Maintaining the cold chain with your share is important. Crops are harvested daily and brought in for rinsing, prepping and cooling before being packed in your CSA crate. Once you pick up your share, getting it prepped and refrigerated as soon as possible will give you the best results. Leaving the share in your car or on the kitchen counter overnight decreases the quality and life expectancy of the produce.
Clean Out and Organize the Refrigerator
Make things easier on yourself and clean out and organize your refrigerator a couple of days before you pick-up your share. What do you have left from the previous CSA share?
Is it time for a couple of clean out the refrigerator recipes?
Have Dinner Planned and Ready for Your CSA Pick-up Night.
Keep dinner simple CSA pick-up night. You will already be prepping your share for storage. Dinner can be warming up or on the grill while you begin to prep your share.
Have your containers, zip-top bags, paper towels, salad spinner, colander, cutting board, knife and a garbage or compost bowl ready.
These are suggested items – everyone finds a routine and vessels that work best for them.
Unpack the entire share and see what you have. Depending on the space you have, you may need to choose a few items to prep then place the other items aside.
Herbs, Scallions and Garlic Scapes
If the herbs in your share are bunched – remove the elastic, trim the ends and put in a glass with some water. Change out the water and trim the stems every couple of days. The herbs can also be stored like this in the door of your refrigerator (except basil) with a plastic bag tented over the glass. Keep basil in a glass on the windowsill, it does not like to be cold. Alternatively each herb could be wrapped in a paper towel and stored in a zip-top bag in the fridge (except basil). I find I forget about them when stored this way however.
Generally the more tender the green the shorter the shelf life.
Greens such as lettuce, arugula, pea tendrils and radish, turnip or beet greens should be eaten/cooked with earlier in the week.
Kale, swiss chard, broccoli rabe, spinach, Asian greens, cabbage and collards are more robust and with proper storage will last longer.
Separate the leaves, soak in a bowl full of water. Swish the leaves around and any grit will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Transfer the leaves to the salad spinner and dry off. Pack the leaves in containers/zip-top bags with a couple of paper towels and gently squeeze the air out if in bags. With kale, swiss chard and collards – strip or cut the leaves off of the stems. Rinse and store the leaves the same way. Some members sauté their swiss chard stems. Store the stems in a glass of water in the door of the refrigerator.
Cucumbers (as well as Summer Squash, Kousa and Zucchini)
Store in the refrigerator – the crisper is best. The crisper keeps the veggies cold and also protects them from cold damage. If they get a cold damaged area, it is fine to eat them, just cut off that area.
On the subject of food waste- if you have a cucumber that is starting to go soft don’t throw it out!
First is to slice and prep it as normal and soak the slices in ice water for 30-60 minutes. The second it to make a smashed cucumber salad.
Remove the radish greens before storage, they draw moisture out of the root. Radish greens are delicious sauteed as well as made into a pesto with
For storage, treat the radish greens as you would other greens and store the roots in a zip-top bag/container with a paper towel
Peas (Snap or Snow)
Rinse, dry and store in a container or plastic zip-top bag with a paper towel.