CSA Storage Strategies
Many people participate in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I have done that for a number of years.
Now that I have expanded my garden, I have suspended my subscription.
If you cannot garden yourself, I highly recommend a CSA. To find a CSA in your area, simply search the Internet for “CSA” + your city.
In The Beginning
In the beginning, CSA deliveries tend to be quite small. This is because the growing season has just begun and the weather is still transitioning into full on summer.
This is a great time to get accustomed to storing your CSA goodies. When the deliveries become bigger, this is a great skill to have.
When bringing home farm fresh produce, it is important to get on to storing them right away. Don’t just throw them in the fridge and sort them out over the next few days. Take the time to do it as soon as you get home.
- If veggies come with greens attached, remove them. These greens will draw moisture from the produce it is attached to. If the greens are edible, keep them and store separately.
- The fridge will dry out produce. If you have a fridge where you can control the humidity, that helps. To keep the veggies from drying out, place them in airtight containers or zipper bags.
- If veggies are still dirty, brush them off and inspect them for hitch hikers (aka bugs). There is usually no need to actually wash them until you are ready to use them.
- Consider freezing if the bounty is too much. Just about anything can be frozen with or without blanching. If you plan on using fruit, veggies, or greens in soups, stews, smoothies, or sauces – there is no need to blanch first. If you want to maintain the best texture and colour, blanching first is your best option. Blanching first can also reduce the size a lot, especially greens.
- If you have an abundance of certain items, cook a double or triple batch recipe and freeze the extra servings.
- For items like fresh herbs, give them a gentle wash and then store them in the fridge:
- For hardy herbs (ie. Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Chives) lay them flat on damp paper towel. Roll the paper towel up and place in a zip top bag or with plastic wrap.
- For more delicate herbs (ie. Parsley, Dill, Mint, Cilantro) snip off a small amount at the base of the stem. Place about an inch of water in the bottom of a glass or mason jar. Place the herbs in the mason jar with the cut end in the water. Place a lid on the jar. If a lid won’t fit, place a plastic bag over the top and seal with an elastic band. These can be stored in the refrigerator.
- I have also opted to store more delicate herbs with the same technique as hardy herbs with great success.
- Basil is an exception to the rules. It likes to be stored at room temperature in a glass of water with an inch or two of water. Basil does not do well in the refrigerator.
One of the keys to how you store your fresh deliveries, is knowing how and when you will eat them.
Most CSAs will notify you before the delivery to let you know what to expect. Use this information to make a meal plan.
Here is more information about how to get the most out of your CSA.