CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s that time of year to get great summer produce from your local farmers market.

But once you get it home, how do you keep it fresh?

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Joining CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot in the studio is Shelly Herman from Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance to talk about ways to keep different food items fresh and tasty.

“For kale and chard, what you want to do is put it in a plastic bag and store it away,” said Herman. “You don’t want to wash it until you’re ready to use it. You don’t want to pull off from the stems.”

It’s a similar process with lettuces.

“You can put it in the plastic bag, but you want to take a paper towel and wrap it around the lettuce,” said Herman. “It’s pulling off some moisture. If they get too wet, they’re going to start breaking down.”

More tips on how to freshly store your produce are listed below.

Visit the Fresh Picks website for more information on their products.

Check out the Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance page for local and regional locations.


Tips to Storing Produce

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Spring crops include lighter foods like lettuces and salad greens.

Salad greens can include a wide variety of lettuces and baby greens like baby kale and chard.

Best way to store loose greens is to make sure they are dry and not too tightly bunched together and stored in a bag. Think light and fluffy with air flow.

Remove any leaves starting to break down before storing. You can add a paper towel to the bag if there is a need for extra drying.

Kale and Chard. Heartier greens have arrived! Greens should be stored without being washed or pulled off of the stems to last the longest. Store in plastic bag in fridge.

Asparagus. Great steamed, sautéed or grilled with a mustard vinaigrette. Store in a jar with a small amount of water, standing up and cover with a plastic bag.

Mushrooms! It’s always a good time of year for mushrooms as they grow inside in the dark.

Best way to store mushrooms is in the fridge in a paper bag, which is moisture absorbing, and with the top open for air flow, and not in a plastic bag.

Don’t wash before storing. You can do a quick rinse or wipe with a towel before cooking.

Strawberries. Berries will be more or less wet depending on the rain and when they are picked.

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To store: You can spread berries out on a plate with a paper towel on top to keep them dry and not on top of each other. This keeps them from getting mushy and spoiling. Store in the fridge and wash berries just before you eat them.