Prepping and Storing CSA Shares

Washing spinach in the sink

I believe I mentioned someone told me at my last CSA pick up that their spinach had gotten slimey in the refrigerator before they had a chance to use it.  This can be a common problem when you have a ton of greens you are waiting to eat and little time to deal with properly storing what you bring home.

I got in the habit of cleaning on properly storing all of my CSA basket items as soon as I get to the house.  I recommend making whichever day of the week is your pick up day, usually a Saturday, CSA day in your house, or at least most of the morning anyway.  It takes me a few hours to wash and put away everything even after I have spent a few hours at the farm.

First I wash all the greens in batches in a clean sink.  Just fill it up enough so the greens are in standing water and the dirt has room to fall to the bottom of the sink without still touching the leaves.  I use my hands to shake them around in the water some then let them sit for about five minutes in the water.  I take them out of the water, making sure not to stir up the dirt from the bottom of the sink, and put them directly in my salad spinner.  Once dry, I dump them out on paper towels.

Kale on top, spinach and mustard greens underneath

After everything is washed, spun, and laid out on paper towels, I use clean kitchen towels to press the leaves together and get any excess water still on the greens.  I use fresh paper towels to layer the greens on top and bottom, then slide into a gallon size resealable bag.  You can also use your green stay fresh bags here.

You can use this method for any kinds of greens including your lettuces.

For asparagus, basil, green onions, radishes, carrots and other root type produce, you can place in a container that will allow the root ends to sit in a small amount of water with the veggie standing upright, just like you would fresh flowers.

The most important tip I can give to help keep things from going bad is eat what you can’t freeze first.  Lettuce has to be eaten before the greens you can saute and asparagus for example.  That doesn’t mean I don’t eat the other things at all if I don’t want to.  But if I have a ton of greens and lettuce, I’m going to eat salad twice a day in some form until it’s gone before I eat anything else.  I will saute and freeze the rest for later.

What tips do you have for helping to prep and store your fresh produce?

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  1. If I cannot get to eat all the greens in salads, I dry them and store them to use in soups and other dishes throughout the year. The mixed green flakes are great in sour cream for a dip and garnishing tops of entrees.

  2. We always split our CSA share with another family so that we don’t have as much go bad. Storing everything properly as soon as you get it is a very good idea! I try to plan menus that use the fastest-spoiling things first; since we get our CSA on Wednesdays, I plan meals only through Tuesday, we improvise using the new veggies on Wed., and then I plan meals for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday using the new veggies. Anything we’re not likely to use by Sunday gets frozen or otherwise preserved. I find that many vegetables can be frozen raw, if they’re shredded, and they’re very convenient for adding to recipes later.

    • Thanks for the link! We get about a 1/2 a bushel and we eat lots of veggies and I cook from scratch alot. So splitting a share doesn’t work for us. I tried that last year with my first CSA experiment and we never had enough stuff.

  3. I think everyone can use tips for storing vegetables properly to prevent spoilage. The other day someone was telling me about storing celery wrapped in aluminum foil — that was a new one — evidently, it keeps it crisp longer. Thanks for sharing these tips on Hearth & Soul!

    • Right, especially when you’re getting TONS of greens in a CSA basket. It can be very overwhelming to new shareholders!

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