15% off + FREE SHIPPING sitewide. Use code BRUNCH15 at checkout. Ends 5/3/24.



How to Store and Prep Garden Vegetables

As summer starts to wind down, farms and backyard gardens are often at their peak. With such an abundance of beautiful, flavorful fruits and vegetables, it’s tempting to overbuy at the farmer’s market, wish you gave more homegrown zucchini to your neighbors or even possibly wonder if there is such a thing as too many tomatoes. Keeping produce at its peak and maximizing fresh-from-the-garden flavors with seasonal recipes will help you make the best of your garden harvest or farmer’s market finds.

Most fruits and vegetables have their own ideal storage conditions. While you probably know not to keep tomatoes in the refrigerator, you may not know the best way to keep lettuce from wilting. Here are the top tips from our Test Kitchen for keeping produce fresh and recipes to bring the best of summer to the table.

Keep berries refrigerated in their container until ready to serve. Once it’s time to dig in, give them a quick rinse under cool water. Enjoyed on their own or made into a no-bake dessert, berries are a delicious taste of summer. Go a little crazy at the you-pick berry farm? We’ve been there. Berries are very easy to freeze and keep for several months so you can enjoy their summer goodness all winter long.

Salads taste best with fresh, crisp lettuce. The key to achieving this is drying your lettuce. Since most salad dressings contain a water-repelling fat or oil component, they will stick much better to dry lettuce. There are several methods for cleaning and storing lettuce, get the scoop here. These practices also works great for other leafy greens, herbs, cucumbers and any other tender vegetable you want to protect in your fridge.

Adding fresh herbs to a salad or meal provides amazing color and flavor dried herbs can’t match. Store herbs with the stems in a glass of water or keep unwashed herbs wrapped in a paper towel in the refrigerator. Have a basil plant going crazy? Whip up a batch of fresh pesto to use as a dip for crusty bread or a sauce for pasta.

Keep tomatoes on the counter and away from sunlight. Have an overabundance of ripe tomatoes? Check out the best tomato recipes of the season or make a batch of fresh tomato soup. Another option is to try your hand at canning. Can straight-up tomato puree or make a batch of tomato jam, perfect for a holiday gift. Imagine the delight of receiving the gift of summer in the middle of winter!

Most gardeners grow it and many are not prepared to deal with the immense bounty produced. Store it unwashed in a loosely closed plastic bag for up to one week. Once you have had your fill of zucchini bread and muffins, go for savory. Try zucchini boatszucchini and corn pie or this casserole to help reduce your zucchini and summer squash stockpile.

Exploding in popularity, beets have become a household staple. This versatile, colorful vegetable can be eaten raw, juiced, roasted, boiled, pickled, sautéed or steamed. Trim the greens (save them if you like), and refrigerate unwashed beets in a plastic bag. Cut a small hole in the bag to prevent condensation. Stored properly, beets can last up to three weeks

A summer salad staple, cucumbers need a little extra attention before storing. Wash, dry and wrap your cucumbers in a clean dishtowel before refrigerating in an open plastic bag. Big harvest? This easy pickle recipe is great for using up an excess supply of summer cucumbers, and it takes no time at all with the help of a food processor for slicing.

The picnic classic, watermelon, can be stored at room temperature until cut. Once cut, cover the cut end with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. You can enjoy watermelon beyond the slices—cool off with a refreshing agua fresca, savory salad, or a minty non-dairy sorbet.

Keeping your fruits and vegetables in peak condition will help you create the freshest dishes for your family and friends. Using our recipes or your own, be sure to take advantage of the abundant seasonal options in your garden or at the market.


Sample Product Label
Back to Top to the top