How to Store Vegetables Without Plastic Bags

How to Store Vegetables Without Plastic Bags

I have been wanting forever to figure out how to store vegetables without plastic bags. For years I have known about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and know that plastic-free (or less dependent!) is the way to go.

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to invest in some airtight glass containers for storage; I’ve found that on the larger side is better. I’ve also been using a lot of cotton cloth napkins (paper towels work too), that I dampen and wrap vegetables in.

How to Store Vegetables Without Plastic Bags

I’ve divided the list below into five methods of storage. For many items, more than one method is possible; I listed first what is the most practical for my fridge and kitchen ecosystem, and then list the alternative. Like anything new, learning to store vegetables without plastic bags takes some getting used to. Your fridge will look different at first, and there might be some frustration with which containers fit what. If the tips below don’t work for you, switch it up, and let me know what you discover!

To Wash or Not to Wash

As a rule of thumb: Don’t wash veggies until you are ready to use them, unless otherwise noted below.

Store in an Airtight Container and Refrigerate


Artichokes–With a few drops of water.

Carrots–Cut off tops to keep carrots fresher (they lose moisture through the tops), and place in container with a few drops of water. Alternatively, wrap in a damp towel.

Cauliflower–Cut into florets before storing to make easier, with a few drops of water. Or wrap whole head in a damp towel.

Chard–Remove any rubber bands or ties. Alternatively, in a cup of water on the counter.

Herbs–Remove any rubber bands or ties. Alternatively, store on the counter in an upright container (vase) with a small amount of water, similar to a bunch of flowers.

Lettuce–With a few drops of water.

Snap Peas–Don’t wash until ready to use!

Spinach–With a few drops of water.

Wrap in Damp Towel and Refrigerate

Paper towels are an option here, but I like to use cotton cloth napkins or tea towels that I dampen. Just toss them in the wash with the towel load every week.

Beets–Cut off tops (store like chard), and keep beets in an open container with damp towel on top.

Broccoli

Green Beans–Keep in an open container with damp towel on top.

Kale–Remove any rubber bands or ties. Alternatively, store in a cup of water on the counter for 1-2 days.

Leeks–Alternatively, in a shallow cup of water.

Scallions (green onions)–Alternatively, in a shallow cup of water.

Keep in the Refrigerator Produce (Crisper) Drawer

Traditionally, crisper drawers are meant for high humidity. Every fridge will be a bit different. I tend not to use my crisper drawer for much, because when everything is piled in there, I forget about it.
Cabbage

Store in a Glass of Water

Asparagus–Remove any rubber bands or ties and store on the counter (use within 1-2 days), or in the fridge.

Celery–On counter (use within 1-2 days) or in fridge.

Leave on the Counter at a Cool Temperature

Cucumber–If eating in a day or two, otherwise wrap in damp towel and store in the fridge.

Tomatoes–If they start to soften too much, refrigerate. However, know that a refrigerated tomato will have a mushier texture, making them better for sauces and stews, rather than eating fresh.

Zucchini (and other summer squash)–If eating in a day or two, otherwise refrigerate, wrapped in a damp towel.

Store in the Pantry (cool, dark, dry place)

Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Check out my Zero Waste and Kitchen Storage Boards on Pinterest for more plastic-free storage ideas!


2 thoughts on “How to Store Vegetables Without Plastic Bags”

    • Hi Marilee! I’ll do a separate post for fruit, but usually for strawberries I put them in a glass container (unwashed) with a lid. Make sure to remove any that have any bad or mushy spots though, because they will make others go bad!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.