Which Compartments of My Refrigerator Work Best for Storing Vegetables?

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There's nothing more frustrating than buying a bagful of fresh vegetables only to find them wilted and brown around the edges after a day or two in the refrigerator. We have all been taught to put vegetables in the best part of the refrigerator for produce--called the crisper--but sometimes that can fail unless you follow a few unspoken rules.The fridge also has other places ideal for certain vegetables. You just need to know some tricks of the trade.

Crisper Compartment Tricks

  • Most refrigerators have one or two crisper compartments with little sliding tabs that adjust how much humidity to keep in or out. The trick is to understand how to adjust the slider for which vegetables. Leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, beans, green onions, broccoli, carrots and asparagus require high humidity so they do not dehydrate and become limp or soft. Tomatoes, onions, squash and pumpkins require lower humidity levels so they do not become mushy.

Humidity Levels Explained

  • High humidity means that the vent is closed in the crisper drawer and the vegetables will retain more moisture while keeping out the dryer, cooler air circulating in the refrigerator. Lower humidity levels in a crisper mean that there's less water and more dry air available for vegetables. Most of the time, people throw vegetables into the crisper drawer without any protection. Regardless of what humidity level you keep your crisper, you can double any vegetable's shelf life by sheltering it in the plastic produce bags from the store or specially designed vegetable bags which retain the right amount of moisture.

Vegetables on Ice

  • You can keep leafy greens, such as lettuce, kale, and spinach, along with green onions and even carrots submerged in an ice water bath in a large bowl. Place the bowl on a lower shelf of the refrigerator more towards the back and you will be surprised how long these vegetables will last without wilting or creating an odor. Add ice to the water every day. You do not need to store the vegetables in plastic bags for this trick. You can also place celery upright in a jar of iced water.

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  • Photo Credit contents of fridge image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com tomato #2 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com bag of salad image by Chef from Fotolia.com leafy green vitamin a image by feisty from Fotolia.com
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