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question about vegetable and fruit storage


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I've decided to fill my pantry and cook from the pantry instead of plan a weekly menu, shop for it, and cook that reapeating each week. Rather, I'm trying out just filling the pantry with everything we use and then restocking items as they diminish.

 

Four things I have a question about: cabbage, onion, potatoes, lemons. I've read here and there about keeping a pantry plus got advice here. In at least one source, the above have been recommend for the pantry as opposed to the fridge.

 

I have always considered these to be fresh veggies and only purchased them as needed. I might buy a week's worth but not more. Other ppl seem to keep these on hand. How? Is there a special way to store them?

 

I'd appreciate any help!

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cabbage, onion, potatoes, lemons.

 

I treat onions, garlic, potatoes, celery, and in the winter carrots as "pantry items", in the sense that I try to always have them on hand, and restock when they are in danger of running out. That said, I keep them in the fridge, not the pantry closet.

 

In the same way, I keep frozen berries, chopped spinach, brocolli, pesto, butter, and so on in the freezer as "pantry" items.

 

I do know folks who keep onions, garlic, and potatoes in bins or other non-fridge storage situations. I wouldn't do it with cabbage or lemons, though.

 

The key is to have a sense of how much you will use over the time it will take for the item to go bad, and plan your purchase amount accordingly. It's actually the same for canned goods and other shelf items; the time will be longer but not infinite.

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I treat onions, garlic, potatoes, celery, and in the winter carrots as "pantry items", in the sense that I try to always have them on hand, and restock when they are in danger of running out. That said, I keep them in the fridge, not the pantry closet.

 

In the same way, I keep frozen berries, chopped spinach, brocolli, pesto, butter, and so on in the freezer as "pantry" items.

 

I do know folks who keep onions, garlic, and potatoes in bins or other non-fridge storage situations. I wouldn't do it with cabbage or lemons, though.

 

The key is to have a sense of how much you will use over the time it will take for the item to go bad, and plan your purchase amount accordingly. It's actually the same for canned goods and other shelf items; the time will be longer but not infinite.

 

That's how I've always treated these particular things b/f, as well. I do consider the entire collection of food in the kitchen as part of the pantry. All those berries and broccoli in the freezer as well as all that ketchup and mayo in the fridge. All of it is, in the general sense, the pantry.

 

However, reading up on filling the pantry, cabbage, lemons, onions, and potatoes were specifically mentioned by ppl as non-cold storage items. This is new to me as well. It seems to me that if I were going to keep a few head of cabbage in the pantry closet for longer than a week, something besides just putting it there would have to be done with it. I mean, it would go bad. I think. I've never actually tried it.

 

So that's why I'm asking. This seems unusual to me. How is it done?

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I find that if the carrots are sealed in baggies with most of the air out and a tiny bit of moisture, that they keep very well in the fridge. Onions can last a long time. Lemons, maybe two weeks..potatoes in a cool place with newspaper between each layer in the crates but look them over every few days and get rid of any that are getting suspect...also, keep them in the dark. They sprout eyes and shrivel faster in the sonlight. Instead of newspaper, you can layer with potting soil if you have some on hand. This keeps them nice and dry which is important.

 

I've just never had any luck storing citrus in the long term. I have taken clementine/mandarin oranges when in season and cheap, and canned them in jelly jars with water and a little honey (I don't like to make sugar syrups). They make a yummy canned fruit to have on hand.

 

Faith

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We have onions in the freezer. I harvest them from the garden and then chop them and freeze them. It's nice to be able to just scoop out what I need and throw them in some oil or broth. :001_smile:

 

I keep potatoes in the pantry. I buy them every 4-6 weeks, and they keep just fine.

 

We don't eat cabbage. Dh thinks it's icky. :D

 

We rarely use lemon, so I just buy it when I need it. I never thought of keeping one in the pantry.

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I keep onions, potatos, and garlic in the pantry rather than the fridge. And lemons in a bowl on the table. Wash them first because they often have mold spores on them when you bring them home, but a good wash gets rid of them and then they last 2-3 weeks on the table. They look pretty and make the house smell fresher.

 

The others I keep in the veggie drawer in the fridge.

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I keep my cabbage in the fridge, but it keeps well for at least a month (we like cabbage, so it's not likely to last that long). I keep onions in a pantry cupboard, and they last well for a month - 6 weeks. I have a bin for potatoes, and those keep well for the same duration if you put an apple in with them (it helps keep them from getting eyes). Lemons will keep for a month in the fridge, although they don't stay as pretty looking as when they are fresh -- they are still great for juice. If your lemons are looking old before you'll use them, you can juice them and freeze in ice cube trays.

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In my sister and in my grandma's house, there is a root cellar. Basically it's an unheated room with good air flow. That's how things used to be kept before refrigerators. It wasn't at all uncommon to keep the items you mention plus squashes and apples for the majority of the winter. Modern houses don't have these rooms (which I've discovered I'd dearly love one) so we can't keep things quite the same way.

 

 

I buy 50 pounds of onions in the fall and leave them in the garage until it's close to freezing in there (which is usually several weeks after the hard frost outside just because having walls provide a natural buffer against the cold). Whatever remains, gets brought in and put in a box on our landing near the front door. We have a huge draft and so that keeps that spot colder than our general house temperature and things keep longer there.

 

I always use the ones that are starting to sprout first. But typically I go through that amount in 3-4 months. If for some reason I found that were sprouting to fast, I would clean them up and stick them in the freezer but most years we can keep up just fine.

 

Potatoes I tend to just buy a 10 pound bag every couple of weeks. Because I don't really have a good cool and DARK place, I can't keep them as well but I do just drop the bag on the floor of the closet where my overflow groceries are kept.

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I've never heard about citrus, but we keep potatoes, onions, and garlic on a closet. If too cold (like a fridge) potatoes start to process their sugars into starch. Keeping them in the fridge changes their texture and taste.

 

Also, apples should not be kept with potatoes. They react to each other in a bad way.

 

We buy 50lb of potatoes cheap once it gets cold and keep them in a closet which faces the outside of the house (10-20 degrees colder then the rest of the house). I also have lentils, rice, and flour in there.

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Potatoes need a cool, dry, dark place and I know lots of folks who store them in their pantries, but because I do not use them at every meal I keep mine in the bottom drawer of my fridge so that they keep longer.

 

Likewise, apples and cabbages used to be kept over winter in root cellars. I don't know anyone who keeps those in pantries now days, but some folks keep a bowl of apples on the table if they go through them pretty quickly. I tend, again, to keep those items in the fridge (we don't eat cabbage regularly and I like my apples cold)....

 

I do keep citrus fruit out on the counter because it makes it more flavorful and easier to eat if it's at room temperature. You can get more juice out of a lemon that is room temperature. I had oranges and grapefruits on my kitchen counter through the Christmas holidays. I've still got half a crate of Clementines that no one has eaten and I'm getting ready to juice them....

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Also, apples should not be kept with potatoes. They react to each other in a bad way.

 

Apples actually help potatoes last longer -- they keep them from sprouting.

 

ETA: Ok, upon googling this, I see two distinct camps. I heard that the apples help, and they certainly seem to in my potato bin, but I see the exact opposite opinion on other websites. I do know that potatoes and onions shouldn't be stored together, but now I'm not sure what to think on the apple issue. I put an apple in with my potatoes over 2 months ago, and the potatoes seemed to last much longer. The apple is still firm, too. Hmmm.......

Edited by Jen in PA
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