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Handy Hints and useful tips for keeping vegetables fresh

Keeping Potatoes Longer


  When you buy them you can never know how old potatoes are, and often they start sprouting eyes before you use them. We were always told to store them in a cardboard box left in a cool place which didn't make a lot of difference. Then our friend and ASOH team member in the UK said: "I put mine in the fridge." He also mentioned that it was best to let the potatoes reach room temperature before cooking.
  Anyway, we tried it, placing half a dozen spuds in the vegie drawer of the fridge and left the rest in the box. As you can see from the picture it works. Why not give it a go - what have you got to lose, except for a few unwanted eyes?

Keeping Celery Fresh
  Most vegies last well in the fridge, as does celery. One time when we were camped in the bush without power and not even a bag of ice to keep things cool, we stumbled across a way to help a half-bunch of celery survive for quite a long while. The idea was simple enough - placing the root base in water, just like cut flowers. As it happened, our half-bunch lasted a lot longer than the other half that our friends kept in their caravan fridge; and as a bonus, new leaves began growing on ours from the centre.
  More recently and back in civilisation, we used the same method, mainly because the fridge was already chock-a-block. A small amount of water in a bucket was all that was required, and this was kept on the floor of the pantry for a while. That was when we noticed roots sprouting from the base, so we transferred the bucket outside.
  This bunch of celery seemed to last for ages, diminishing as we cut stalks when required. The water was topped up occasionally, but it was discovered that it was best to keep the level just covering the roots, and not so far up the stalks that they started to rot at the base. Later, we even put what was left of the bunch in some potting mix and it continued to grow. The stalks, however, were pretty skinny and only useful for stir fries and salads. Still, it was a worthwhile exercise.

Keeping lettuce and cabbage longer
  Always buy whole lettuce and cabbage - not those cut in half. Take off any outside leaves that are damaged or on the turn, then put the head in a plastic bag. Exclude the air, secure the opening with a twist-tie and place in the vegetable drawer at the bottom of the fridge.
  Unless you need the lot in one go, don't cut or shred - this will reduce the life-span of whatever's left: simply take enough leaves from the outside, then replace the remaining lettuce or cabbage in the bag and refrigerate as before. Kept like this, both can last up to a month.

Half an Onion
  When you don't need a whole onion, place what's left in a glass jar with a dessert-spoon of cold water, screw on the cap and refrigerate.  This will keep for at least a week and won't taint the fridge.
  Unused portions of other prepared, uncooked vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin and carrots can be kept similarly. Odour is not an issue, so plastic containers can be used, but the contents will need to be covered with water and they should be used sooner.

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