Favorite Recipes and Tips
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Fresh Asparagus Soup
~Amelia Kirkland, The Helpful Plate


-Ghee or butter-

flavored olive oil

-2 lb. asparagus, chopped

-1 med. onion, chopped

-1 tsp. coriander seeds

-1 Tbs. minced garlic

-1 tsp. salt

-1/2 - 1 tsp. cumin

-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

-Zest and juice of 1 lemon

-1 14-oz. can coconut milk

-2.5 cups of vegetable broth (and this yields ~5 servings of a thick, creamy soup. (You can also use chicken broth.)
--Pistachios, toasted


Sauté onion in ghee or olive oil. Cook 2 min until onion begins to become translucent. Add the stems of asparagus, the garlic and the coriander seeds. Cook 3-4 min to enable the stems to soften.

Add the asparagus tips, the broth and the cumin, paprika and lemon juice and zest. Cook 10-15 until all veggies are soft. Use an immersion blender; pulse mixture to emulsify. It will still be chunky. Add coconut milk. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Blend again until completely smooth.
Garnish with toasted pistachios. Recipe can be cut in half. Enjoy!

General Storage Tips
Like you, vegetables need to breathe!
If you are storing vegetables in a plastic bag, poke holes in the bag. Allowing air to circulate around the vegetables helps them store longer.

Open the bag on your greens.
When it comes to greens - wash them right away. Pat the leaves dry, and place them on a damp paper towel. Put them in a plastic bag that's open on one end and stick them in the fridge. This will help them stay nice and crisp for later use.

Here are a a few helpful resources we found through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension on how to get the most life out of your fresh fruits and vegetables at home.

Food Storage 101
by Anne Marie Hampshire • Illustration by Bambi Edlund

Green Onions
Have you ever pulled out a bundle of green onions from the fridge only to discover they’ve gone slimy? Yeah, we’ve been there, too. Avoid this by removing the rubber bands and placing the root ends in a jar filled with an inch or two of water—then keep on the windowsill until ready to use.

Root Vegetables
Beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips and radishes, oh my! Enjoy the cool season’s bounty longer by cutting the tops off the roots (all but ½-inch) before storing in an open container in the fridge, covered with a damp towel. Store the edible, trimmed greens separately in an airtight container in the crisper.

If, like most of us, you lack a root cellar, store potatoes in a cool, dark place in a basket, bowl or paper bag. Remember to keep potatoes a healthy distance from onions, which can make those spuds sprout more quickly. Also be aware that light causes potatoes to turn green and sprout, and refrigeration causes the potatoes’ starch to convert to sugar and discolor while cooking.

Fresh Herbs
Some herbs—especially basil—are cold-sensitive, meaning they’ll turn black in the fridge before you can say pesto alla Genovese. To keep basil fresh, cut a bit off of the stems and place in a jar of water on the counter away from direct sunlight. Do the same for cilantro or parsley, but place those in the fridge.

Dry-clean your fresh-from-the-coop eggs with an abrasive sponge to remove any dirt or debris, but don’t soak the eggs in water—cold water pulls bacteria from the surface of the egg into the interior. If you prefer rinsing the eggs, wait until you’re ready to use them. Rinsing removes the egg’s bloom, the natural antibacterial coating on the shell. If planning an omelet in the near future, no need to store fresh eggs in the fridge. But to keep eggs longer (up to a month or so), it’s best to refrigerate.

As counter intuitive as it may seem, bread actually gets stale faster when refrigerated rather than left at room temperature. Keep sliced sandwich bread in a bread box or other airtight container, but leave crusty, artisanal loaves in a paper bag.

Unlike many other fruits, avocados don’t ripen on the tree; they naturally ripen on their own once harvested. To speed up the process, store avocados outside of the fridge in a paper bag and throw in an apple or a banana; these fruits release ethylene gas that hastens the ripening process.

Grains & Flours
Store intact whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, millet or oats, in airtight containers (mason jars are ideal) for up to six months in the pantry or up to a year in the freezer. Whole-grain flours and meals, on the other hand, don’t last as long; they lack the bran layer that protects the grain from the detrimental effects of oxygen. Store these in airtight containers, as well, for up to three months in the pantry or up to six months in the freezer. If your pantry environment is particularly humid, however, refrigerate rather than keep at room temperature.

Discard any bruised or moldy fruit, then store raspberries, strawberries or blueberries in a sealed container in the fridge, where they’ll last for a couple of days. (Note: Wait to wash berries until right before eating.) To keep longer, wash berries carefully, pat dry and freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a container and freeze for up to a year.

Wash thoroughly, remove the rubber bands, cut 1 inch off the stems and place upright in a jar filled with about an inch of water. Refrigerate and change the water frequently until ready to use.

To keep citrus longer than a couple of days, store loosely in fridge. If juicing, bring it back to room temp to extract the most juice.

Place soft cheeses, such as brie, mozzarella, goat cheeses, and chèvre in an airtight container in the fridge once opened. Wrap hard and semi-hard cheeses, such as Gouda, cheddar or blue, in parchment or wax paper first, then in aluminum foil. Store all cheeses in a warmer part of the fridge—in the vegetable drawer or on the bottom shelf.


Temperature and humidity requirements for specific fruits and vegetables:


Harvesting and storage of garden produce at home:


Practical tips for home food storage:


Quick Tips by Item
* Asparagus: stand up in a glass of cold water on the counter on in your fridge. Snap off the ends before eating. 
* Strawberries: the trick is to keep berries cold and dry. Store in fridge spread on a paper towel and don't wash until just before eating. Eat very soon!
* Tomatoes: ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temp on the counter, away from sunlight. You should only keep them in your fridge once they have fully ripened. This will help extend their life. Ripened tomatoes will usually last between 5 and 7 days in the fridge.
* Fresh Onions: Unlike a dry onion, these onions should be kept in the fridge. 
* Field Greens: Store in fridge and eat within a few days. Wash just before eating.
* Mushrooms: so they don't get soggy or moldy, place whole, unwashed mushrooms in fridge in a brown paper bag and fold the top of the bag over. 
* Cucumbers: wrap in plastic wrap or a paper towel and place in fridge. Keeping wrapped minimizes the amount of moisture on the cucumber, which slows decay. Should stay fresh for one week.
* Sugar Snap Peas: Store in fridge and eat within a few days. 
* New Potatoes: Store in a cool, dry place. Wash just before eating. 
* Fresh Bread: eat promptly or freeze for best taste, as there are no preservatives in these fresh loafs. Refrigeration will extend freshness several days.
* Kale: wrap the bunch in a layer of paper towels, and store in a plastic bag in crisper drawer of fridge. Should be in good shape for up to a week.
* Scallions: raw green onions should be stored in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of fridge. Usually will keep well for 1 to 2 weeks.
* Sweet potatoes: these are wonderful keepers as long as they are stored in a cool, dry place. 
*Squash and Zucchini: refrigerate zucchini and summer squash in a plastic bag for up to four days; don't wash until you are ready to use them.


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