There’s nothing worse than buying beautiful fruits and vegetables, only to have them go bad before you can eat them. Learning how to preserve your fresh produce will help you save money, reduce food waste, and enjoy deliciously ripe and nutritious foods. Read on for our top tips on how to keep your produce fresh for longer. You can also contact me to learn more about tailoring diets to YOUR individual needs.
1. Fridge or Counter?
One of the biggest keys to keep produce from rotting is knowing where to store it. Certain fruits and vegetables should always be kept in the refrigerator, while others can live happily on the counter. Check out this list to figure out where to store your produce haul:
- Counter: bananas, cucumber, citrus fruits, eggplant, garlic, green beans, onions, potatoes, squash
- Counter, then move to fridge when ripe: avocados, kiwi, mango, melon, pears, stone fruits
- Fridge: apples, asparagus, berries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, corn, greens, grapes, peas
2. Wash and Dry.
It’s important to wash all your produce to ensure you remove any dirt, pesticide or herbicide residue, as well as potential bacteria. However, wet produce can attract mold and mildew, leading to quicker spoilage. After washing your produce, make sure to thoroughly pat dry before storing. Check out my recipe for Homemade Produce Wash for a safe and inexpensive option for removing dirt and waxy build-up.
3. Bag It Up.
Storing delicate items in a bag in your fridge will help keep a good amount of moisture in, which prevents items like celery, carrots, and hearty greens from going limp. Try reusable cloth bags to help reduce your plastic waste, and thoroughly wash and dry between uses.
4. Keep 'em Separate.
Certain fruits and vegetables (such as bananas, apples, and potatoes) emit a gas called ethylene that has the power to ripen produce surrounding them. This can be helpful if you’re trying to get your green bananas a spotty yellow, but disastrous if you want to keep your produce fresh for longer. Store your bananas separately, don’t keep potatoes with onions, and let apples live alone in the fridge.
5. Utilize Your Freezer.
If you know you’re not going to eat that perfectly ripe mango before it goes bad, try freezing it! Cut the mango up into pieces, freeze on a single layer of parchment on a baking sheet, and transfer to a bag or Tupperware to freeze. Whether it’s mangoes or broccoli, you can enjoy your favorite frozen fruits and veggies all year round just by utilizing your freezer. Most vegetables should be cut and blanched before freezing, but double check to make sure the item in question freezes well.
6. Make a List.
Keep a running list on your refrigerator door of the produce you bought most recently. It’s easy for things to get lost in the fridge, and before you know it you have a moldy container of blueberries. Having a visual reminder of what produce needs to be used up will help reduce waste. Try to keep in mind which items have the shortest shelf life and use those up first. Softer, more delicate produce such as lettuce and spinach, as well as cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower tend to go fastest, while potatoes, carrots, and heartier greens like kale will keep longer.
If you have questions or concerns about your diet and what nutritional steps you can take to better improve your health, please don’t hesitate to contact me to set up an appointment. There is no “one size fits all” diet and the best approach is a thorough assessment based on YOUR individual needs.
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