Nothing beats going to the farmer’s market and snagging some locally grown, fresh and delicious produce, so you obviously want to make sure your money is well spent and that produce ends up in your belly, rather than the garbage or compost bin. Though it may seem like throwing all of your fresh produce into the veggie crisper is the right thing to do, did you know that certain fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be placed together, or that some veggies and fruits do better not being in the refrigerator at all? Take a look at these tips on how to keep produce fresh longer, so you’ll no longer waste money by ending up with soggy, wilted, inedible vegetables at the end of the week.
Certain veggies and fruits do not belong in the fridge
Believe it or not, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes shouldn’t be kept in the refrigerator, because the cold from the fridge causes them lose their flavor. Keep this produce in a cool, dry place. Unripe fruits such as pears, peaches, plums, bananas, avocados, mangoes, melons and apricots should remain on your counter until they are ripe. Once they are ripe, it’s safe to put them in the refrigerator. Avocados that are cut in half need to be stored in an airtight container with the pit still in it. The pit prevents the avocado from browning. Fun fact: Avocados ripen more quickly when kept in a brown paper bag.
Immediately get rid of rotten produce
If you see your produce begin to mold, it’s important to immediately remove it from the other produce and dispose of it. Mold spreads quickly, and if it’s in the same container or drawer in the refrigerator, that one moldy apply can lead to completely spoiled produce.
Keep produce in plain sight
Most people forget about their produce when it’s banned to the crisper. Prevent food waste by storing your veggies in airtight containers in plain sight on the racks of your refrigerator. There are even reusable produce bags that you can purchase that function like your produce crisper drawer.
Store salad greens in bags
Leaving a little air in the bags, place the greens inside and seal them tightly. This works for fresh herbs, as well. Be sure the greens are completely dry before storage, because the sealed tight bag will speed up the molding process if there is any moisture.
Store fruits and veggies in airtight containers if prepping all at once
For those who are on diet plans and like to prep all their food at once for the week, store all produce in airtight containers that are lined with paper towels. Not only will they be visible and easily accessible to grab and go, but the paper towels will prevent moisture buildup on the fruit.
Store citrus fruits in a cool, dark, dry place and they will last for a week
Oranges, tangerines, limes and lemons will do just fine outside of the refrigerator if you can eat all of your fruit within a week. However, if you want them to last even longer, store them in the fridge in a mesh bag.
Don’t wash your berries immediately before storing them in the refrigerator
If your berries are wet when you put them in the fridge, they will hold that moisture because of their proximity to each other, and mold a lot quicker than if you wait to wash them off right before you eat them.
Wrap celery stalks in aluminum foil
Celery will last longer and stay crisp if you wrap it in tin foil and put it in the crisper drawer. Just don’t forget it’s there!
Make note of the fruits and veggies that produce ethylene gas as they ripen, and keep them separate from other produce
Apples, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens and watermelon produces ethylene gas when they ripen, and avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, pears, plums and tomatoes are highly sensitive to this gas and will spoil quickly if exposed. Store these veggies and fruits in a different place than the ethylene-producing fruits and veggies.
Store a pineapple upside down after cutting off the green top
Storing the pineapple upside down keeps the pineapple fresher longer, and it also helps to disperse sugars that have sunk to the bottom during shipping, distributing them throughout the pineapple—no more sour pineapple!
Store carrots, lettuce and broccoli in separate, sealed plastic baggies in your crisper
As soon as these items are harvested, the spoiling process begins. Placing them in a plastic baggy after drying them out completely will ensure the spoiling process is slowed down.