20 Ways To Keep Your Fruits and Veggies Fresh For Longer
Groceries, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, can run a family hundreds of dollars each month. The last thing you want to do, after spending all that money, is throw that produce in the trash because the tomatoes are rotten and the garlic has sprouted. Making your groceries last is really important, but Americans typically throw away roughly 14% of the food they take home from the grocery store. Much of this waste can be prevented with a little care and proper storage. Save your money by learning how to effectively extend the shelf life of your fresh fruits and vegetables.
Some of the fresh produce disposed of is actually salvageable. Before tossing out the cheese, consider just removing that single spot of mold. The rest of the cheese is safe to eat. And if a piece of fruit is bruised, just eat around the bruise. The rest of the pear or apple is probably fine, so why waste it? This will save you a lot of money in the long run.
BASIC STORAGE TIPS
- Do not wash fresh fruits and vegetables before storing them. Wash them when you are ready to use them. Extra moisture on them can cause molding. Not washing them can add several days to their shelf life.
- Keep your refrigerator cold and not overpacked. It should be set to 40 degrees or lower. And an overfull fridge inhibits air flow which may lead to food spoiling faster.
- To dramatically extend shelf life, consider freezing fruits and vegetables. Most will keep better and be easier to use in the future if they are chopped and sealed tightly before freezing. Freezing will also help to retain vitamins and nutrients.
- Separate fruits and veggies from food packed in cans and boxes. These inorganic containers can leak chemicals and contaminate your produce.
- Remove the air from bags and containers before storing vegetables. This simple step can double shelf life.
- Remove the ties and rubber bands holding your veggies together before storing.
- You can extend shelf life by cooking vegetables before storing them. When you are ready to use them, simply pull them out and incorporate them into whatever you are cooking.
Now that you have some basic produce storage know-how, let’s look at how to store specific fruits and vegetables to extend shelf life.
Keep bananas on the counter, away from other fruits and vegetables. Bananas produce a lot of ethylene gas which contributes to the spoiling of other fresh produce. If your bananas are beginning to brown, you can preserve their freshness by storing them in the fridge. Wrap the crown of the entire bunch of bananas with plastic to keep them fresh nearly a week longer than normal.
- Apples and Pears
Like bananas, apples and pears produce large amounts of ethylene gas. Keep them separated from other fruits and vegetables to prevent spoilage. Store apples on the counter. They should last for about a week.