If you are like me there is nothing worse than having to throw away a bag of fruit or veggies that you just bought. I have every intention of using whatever it is that I purchased and then stuff happens and you don’t eat at home for a couple of days or you have to whip up a quick meal so you can get your kids off to their sports thing or class and then a couple of days go by and you go to the fridge to use it and it’s slimy or moldy and you have to just toss it. It’s basically just throwing money straight into the garbage and I hate wasting money, we all do it and it’s not on purpose but it just happens.
I’ve put together a list of 25 tips to make your fruit & veggies last longer. It doesn’t cover every produce item on the planet but most of the common ones we use on a daily basis. These are just recommendations, you have to do what works best for you and your family!
25 Tips to make your fruit and veggies last longer:
1. Throw a clean dry sponge in the fruit and vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, the sponge absorbs moisture and your produce will last longer. Change out the sponge every couple of months.
2. Keep apples in a cool dry place, most of us don’t have a root cellar to store food so the refrigerator will have to do. Be careful to store them away from vegetables, apples produce a gas that can cause other produce nearby to ripen prematurely.
3.If you have a banana hanger use it! Bananas give off gasses that make them ripen and turn brown, they need good air circulation around and under them. I actually use a banana hanger, here is a picture of mine.
(Did you know you can freeze ripe bananas)? Check out my post How to freeze ripe bananas.
4. Make sure berries are completely dry before putting them in the refrigerator, wait to wash them until you are ready to use them. Keep them in the little plastic container with holes that they usually come in or in another container loosely covered.
5.There is no definitive answer for citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, I keep mine on the counter but they can be stored in the refrigerator in a ventilated bag. Just use a sandwich or freezer bag and cut small holes to allow ventilation. Maybe you have a better solution that I don’t know about, please share.
6. When you buy grapes, after rinsing, leave them in the colander for storage in the refrigerator. The holes in the colander allow air to circulate around them.
7. If you want to store produce in bags make sure to wrap loosely, air circulation around fruits and vegetables reduces spoilage. Make your own bags, poke holes in ordinary ziploc storage bags.
8. If you are only using half of an avocado, leave the pit in the half that you are not using and sprinkle with lemon juice to keep it from browning. Store in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator.
9. To keep asparagus fresher, place the stem ends in a container of water or wrap them in a wet paper towel and put in a plastic bag. The asparagus will continue to absorb water and stay fresher longer.
10. Broccoli will keep longer if you store it in the refrigerator like a bouquet of flowers. Cut an inch off the stems and submerge the stems in a bowl of water.
11. The best way to store celery is to take it out of the plastic bag from the store, wrap it in aluminum foil and keep it in the refrigerator.
12. Store garlic at room temperature in an open container, don’t take off the protective paper husk until you are ready to use it. It is ok to store next to onions.
13. Keep raw ginger in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer. When you need some for a recipe, no need to defrost, just use a grater and add what you need to your recipe.
14. Revive wilted greens like lettuce or cilantro by soaking them in ice water for 15-20 minutes.
15. To make iceberg lettuce last longer just remove the innermost core before storing the refrigerator. I just hit the core hard on my kitchen counter and then it pulls right out. Make sure the lettuce is dry and store in a bag with holes that allow air circulation.
16. Leave mushrooms in the original container that they come in, the container is usually cardboard to keep the mushrooms from being too wet. Plastic containers tend to hold the moisture in which allows them to become soggy. Don’t wash them until you are ready to use them.
17. If you only need half an onion, use the top half first. The root half will not sprout and will store longer in the refrigerator.
18. Store onions in pantyhose…I know it sounds funny, you start with one leg, put the onions in one at a time and then tie and then add another and repeat until you reach the top, do the same thing with the other leg. When onions are stored touching each other they tend to spoil faster, this really makes them last longer. Here are my onions in pantyhose in the garage if you don’t believe me, when you need an onion just use a pair of scissors and cut off the bottom onion, the rest won’t fall out because you have tied in between each one.
20. To keep your potatoes from sprouting store them in a bin with an apple, the apple will slow down the sprouting process.
21. Spinach gets slimy so fast, the best way to keep it fresh for as long as possible is to make sure the leaves are completely dry. Separate into layers and place paper towels in between the layers and store in an airtight container or put back in the original bag including the paper towels. That’s a whole lot of work that I don’t want to do so my professional advice haha, is to use spinach as quickly as you can!!!
22. If you are only using half a bell pepper in a recipe, make the other half last longer by leaving the seeds and membrane intact on one side. Leaving the seeds and membrane will make it last longer, store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
23. Don’t store tomatoes in the refrigerator, cold destroys the flavor and texture. Keep them on your counter at room temperature and try to keep them separate.
24. If you buy root vegetables with leafy tops like beets or carrots, remove the greens before storage. The leafy tops will suck the moisture and shorten the life of the vegetable.
25. Last but not least…..Bagged Salad…my nemesis. Don’t get me wrong I love the convenience of bagged salad but we don’t always use the whole thing so I wrap up the leftovers and then a day later it’s all slimy and gross. The amount I spent on that bagged salad I could have bought several bunches of green or red leaf lettuce and had 5 salads. After some research here is the best way to keep it fresh for as long as possible, dump out the remaining salad onto a paper towel, wrap it up in the towel and place it back into the bag, leave the bag open for air circulation. Honestly, this is another one like the spinach, too much work so just eat the salad as quickly as you can!!!
Whewww that’s a lot, what tricks do you use to keep your fruit and veggies fresh?
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