There’s nothing we hate more than finding slimy, mushy produce in our fridges. Lots of people feel guilty for the amount of food (and money!) that’s been wasted because of this, but it’s not easy to keep track of each fruit or vegetable’s specific lifespan.
The good news is, there are practical steps you can take to prolong the life of your produce! Here’s what we’ve learned about keeping produce fresh.
- keep gassy produce separate
Certain fruits such as apples, bananas, avocados, mangoes, pears, and plums contain a hormone called ethylene which induces the ripening process. Storing produce with high amounts of ethylene near your other fruits and veggies can make them go bad quicker, so be sure to store these separately!
- wash and store your produce right away
As soon as you get home from the grocery store, wash all of your produce, thoroughly dry it, and store it in the proper conditions.
For leafy greens, the best method is to rinse them, wrap them in a paper towel, and store them in a sealed plastic bag or container. Your fridge’s crisper drawer is the best area to keep them.
Stone fruits like mangoes and nectarines can ripen in a bowl and then be transferred to the fridge once they’re good to eat.
Certain items like onions, garlic, and potatoes are best kept at room temperature.
- freeze to preserve freshness
If you can’t eat your produce right away, you can let it ripen, cut it into pieces if needed, and freeze it in a plastic bag or container for up to 3 months. This is an easy and convenient way to reduce the amount of food you waste!
- store cut fruits & veggies in water
While certain types of produce are best kept dry, you can actually preserve the crispness and freshness of others like carrots, green onions, lettuce heads, and celery by keeping them in water. Start by cutting them up and placing them upright in a mason jar. Fill the jar with water, tighten the lid if it fits, and place it in your fridge.
You’ll want to replace the water every 2-3 days to make your veggies last the longest.
There’s no magic spell to make produce stay fresh forever, but you can do these small things to make the most out of it! Not only will your bank account thank you, but the planet will too.