As confinement measures keep most folks at home, we're all looking to reduce our trips to the grocery store. Sometimes, that means we're relying on wine and meal delivery services. We've even started growing our own fruit and veg at home. But there are other ways to enjoy fresh, delicious produce without braving the supermarket daily.
While some fruits and vegetables like baby spinach or seasonal strawberries are best when eaten as fresh as possible, others can keep for quite a while in the pantry or fridge. Here's what we're stocking at home.
Vegetables and Greens
Vitamin and antioxidant-rich kale is a phenomenal superfood to keep around during confinement, not just for its flavor and health benefits, but also because, as a member of the cabbage family, it actually keeps quite well. Wash your kale and wrap it in a dish towel before putting it in the fridge to help dry it, stay green and vibrant. You can also massage it with a vinaigrette and store in a covered container: it will only get more flavorful the longer it marinates.
2. Collard Greens
Yet another member of the cabbage family, collard greens are hardier than many other leafy greens. Braised or raw, these vegetables are rich in vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and vitamin K.
Another member of the brassica family, cauliflower is a great staple to keep in the fridge for ricing, roasting, or puréeing into soups. Keep the head whole to prevent it from drying out, and only cut it into florets or process it into rice grains just before cooking and serving.
It's no surprise that if the crucifers above are great pantry staples, granddaddy cabbage is too. Red and green cabbage can both keep for up to two months in the pantry, and you can preserve them even longer by fermenting them into homemade sauerkraut or kimchi.
It's not called a root cellar for no reason! Root vegetables have an incredibly long shelf life, and the humble beet is no exception. Store beets in the cellar or in another cool, dark place. Remove their greens if they are still attached and store them separately to extend their shelf life even further.
Rutabagas featured heavily in the subsistence cooking of World War II for good reason: these hardy roots will keep up to five months in your root cellar or basement. Roasted rutabaga is a delicious, vitamin-rich alternative to roasted potatoes, but rutabaga is also fantastic mashed and spiced with a hint of nutmeg.
From pumpkin to kabocha to spaghetti squash, hardy winter cucurbitae are excellent additions to your pantry during confinement. Unbruised, uncut squash can keep for three to five months in the cellar or pantry. Rich in potassium and vitamin A, these veggies couldn't be tastier or more versatile. Check out our favorite butternut squash recipes for inspiration.
The humble spud will stick around two to three months, provided it's kept in the dark. Potatoes can quickly go green if stored in a spot with too much light or too much moisture. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from other produce, particularly onions, which release ethylene gas and can make potatoes spoil more quickly.
From the Organic Authority Files
9. Sweet Potatoes
Like their savory cousin, sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to your root cellar. Roasted, mashed, or cooked up into a comforting soup or casserole, sweet potatoes are brimming with vitamin A, fiber, and potassium.
Onions have a lot of moisture, so they can quickly go bad... if stored improperly. Keep your onions in a cool, dry place, and cover them loosely with paper or a cloth. Consider storing them in a wicker or wire basket, which will increase air flow and prevent spoiling.
Garlic doesn't just have a long shelf life – it has a phenomenal laundry list of health benefits. The anti-microbial, anti-bacterial benefits of garlic are more sought-after now than ever before. Enjoy garlic in a butter bean dip or whiz it in the food processor with some cauliflower for this delicious play on hummus.
Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a great low-carb alternative to potatoes, boasting a slight celery aroma. In France, it's commonly eaten raw with a remoulade sauce, but it's also delicious cooked into a smooth, savory purée.
Carrots are rich in vitamin A and potassium, and they will keep for several weeks in the fridge. They'll last even longer if you pickle them in a savory brine.
This root veggie looks like a white carrot but boasts a nutmeggy essence. Combined with shelf-stable canned chickpeas, it makes a delicious, moreish vegetarian curry. Refrigerated, parsnips will last for about a month.
Apples are frequently harvested and then stored on-site at the orchard for up to six months. You can keep them this long at home, as long as you store them in an area with high humidity and a temperature between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But never fear: even if all you've got is a fridge, apples will keep for up to two months.
Rich in vitamin C, oranges are an excellent snack to keep around during confinement to improve your immunity. Unlike many other fruits, oranges won't ripen any further after being harvested. They keep best in the fridge, where they'll stay fresh for about a month.
Like their cousins oranges, grapefruits keep well in the fridge. They're also rich in vitamin A, and some studies have indicated they might be a useful appetite suppressant (so if you've been spending confinement contemplating the open fridge, they're definitely a good fruit to have around!) Enjoy plain or in a vibrant salad paired with crisp fennel.
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