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Greens storage/freezing

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 2:29 am
by BrandiP
How long do your greens last, and how do you store them?

Ok, so I absolutely love to spoil our 6 month old bearded dragon Snowflake with salads that have a variety of greens. I include mostly mustard, turnip, and collard greens, green and red dandelion greens, I add little bit of kale to help her process the Calcium, and a little bit of cilantro too. If the grocery store has endive in stock, I'll throw that in as well. I top it with a tiny bit of shredded carrot, shredded yellow squash, and diced red bell pepper for color. (Yes, she eats better than I do, lol).

The problem is, with only one dragon to eat this, I always end up tossing out a bunch that goes bad. Recently, I started gut-loading my feeders with some, but I still find I'm throwing about half away because it spoiled. I've tried multiple different methods of storage:

1) putting the individual bunches in separate large Ziploc bags, PRE-washed, with NO paper towels to absorb moisture.

2) putting the individual bunches in separate large Ziploc bags, PRE-washed, WITH paper towels to absorb moisture.

3) putting the individual bunches in separate large Ziploc bags, UN-washed, with NO paper towels to absorb moisture.

4) putting the individual bunches in separate large Ziploc bags, UN-washed, WITH paper towels to absorb moisture.

5) I tried all 4 of the above again, only using plastic air-tight storage containers instead of Ziploc bags (they did have to be cut somewhat smaller to fit into the containers, I had better success with them in the bags because they could stay mostly whole and intact.)

I've also tried storing them in different areas of my fridge- crisper drawer, top shelf, and door, but sadly they never seem to last longer than 2 weeks in my fridge.

Thus far, UN-washed, in the Ziploc bags, WITH paper towels has been my longest lasting so far. Stored in the crisper drawer. A few of them made it to almost 3 weeks of storage using that method.

I typically pull out a little of each green to wash and cut up to make a small batch of ready to go salad mix that I keep handy for refilling her bowl throughout the week, before I package the remainder of the bunches to store. I have noticed that once they're all mixed together, washed, and the container gets opened/closed frequently, they tend to spoil MUCH faster. So the storage bags/containers with the individual bunches would get reopened at least once, sometimes twice, per week for me to pull out more greens to make the pre-mix. Usually by the end of the second week, they were already too far gone to use anymore. Occasionally, I'd have one that spoiled faster or slower. Collards seem to survive the longest for me for some reason.

So that brings us to my main question/request:

I heard something somewhere (I can't exactly remember) that greens could be blanched and frozen for later use. Does anyone have any experience with this? Does it make them wilt? Or will they thaw looking fresh and new? I just keep thinking of the soggy frozen veggies you can buy at the grocery store, and that's not what I'm hoping for at all. I want fresh-looking, appetizing salads for her. Especially once she reaches her adulthood and is eating mostly greens instead of bugs/worms.

So If there's no good way to extend the greens shelf life, and I have to keep tossing out the extras, I will. (hmmm... Maybe there's a way to sneakily put them in my family's meals? Any suggestions/ideas for that are welcome too! 😂) I just hate to waste so much every month. ðŸ˜Ģ

If anyone has tried freezing, please share with me... Success or Failure. Please include things like which greens you froze, the process you used to blanch/freeze, what the difficulty level was, how much time it took to do it, whether you felt it was worth the effort, and about how long you kept them frozen before thawing to use again. How did they look and feel after thawing? Did they have a "cooked" smell (like when you steam spinach)?

Any and all information will be greatly appreciated. Or If you have a different sure-fire way to extend the shelf life, I'm open to that as well.

Thank you in advance for your advice and expertise!
~Brandi

Re: Greens storage/freezing

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:11 am
by KarrieRee
Well it sounds like you have tried everything - I usually separate mine into bunches unwashed and w/ the veins cut out of the collards and some of the stems out of the turnip greens --- I dont buy mustard greens very often I have found they go bad the fastest and collards and turnips last the longest also kale- do not mix the mustard w/ the rest of your greens and see if you can get them to last longer do not wash them before storing only separate them try that and make sure your getting the air out of the ziploc - store in the veggie drawer -- I can get mine to last 3 weeks -
Karrie

Re: Greens storage/freezing

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2020 1:48 pm
by BrandiP
Thanks Karrie. 🙂 Seems like yours are lasting about the same as mine, right around the 2-3 week mark. I guess I'm just greedy and want them to last until they're gone, lol. I really am thinking on trying to figure out a way to sneak them into my kid's meals! They need that nutrition just as much as my dragon.

I used to buy only 2-3 different greens at a time and rotated them out weekly, but Snowflake eats the salads so much better if they are all mixed up with a big variety. SOOO much better.... She will munch down 2 salad bowls every day with this mixture, Plus her 2 bug meals! (her bowl is about 4-5" in diameter, and I pile it high in the morning and then again in the afternoon after her first bugs meal). I'd rather buy them all and throw out the leftovers than cut something out. I was just hoping there was a freezer method that could save them. Dandelion Greens and Endive are the hardest to find around here, so I'd really like a way to make those last. (I have to drive about 40 minutes to a farmer's market to get the dandelion greens, and they don't always have them in stock). I agree mustard go bad fastest, and I have noticed that organic seems to spoil faster, too.

Oh, well. The things we do for our beloved little critters, no? 🙄ðŸĪŠ Snowflake is worth it, though!

~Brandi

Re: Greens storage/freezing

PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:03 am
by CooperDragon
I cut the stems out and wash then dry and store them in a ziploc with a paper towel and air removed in the crisper drawer. I usually get a few weeks out of them that way. It varies between the greens though. I usually get the most out of collards.