Keep holiday staples fresh

Published 10:13 am Thursday, December 16, 2021

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If you’re planning to buy potatoes or winter squash in advance of the holidays, proper storage will ensure your produce stays fresh until you’re ready to start cooking with it.

Some produce, like leafy greens, has a short shelf life of just a few days. Other vegetables, like onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash, are convenient to purchase now for use later. A good rule of thumb is to store them in a cool, well-ventilated, dark place like a pantry or closet.

While most vegetables prefer drier environments, sweet potatoes should be kept slightly more humid to prevent them from drying out, said Mike Cullipher, who grows them and other produce at Cullipher Farms in Virginia Beach.

With all potatoes, avoiding light is paramount, or they’ll start to sprout. In addition, white potatoes will produce chlorophyll, which results in green patches on the potato—called greening—when exposed to light.

It’s also important to keep your produce separate, particularly onions and potatoes. When stored together, they will ripen faster, causing sprouting and spoilage.