Storage of produce. For the home cook the question usually becomes the question “Should I refrigerate or not?”, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Most refrigerators are designed around keeping PHF (potentially hazardous foods) safe. That translates to hot foods held at 135 degrees (variations based on local regulation) and cold foods below 41 degrees. Squash and zucchini get cold damage below 50 and basil can turn black if in the upper portions of your ice chest if the cold air is too direct.

  • We tend to keep squash on the counter if we are going to use them within a few days or move them to the crisper. 
  • Most of our leafy greens can take some real cold so they get to live in a closed container in the main fridge body. 
  • Herbs tend to do well in a cup of water on the counter or dry them by hanging a small bunch upside down in a well ventilated and not sunny indoor spot.
  • Tomatoes hold better in the fridge, but become tasteless and awful, so ours live on the counter until usage. 
  • Heirloom tomatoes tend to not hold well so enjoy them as you have them. 
  • Strawberries have a better flavor and texture when room temp, but hold better colder ideally about 50, but are fine in the refrigerator if in a closed but vented container. My great grandmother would cap, wash and dry strawberries and keep them in a mason jar in her fridge for weeks with no apparent decline.
  • Sugar snap peas, we harvest early to keep the field heat from diminishing their sweetness, store cool to cold to preserve flavor and texture.
  • Garlic scapes – keep for weeks in a closed bag in the refrigerator.
  • Root crops with attached tops – sever the tops to keep the roots fresher longer. Chill tops and roots.