There’s nothing worse than seeing a bunch of expensive produce go to waste right before you’re eyes. Whether you just don’t have the energy to cook it, and it goes bad, or it gets hidden behind other items and you forget about it – expired food is never a fun thing to discover.
Here are a bunch of ways that will help you to keep produce fresh longer:
12 Ways to Keep Produce Fresh Longer
1. Plan your meals
One of the best ways to remember to use up all of the produce you buy, is to plan a weekly menu that incorporates your purchases.
Menu planning doesn’t have to be complicated either. Keep things simple. The main goal is just making sure you are using up what you buy at store, to prevent it from going bad.
Wasted food is wasted money, and no one likes to waste money!
2. Store fruits and vegetables separately
Some fruits and veggies produce a gas as they ripen. This gas, ethylene, can prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive tp it, so you’ll want to keep these ethylene-producing foods away from foods that are sensitive to this has.
- Green Beans
- Lettuce (and other greens)
- Summer Squash
3. Store squash, potatoes & onions in a cool, dry & dark place
Whether you keep them in a cold cellar, or even just a dark cabinet that doesn’t see a lot of sunlight, ensure that these items are stored somewhere that’s cool and dark.
Don’t put them in the fridge, though, as the cold air can ruin the flavour of them both.
Also, make sure to store your potatoes separately from your onions, because when you store them together, they both produce gases that spoil each other. Onions will make potatoes expire quickly and vice versa.
4. Store tomatoes stem side down
Here’s a little trick to help make your tomatoes last just a little bit longer – store them upside down!
This will prevent air from geting into the little bit at the top of the tomato (where it used to be attached to the plant), slowing down the ripening process.
5. Store unripe fruits on the counter
If you have a bunch of fruits, such as pears, bananas, plums, kiwis, and mangoes that aren’t yet ripe, allow them to sit on the counter until they have ripened. Then, to ensure they last awhile, move them to the fridge.
Yes, even bananas (they will turn black in colour, but the taste will be the same!).
6. Protect your greens
Store herbs and salad greens in large zip-top bags, with a sheet or two of paper towel inside.
The paper towel will absorb the moisture from the herbs and greens, and keep the plant fresher for much longer.
7. Keep celery fresh longer
A great tip for keeping your celery fresh and crisp for weeks is to wrap it completely in aluminum foil.
Stick it in your refrigerator crisper and it will last up to 4 weeks!
8. Pineapple trick
Remove the leafy tops off of your pieapple and turn your pineapple upside down. Store it this way on your counter until ready to cut and eat.
Doing this will help to redistribute sugars that often sink to the bottom of the pineapple during shipping.
9. Get rid of rotten produce
If you notice any rotten produce, get rid of it right away, otherwise it will start to spoil the rest of your goodies.
Go through your packages of berries, your lettuce, your carrots, your tomatoes, and look for anything that has gone bad (or appears to be heading that way quick!), and toss is.
10. Store everything in plain sight
To encourage eating before spoilage, make sure that you’re always storing your fruits and vegetables in plain sight. You should be forced to look at them multiple times per day, to remind you to eat them.
If everything is pushed to the back of your fridge, it will be hidden behind everything else you have in there, and will more than likely result in produce that’s gone bad and is no longer edible.
11. Don’t wash your berries
Try to avoid washing your berries until you’re ready to eat them.
Tempting as it is to prep ahead, if your berries are wet, they’re likely to spoil much sooner than if they weren’t. So, unless you plan on eating them all within a day or two, don’t wash your berries until right before consumption.
12. Freeze what you don’t use
If you cannot use up your produce – freeze it to eat and enjoy later. You can freeze most produce, such as melon (chopped), berries, bananas, bell peppers (chopped) and celery (chopped), tomatoes (remove the core).
You can freeze other produce, such as carrots and broccoli, but they will first need to be blanched, because it stops the enzymes that keep vegetables ripening. It also helps to slow vitamin and mineral loss.
To blanch vegetables: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add your veggies. Once the water returns to a boil, cook for about 2 minutes, then drain and immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water.
Once completely chilled, drain again and once dried, add to a freezer bag or container.
Do you have any tips for keeping produce fresh longer? Please share in the comments!