Special Report

How to Store Produce Properly During a Pandemic

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1. Apples

Apples might look pretty, all shiny and bright, heaped in a bowl on the counter, but if it’s longevity you’re after, it’s better to store them in the refrigerator, in the crisper drawer, with a damp paper towel over them. A colder refrigerator is better. According to some sources, the fruit’s lifespan shrinks for every ten degrees above 30ºF; it has also been said that apples soften 10 times faster at room temperature than when refrigerated.

2. Arugula

If you buy this bitterish salad green in a plastic clamshell or sealed bag, just refrigerate it. Note the use-by date on the package, however, and discard the arugula if it gets too old. Bacteria can develop on the leaves even if they still look healthy. If you buy it unbagged, either loose or tied in bunches, trim the root ends, then wrap it in a damp paper towel and put it into a vented paper or plastic bag.

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3. Asparagus

Keeping the spears fresh and crisp is easy: Just trim the ends slightly, then stand the asparagus upright in a jar or glass half-filled with water, fit a plastic bag loosely over the tops of the spears, and refrigerate them.

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4. Beets

Cut the greens off the beets, then store both parts in separate vented bags in the refrigerator. (Beet greens may be cooked like Swiss chard or kale; younger, tender leaves can be tossed in salads.)

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5. Blackberries

Summer berries are delicate and tend to grow moldy quickly. Some experts counsel washing them in a vinegar bath (three parts water to one part vinegar), then spinning them dry in a salad spinner and storing them in a partly opened container lined with paper towels. An easier plan for blackberries and other varieties is to pick out and discard any berries that look damaged or are beginning to mold, wash the good ones gently, spread them out in a single layer on a plate or platter lined with paper towels, then refrigerate them.

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