The Food Lover’s Guide: Forever Young

You got carried away with that autumnal bounty at the farmers’ market. It happens to the best of us. We consulted local fruit and veggie pros for advice on keeping those healthy perishables from perishing too soon


In the Bag

Store sturdy greens like chard and savoy cabbage in the crisper, wrapped loosely in a plastic bag or moist towel. For delicate lettuces, Santa Monica Farmers’ Market supervisor Laura Avery suggests making a little “pillow” of air in the bag to control moisture. For “living lettuces” with roots attached, pop the head in a vase for an edible bouquet.



Let it Be

Winter citrus like Meyer lemons and blood oranges will be in season soon. Amelia Saltsman, author of The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook, advises leaving the fruit out for a few days to give your house a lovely aroma. You can then refrigerate it for up to several weeks.



Lights Out

For potatoes the mantra is simple: Dark, dry, and cool. “Dark is first and foremost,” says Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms. Store them in an open basket with good airflow. For root vegetables like beets, carrots, and turnips, cut off the tops and store them as you do leafy greens, says Saltsman. The roots can be wrapped in a towel and kept in the crisper for up to two weeks.




Cold Snap

Apples of all colors don’t have as long a shelf life as you might think, according to Saltsman. Keep them on the counter for a few days and then refrigerate to prevent their getting mealy.



Show Off

Those hard winter squashes (five pounds or more) can last on the counter for months. Pumpkins, butternut squash, kabocha, and many other varieties do well at room temperature. “Make a nice display on your table and enjoy it,” says Saltsman.



Well Aged

For hachiya persimmons, Scott Peacock of Peacock Family Farms recommends placing them in a paper bag with an apple slice to hasten ripening. They can look alarmingly close to rotten (think pudding) when ripe.