16 Ways to Keep Produce Fresher Longer
You spend good money on fruits and vegetables in order to eat healthier. But when they spoil before you have the chance to eat them, you’re throwing money into the compost pile! Here are 15 time-honored quick tips to keep produce fresher longer.
- Carefully inspect produce before you buy it – or at least before storing. Throw out or compost any rotten pieces so they don’t spread spoilage.
- Keep lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and celery crisp for more than a week by wrapping them in aluminum foil.
- Use glass jars to store shredded lettuce and pre-made salads. You won’t have to worry about contamination by the BPA found in plastic containers, and you can easily see what you have on hand.
- Use plastic bins, such as clear shoe boxes, to store like items together. Just slide them out of the fridge like drawers. Fewer items get lost and you won’t have to keep the fridge door open for too long.
- Speaking of fridge temperatures, keep yours at 40 degrees. Too cold and perishables will lose their texture; too warm and they will rot, mold and possibly spread toxins.
- As soon as you get home from the store, transfer lettuce and other greens into heavy-duty freezer bags with holes poked in them and a piece of paper toweling tucked in. Change the toweling regularly.
- Rubber-band some plastic wrap around the top of a bunch of bananas. This prevents the ripening enzyme the crown emits from over-ripening the bunch.
- To keep air from over-ripening tomatoes and pineapples, store them upside-down on the counter.
- Invest in a food vacuum sealer for long-term storage. (Find FoodSaver coupon codes here.)
- Tomatoes will develop a mealy texture and lose their flavor-producing enzymes if they’re put in the refrigerator whole.
- Keep fresh herbs in water. Just trim the stems and change the water daily. It’s fine to leave them on your counter.
- Never refrigerate garlic, onions or potatoes. Instead, store them separated in a cool, dark place in a mesh bag. They need air circulation! A leg of old pantyhose suspended from a hook works well for the first two. Garlic jars are another decorative option.
- Blanch vegetables by dropping them into boiling water for a minute or two, and then plunge them into ice water and pat dry. Place in the freezer on a cookie sheet, then portion in plastic bags or jars. This eliminates waste and is cheaper than buying frozen. They can last up to a year in the freezer.
- Store fresh mushrooms in paper bags. This will keep them moisture-free.
- If you like to chop and prep vegetables in advance for the week, wrap them in a paper towel and store in Mason jars in the refrigerator.
- Don’t wash berries until just before you eat them. The moisture promotes mold growth.
Finally, it’s important to buy only what you’ll eat from the grocery store to further cut waste. Otherwise, take the time to learn in greater detail how to freeze produce.Your wallet, and the planet, will thank you.