beans to a preferred length. Next, you will blanch the beans by adding them to rapidly boiling water. Cover the pot and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking. Leave them in the ice water for 3 minutes. Drain well. Finally, but the beans in a freezer bag or an airtight reusable freezer container. Remove as much as possible from the bag to prevent freezer burn.
Store in the refrigerator in a resealable plastic bag, keeping the air inside, for up to a week. You can also place the stems standing up in a glass jar filled with a few inches of water and covered with a plastic bag. Do not wash until ready to use the chives, as excessive moisture will promote decay.
Freeze dry chives – first chop them and then place them on a cookie sheet; put uncovered in the freezer. When they are dry and brittle, transfer to a glass spice jar and seal tightly. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. You may also freeze them whole or snip and place in a freezer bag; some people believe this is a better way to maintain the flavor compared to the freeze-drying method.
Ice cube trays – snip the chives into an ice cube tray and then add oil or water to cover. Freeze. Later pop the cubes into recipes to melt and add flavor. It is best to add fresh chives toward the end of cooking.
First, wash off any dirt or grime from the cucumbers. Second, make sure they are dried thoroughly. Once dry, wrap them in a clean dish towel or paper towel. Next, tuck the wrapped cucumbers into a grocery store plastic bag. Keep the bag open for airflow. The best place to store them is in the fridge in the crisper drawer. They will stay fresh for about a week. If you use half of a cucumber cover open end in plastic wrap and place back in the fridge.
Three important things to keep in mind when storing garlic:
Keep the head whole—This the best way to store fresh garlic. Kept this way the head will stay fresh for a few months. Once the garlic bulb is broken apart it will keep for about 3-10 days.
Think dry and dark—Light and moisture cause mold to grow on the garlic bulb. Store garlic at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has plenty of air circulation, like in a wire-mesh or open paper bag in a cupboard or pantry.
Avoid the fridge—In the fridge the garlic will begin to sprout in a few days. Sprouted garlic is still edible, but is sometimes a little bitter-tasting.
To store peeled garlic—keep it in an airtight container to prevent garlic smells from wafting through the fridge. Try to use the garlic up with in a day or so to prevent sprouting and loss of flavor.
They keep well in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to three weeks. They will keep a few days and will look beautiful in a glass with a little cool water in it. Be sure to change the water daily. They can be used just like garlic in recipes.
In the Fridge: They will last 1-2 weeks. To preserve the flavor and quality, store the peppers in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of your fridge. It is best to keep the moisture out.
In the Freezer: Slice or chop them up and place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, place the pieces in zip-top freezer bags for future use.
If using soon – The best way to store herbs is to clip off the bottom of their stems, remove any wilted or brown leaves and put them in a jar or water glass with an inch of water at the bottom. Keep them in the refrigerator and change the water every couple of days. Hardier herbs (woody stems like rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme) can be store wrapped up in a damp paper towel and then wrapped in plastic wrap.
If storing longer – Harder herbs can be stored just as they would be in the refrigerator and stash them in a resealable freezer bag and label. You can even portion out smaller amounts of herbs in their plastic wrapped casings and place them all in a freezer bag. For tender herbs (tender stems like basil, parsley, cilantro and tarragon), blend up with a tablespoon of olive oil or water and put them in ice cube trays to freeze. You can then store the cubes in freezer bags. If you don’t have ice cube trays, you can put chopped herbs into a freezer bag, add water or oil, squeeze out as much water and you can and freeze flat. They will last in the freezer for several months.
A great fact about honey is that it doesn’t spoil!
Simply keep it in a cool location away from any direct sunlight, in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. It should not be refrigerated. Be sure to avoid exposing the honey to heat and moisture. Make sure the container is sealed tight and use a dry spoon when dipping into the jar. Even a small amount of water can promote fermentation.
Honey can be stored frozen in a container with room for expansion. Freezing protects the integrity of your raw product and stops crystallization. It can be frozen for several years. When you are ready to use, thaw at room temperature in sealed containers. A creative way to freeze is to use silicon trays to freeze small portions. These small portions can be used as a great way for relief from sore throat pains or coughs. Just pop out a frozen cube and put in hot tea.
Raw honey may crystallized; it is not harmful. If your honey crystallizes, you can easily re-liquify it. Place the jar in a pan of hot water and stir while gently heating it. Be careful not to overheat. Avoid using the microwave, it can heat too quickly.
Fridge—Best place to store hot peppers is the refrigerator. Place the peppers in a plastic bag and keep them in the crisper drawer. You don’t need to wash them before storing. It’s best for them to be dry, as water can cause them to rot quicker. If peppers are stored at the correct temperature, they will keep up to 2-3 weeks.
Room Temp—Hot peppers stored at room temperature can last 1-2 weeks, depending on the age of the pepper. Place them in paper bags and keep them in a cool dark place, like the pantry.
In the Freezer—Wash the peppers clean, dry them completely, slice the peppers open and remove the stems. Remove seeds and membrane if desired. You can chop the peppers up or freeze them whole. Transfer the peppers to freezer bags and remove as much air as possible. Set the peppers in the freezer and use as needed. Frozen hot peppers should last about 6 months. To thaw hot peppers, simply remove the amount you need and let them come to room temperature.
Store whole bunches in the refrigerator. Wrap the kale bunch in a layer of paper towels and store in a supermarket plastic bag or a ziplock plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer. The kale should be in great shape for a week.
Store washed, prepped greens in the refrigerator. Kale is so hardy, it will rarely wilt. It is one of the only greens that you can wash and prep in advance.
Stem, slice or tear the leaves, rinse, dry well in a salad spinner or with kitchen towels. Store the leaves in a paper towel in a ziplock bag for up to 3 days.
Blanch and freeze the leaves. To blanch, set a large pot of salted water to oil and prep a large bowl of ice water. Remove the kale leaves from the stems using a paring knife or your hands. When the water boils, toss in the kale leaves and cook until they brighten in color, 1-2 minutes. Drain in a colander, transfer to the ice water to cool. Dry the blanched kale thoroughly using a salad spinner or paper towels, then freeze the dry leaves on a flat rimmed baking sheet until frozen solid, 1-2 hours. Once they’re frozen, transfer the kale leaves to a freezer bag ad store in the freezer for up to 8 months.
Leaves – trim the leaves from the stem and place them in a ziplock baggie with a damp paper towel in the crisper of your refrigerator. Wait to wash the leaves until right before you are ready to consume them or they will rot quickly. Storing the leaves this way will keep them fresh and edible for about a week.
Bulb – remove the leaves and stems from the bulb. Store the bulb in a ziplock bag (no paper towel) in the crisper of your refrigerator. With the kohlrabi bulb stores this way, it will last for about a week.
Store in the refrigerator. Adding a little bit of water to the bottom of the container will keep the lettuce fresh.
Remove moisture by placing microgreens between two paper towels. Once moisture has been removed, place them into a plastic bag or container with the lid on. Store them in the fridge for up to a week. Keep them covered right up until you add them to a dish to ensure freshness.
Whole Onions—Store in a cool, dark, dry well-ventilated room or cabinet. Avoid keeping them in cloth or plastic bags, instead opt for a mesh bag or box with holes or slats to make sure they get enough ventilation. They can be stored for about a month.
Peeled or Cut Up Onions—Best way to store these onions are to refrigerate them in an airtight container and can last for up to 10 days.
Store at Room Temp: You can store radishes on your kitchen counter for 2-4 days. Submerge the bulbs in a bowl of cold water. Change the water daily. To prolong their life, move the radish bath to fridge where they will stay fresh for a week.
In the Fridge: Clean radish bulbs can be stored in a mason jar filled with water for up to 10 days. Or store clean radish bulbs in a plastic bag between layers of damp paper towels. Squeeze out excess air before sealing the bag. They can chill this way for up to 14 days.
In the Basement: Fill an old shoebox with damp dirt. Bury the radishes one-by-one in the shoebox planter. Be sure to separate them so the stems and leaves aren’t touching. The radishes will stay fresh for up to 3 months in their box, provided your cellar lacks sunlight and heating.
Use the Leaves! You can put them to good use by preparing them like you would any other type of green. Wash well and add to your salad!
The best way to store your tomatoes depends on the ripeness of them.
Under-ripe: If your tomato has a while to go before it’s ripe, you can leave it out on the counter for a few days to ripen. You don’t want to put in in the cold fridge—this causes damage to the tomato’s membranes that results in minimal flavor development, and a soft mealy texture when it’s brought back to room temp.
Ripe: They are best stored around 55 degrees to 70 degrees, in a wine or root cellar. This temperature will keep the tomato from ripening or being damaged by the cold. If you don’t have a wide variety of temperature zones in your home, fully ripe tomatoes will survive refrigeration. This will help keep your tomatoes in peak condition for more than a few days. Just be sure and plan for recovery time. Keep them on the counter for a couple of days before use to help them recover their flavor.
Over-ripe: Don’t keep a squishy tomato sitting on your counter. Putting it in the fridge will keep it from ripening more and the flavor of the tomato won’t be negatively affected.
Store in the Fridge: If you’re using zucchini soon, keep them whole, dry and unwashed. Place them in a plastic or paper bag with one end open. This will ensure air circulation. Then pop them in the fridge crisper drawer. There they’ll keep for 1 to 2 weeks.
Blanch & Store in the Freezer: Zucchini will keep for 3 months in the freezer. Wash the zucchini and slice them into ½-inch rounds and blanch them. Bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Toss the zucchini slices in into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, just until brightly colored and slightly tender. Drain them in a colander right away and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. When cool, drain them in the colander and pace them in freezer bags in 1 or 2 cup batches. You can also freeze grated zucchini. When defrosting just drain off the extra liquid or use in a soup.