Grapes & greens in glass jars
This year I followed up on a four year old Chowhound tip about putting unwashed strawberries in glass jars and keeping them in the fridge to extend their life.
The average time they will keep fresh from the farm taste is two weeks.
budino's strawberry tip
Grapes, it turns out may last even longer. The grapes I had for breakfast this morning were two weeks old and as crispy and fresh as when I bought them from the farmers market two weeks ago.
The control group of grapes that I just put in the fridge in a bowl, barely lasted a week and were going raison-y.
Blueberries lasted two weeks and were pristine and still crisp in that blueberry way of being crisp.
The greens were a tie with the way I usually store them ... in a plastic bag with the top left open.
With herbs, loosely pack in the jar.
Parsley - The jar stuffed with lots of standard curly parsley is still good, but not as sharp as the parsley that was loosely packed in another jar. That parsley is like the day I bought it from the market two weeks ago. The parsley in the plastic bag is just beginning to go.
Basil - This did better than the plastic bag. The purple basil in plastic slimed out over a week ago. It is still good, if not pristine, in the glass jar. The green basil is still good to go, not farm-fresh but usuable. Don't have a comparison for this since I forgot to put green basil in the plastic bag
Lettuce mix - Plastic bag and glass jar stood up equally well and I'm still eating this two weeks later. This was direct from the farmers market lettuce and super fresh which may be why it lasted so long.
With herbs, blot them with a towl before putting in a jar. Since jars cause moisture build-up, blotting any addtional moisture before putting into the jar keeps the chances of sliming out to a minimum.
To recap other produce various people have sucessfully stored in glass jars this summer:
Berries - ESPECIALLY raspberries/blackberries which almost seem to reverse the aging process.
Cherry tomatoes - when they finally need to go in the fridge, this will extend their life a little
chile peppers (jalapenos and serranos)
Stone fruit - It doesn't do much for them except keep the fruit flies away from them. They last the same amount of time as leaving them in a bowl.
So little fruit was lost this summer and enjoyed for longer times thanks to the glass jar method. Thanks again budino, wherever you are.
Doesn't the basil lose flavor being in the fridge at all? I trim the stems on a bunch of it and keep it in a jar of water on the counter - it will keep for several weeks, sprouting new leaves, and if it was really fresh it will sometimes root so you can plant it. Works best with the farmser's market basil, but even supermarket basil in those plastic packs is often fresh enough to keep this way.
I'm in love with the thought of keeping berries fresh beyond a day or so, and will try it with the raspberries and blueberries which are available now... joining in the thanks to budino.
You know, I would say you might be right about refrigerated basil losing some flavor. However, it might just be that the smell is dulled by the cold.
Personally, in the future I'd probably store basil like you mentioned, in a water-filled glass on the counter. However, I have some almost spooky luck with basil. My basil roots and lasts almost forever.
What is the paper bag in the crisper thing?
My mushroom test was two packs of dead white and fresh mushrooms from the supermarket. One pack I left in the supermarket packing unopened. The other pack was opened and the mushrooms put in the glass jar.
The supermarket mushrooms started to go bad first and 'had' to be fried ... with butter and onions. The glass jar lasted another week and could have went longer, but I ate them.
No kidding about thos apricot-colored raspberries. I bought some at a farmers market and usually need to eat them as soon as I get home. In the glass jar I was able to eat them the next morning for breakfast. I didn't want to push it with those delicate berries, but I was thrilled to be able to keep them even one day.
Paper bag works great. Just pop mushrooms in one, roll/close the top & toss in fridge anywhere for me. They will keep until they dry out. If they dry out before I can use them all, I remove stems, chop, grind to powder in my non-coffee bean grinder & use as a flavor enhancer in sauces & soups.
And thanks again budino, and rwo for remembering it. A friend grows apricot-colored sweet raspberries that barely last hours after picking--in the jar they keep for days, allowing accumulation for jam-making. She is thrilled. I was happy to go blueberry picking and not have to freeze them. Will have to try chilis. Anybody tested mushrooms in jars against the paper bag in crisper method?