Produce Storage and Tips

produce storage & tips for CSA members

How to Store Asparagus

place the ends in a container of water.  If storing for a couple of days leave room for possible growth and check the water level each day or wrap in a damp paper towel and store in plastic. Cleaning asparagus.  Run under cold water gently rubbing the stalk and the tip.   You may also soak in cold water.  To ensure grit is removed, bring a pan of water to a boil, add a little salt.  Add asparagus for 2-3 minutes to release any sandy soil remove and drop into an ice bath to stop the cooking.  Store asparagus for later use.  Use it in salad, roast, or sauté in olive oil and serve with lemon.

How to Freeze Asparagus

Prepare the following items:

Freezer containers / zip lock bags
Bring 1 gallon of water per pound of asparagus to a boil.
Prepare an ice bath ice and ice water.

Clean the asparagus to remove any grit, soil, and snap or cut off the woody ends. Bring the water to a boil, keep the heat on high and immerse the asparagus, water should come back to a boil in one minute. Boil 1 ½ minutes for thin stems, 2 minutes for medium and 3 for thicker stems. Immediately remove and submerge into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking process. When cold, drain, allow to dry on paper towels. Pack in airtight containers or bags. If using bags, close the bag almost to the end. Place a straw into the bag and draw out as much air as possible from inside the bag. Press down on the straw as you continue to close the bag and pull the straw out. Label and date bags or containers.

Leafy greens have been washed and they will come to you damp.  They have been watered, washed or iced.  You can clean them when you receive them or as you use them.  Either way before they are refrigerated, they should be dry, wrapped or layered in paper towel and stored in plastic, bags, or containers.

To clean leafy greens, fill a pan with warm water, plunge in the leafy greens, you will find that most of the grit, dirt, will just fall away. Swish the greens. Allow to sit. Gently, lift out the greens, check the bottom of the pan for grit/sand/dirt. Repeat with  cold water until the water is completely clear. Drain and allow to dry. Wrap in paper towel and place in a plastic bag or layer paper towel in a container. Refrigerate. Use the most tender greens first within a couple of days.

Lettuce foil method:
Wash and use salad spinner, lay on paper towels (use layers if there are a lot), roll up paper towels and place in HEAVY DUTY foil (buy the name brand really heavy and wide), and label with name and date. the greens are easy to access when preparing a meal and already cleaned and ready to go. The heavy-duty foil is a must, and the great news is that because the foil is thick, you will be able to reuse the same piece over and over.   Reuse the paper towels as they dry out too.

Leafy greens from carrots and beets: Remove the greens and store the greens separately.  The greens are tender, use them within a couple of days.  The root vegetables should last for more than a week. Check out the beet recipes on the website for beets.

Strawberry Care:
Remove the strawberries from the farm container. Do not wash the berries before storing! Line a flat plastic or glass container with a paper towel. Place a single layer of fresh strawberries into the container.  Cover with paper towel and seal with the lid or plastic wrap. Strawberries will last up to 4 days or longer depending on your refrigerator. Wash or clean them when you are ready to serve.

Strawberries should be cleaned and hulled before freezing. I like to just wipe them with a soft moist cloth and then let them dry on paper towel.  Place strawberries on a tray to freeze and then move them into a zip lock freezer bag or an air-tight container and be sure to get most of the air out of the bag and they should be good for up to six months!

Note: Cleaning berries grown in sandier soil might take an extra step.  Prepare a bowl with 3 parts cold water and one equal part white vinegar.  Submerge strawberries -5-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse. Lay out on a towel to dry.

Leeks should be tightly wrapped in the refrigerator so that their flavor will not be absorbed by other foods.  Do not wash or remove roots before storing.  They can keep up to two weeks. Most recipes will call for the white bottom and the light green.  Keep the tops for preparing stock.  Keep leek tops for stock.

To clean leeks:

Be sure to clean leeks in cold water making sure that any soil or grit is removed from between the layers. Slice, and place in a colander. Rinse pulling apart layers of each slice to remove soil completely.
Prepare creamed leek tops, see recipe on the website. Leek and Potato Soup is a favorite or roast sliced leeks with carrots and also radishes.

Plant lemon balm directly in the garden if possible or an alternative is to plant it into a pot on its own.  Chamomile can be planted in the pot with thyme and sage could be added later.

You will often receive a bunch of cut herbs:

Mint: Mint Tea: Boil a cup of water and clean and tear 8-10 mint leaves and add them directly to the cup or teapot (you will need a strainer).  Allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes.  Steeping longer will produce stronger tea.  Leaves can be removed or left in the cup.  Pouring from a pot you can pour through a strainer.  Add a little lemon, honey, sugar, to taste. Mint leaves can also be added to a cup of your favorite tea steeping along with your tea bag for a little more flavor.

To keep fresh herbs:
Remove dead stems and leaves, wash as needed.  Snip the stems.   Place stems in a container filled with water, do not submerge the leaves. Changing the water daily will help to keep the herbs fresh.  They can keep up to a week on the counter.


Cover the container with a plastic bag and refrigerate. If storing basil, leave on the counter – do not refrigerate. Change water every day or two.  Most fresh herbs will last more than a week when stored this way.

Dry herbs in your oven:
Place leaves or seeds on a baking pan with sides not more than 1 inch deep in an open oven at low heat less than 170 for about 2 to 4 hours.  Check often, sometimes it doesn’t take long at all.  Leaves will be dry, brittle, they may crumble when you touch them.  Allow the herbs to cool and then pack them in jars label and date. Home dried herbs will last for years and they do make great hostess gifts.

4cups of vegetable scraps = 2 quarts of stock

Veggie peels, ends, tops, roots, vegetables a little past prime. Be sure they are not spoiled, moldy etc.

The three vegetables always found in stock are: onions, celery, and carrots.

Save leeks, scallions, parsnips, asparagus ends, mushroom scraps, lettuce, spinach, and kale leaves and stems. Parsley, cilantro, and later in the season, pepper, squash, eggplant, and corn cobs. Add a bay leaf and some black peppercorns

The beans in the share have been stored over the winter. Beans have been sorted but it is always a good practice to start here:

To clean black beans:
Wash the beans in a colander with cool running water. Soak the beans in a pot covered with 2” of water. Add 1-2 T salt and cover and leave overnight. Rinse the beans in a colander again before cooking.

To prepare black beans:
Add the beans back into the pot and cover with two inches of water. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, and a little olive oil. Red pepper flakes are optional. Cook over medium heat to start, lower the heat after 10 minutes and cook for up to an hour stirring occasionally. Check for doneness after 40 minutes.

Place into a plastic bag in the refrigerator, they will stay fresh for a week or more.   If you want to have green onions all the time save the root with about a couple of inches of the white intact.  The scallion can be placed into water, and it will grow, or you can place it in a little potting soil, and it will grow on your windowsill or in your garden.  If growing in soil, keep the soil moist.  When you need green onion, you can snip what is growing at the top, leaving the root and bottom to continue growing.

Parsley Flat and Curly:
Both plants can be added to the same pot If you are planting in pots.  If the pot is large enough you could add chives and or basil to this pot later when you receive them.

Chives and Thyme Plants:
Both plants can be added to the same pot If you are planting in pots.  If the pot is large enough you could add sage and oregano later when we receive them.

Sage and Oregano Plants:
Plant in pots or directly into the garden.  If planting in pots, they would both be considered good companion plants for thyme.

Place the ear of corn into a paper lunch bag, Fold the bag closed. Set the bag in the microwave and set the time at 2.5 minutes. DO NOT LEAVE THE ROOM. Listen to the corn popping and if it slows, stop. Then remove the bag from the oven, CAUTION, EVERYTHING IS HOT!  Pour popcorn into a bowl and then top with butter or olive oil, salt, herbs, your choice.