Tired of the wilting spinach left in your fridge for days? Did you splurge at the farmer’s market and now have too much for the week? Start saving money with these tips to keep your fruits and veggies ripe, fresh, and ready-to-eat.
1. Select Ripe, Fresh Produce
Keeping your fruits and vegetables fresh begins at the store. When making your selections, keep an eye out for cuts, bruising, or soft spots on the produce available. Damages to the fruit triggers enzymatic reactions, which speed the spoiling process.
2. Freeze What You Don’t Use
Once at home with your grocery finds, consider freezing what you won’t be using within the next few days.This immediate freezing will ensure your fruits and vegetables are frozen at their top condition.
3. Store Smart
Vegetables are best stored in the bottom rack, or lower level of the fridge. It is not recommended to store fruits or vegetables in the door rack of the fridge, as it is exposed to varying temperatures when opened.
Related: How to Select Fresh Vegetables – Part 1
4. Stay Dry
Avoid rinsing your vegetables right when you get home. It’s best to rinse them before preparation, as the excess moisture can induce mold growth between vegetables. Stick extra paper towels between damp areas.
5. Keep It Cool
Store foods away from appliances and areas that emit heat. Heating the fruits or vegetables will accelerate the ripening action, and lead to molding. Some fruits and vegetable do better at room temperature, others in the fridge. Check out more differences listed below.
6. Keep Them Separate
Keeping fruits and veggies together can quicken the spoiling process. Fruits tend to be ethylene producing, and vegetables are mostly ethylene-sensitive. It is a good idea to keep the two away from each other, as the ethylene-sensitive vegetables will spoil faster next to ethylene producing fruit. The two bins standard in most fridges will be a good produce barrier for freshness.
Related: How to Select Fresh Vegetables- Part 2
7. Lemon Juice Prep
If you’ve already cut some apples and need to store the rest, try a lemon juice soak to halt the browning process. The acids in lemon juice stop the protein enzymes from reacting to create the brown, wilting color.
Try soaking apple halves in one cup of cold water, with a splash of lemon juice. A teaspoon or tablespoon will work. This soak will also work on pears. Soak for five minutes, drain, and rinse. Enjoy your new, fresh looking fruits.
8. Future Planning
Keep good tabs on what you tend to eat during the week. This can help over-buying, and reduce spoiling from fruits and vegetables you don’t use.
9. Know the Difference
Certain vegetables require different storage methods. Consider doing research beforehand to check which methods are best for storing each type of produce. Potatoes and onions, for example, should be stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Avocados and melons do best when allowed to ripen, then refrigerated. And some, simply refrigerated right away.
Keep track of how long vegetables typically have before reaching their expiration. Some will lose their freshness after only a few days, others can stay for over a week.
Related: How to Select Fresh and Ripe Fruit – Part 1
10. Prune Your Stock
Watch your produce stock daily and remove any spoiling fruits or molding areas. This will stop the spoilage from spreading to the remaining healthy items, keeping your produce fresh.
If stored in bags, create small punctures to allow air flow in order to prevent spoilage. Leave a bit of room in between items for air flow and freshness.
11. Select Food Containers
A few products can go a long way in keeping your produce fresh. These containers allow for easy storage, ventilation, and are dishwasher safe. Check one out to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh for longer.
- Rubbermaid FreshWorks Food Saver
- Prepworks Fresh Fruit and Veggie Keeper
12. Pro Tips
- Store asparagus upright, in a glass of water.
- Puncture a lemon and squeeze the juice, instead of cutting in half. This keeps the remaining pieces from drying out.
- Store avocados in a paper bag.
- Use pantyhose to store onions. Tie a knot in between each piece, and this will help air flow reach the produce, while keeping it fresh.
Stick with these tips, and you are on your way to fresher produce and more monthly savings. Enjoy the benefits of healthier fruit, and healthier you.