How to Help Produce Last Longer
Recently I shared my thoughts with all of you about the wonders of the local market. I love shopping local and fresh, and everything tastes so much better and can often be much cheaper! I was there again today, and I couldn’t help but notice that a few of the fruits looked like life had already taken a toll on them. (I won’t blame the local markets for this…I went at the very end and most of the produce was almost gone!)
A few of the strawberries I picked today had to be thrown out, since they overfill your containers and some often sacrifice themselves to fit the rest. It made me remember the days when I would pay a pretty dollar for some fancy fruits and vegetables from the grocery store, only to see them turn to mush within a day or two.
With that in mind, I wanted to give ya’ll a bit of a guideline for helping your produce last longer. This way, you won’t have to stock pile your lunch with fruits for a few days so that nothing goes bad too soon. Let’s keep it fresh people, here’s how:
Some Veggies Should be Kept Cool, Not Cold
Not all produce needs to head straight into the fridge to stay fresh. In fact, items like potatoes, tomatoes and onions only need to be kept in a place that is dry and cool, not cold. Instead of putting them into the fridge drawers, consider keeping them in a dark cupboard closer to the floor or out on the counter if the weather isn’t too warm.
Unripe Fruits Start on the Counter
There are lots of different fruits that will start out a little too hard or bright, and that means that they need a little more time to ripen before you can enjoy them. Fruits such as peaches, bananas, apricots, pears and plums should be left on the counter for a few days, and then they can be moved to the fridge once they begin to soften.
Worried about brown bananas? The outside might start to brown, but the inside will still be just as good!
The Crisper for the Spoilers
There are some produce items that start to spoil as soon as they leave their root. These items include food like carrots, broccoli and lettuce. To save these foods from going bad too quickly, it’s a good idea to remove any moisture on them first, and then store them in plastic baggies in your fridge’s crisper drawer.
Wait to Wash
In our household, we loveee berries. Specifically, strawberries and raspberries, which we were always quick to wash as soon as we got home. It’s always good to practice food cleaning, but produce like berries will not do well if they’re washed right away, since moisture encourages mold. To avoid this, wait to wash your berries until you’re ready to eat them, or wash as you go. This way they’ll last much longer, which is a good thing since berries tend to be on the more expensive side of your produce options.
Glass is Your Friend
If you’re more of a meal-prep family, then you’re likely cutting and prepping your produce ahead of time so it’s easy to grab and go. That’s a great idea for saving on time, but you’ll want to make sure you store these items in glass containers, if possible.
Glass containers will help you to remember what you still need to eat, and they’re also better for keeping things fresh and discouraging moisture. This can go a long way for freshly-cut vegetables, as well as different berries.
Did you know about all of these little tricks? It’s often much easier just to chuck everything into the fridge (don’t I know it), but taking the time to complete these little tasks can make your food last much longer, not to mention your dollar!
What kinds of tricks do you use to keep your produce fresh?0