Fruits and vegetables are the best way to get the nutrition your body craves from good healthy foods. But storing fruits and vegetable incorrectly can limit their life causing you to throw out more than you use.
If you blend smoothies on a daily basis, you need your fruits and vegetables to last for more than a week, else you will be wasting a lot of money. One option is to simply freeze everything, but if you prefer a fresher taste, there are ways to keep vegetables fresh longer and avoid costly hits to your budget.
Here are some of my favorite methods.
How to Keep Produce Fresh
Fruit and vegetable storage begins with maintaining a clean refrigerator. Start with a box of baking soda in the fridge. What does baking soda do? Baking soda benefits include keeping the smells in check, however it is only part of a process of keeping your refrigerator clean in order to reduce mold which can transfer to food items.
Do not put too many items inside your refrigerator because in order to maintain optimal temperature inside, there needs to be good air circulation to keep fresh vegetables.
Purchase vegetable storage bags that are designed to store absorb ethylene gas which is given off naturally by ripening produce which speeds up the aging process of the individual fruit or vegetable, but also every other piece of produce around it. So it is best to store different types of produce separately.
How to store fresh spinach or other leafy greens? When storing greens in a bag or wrapped in saran wrap or aluminum foil, you want them to be as dry as possible.
After washing the greens, shake them in a colander and allow them to dry. Remove the greens and place on the counter on a paper towel. Dab any remaining moisture from the leaves, then place them on a separate, dry paper towel or even a piece of newspaper. Wrap them up, then cover with saran wrap or foil and place in the refrigerator crisper.
In order to keep lettuce fresh, place leafy greens such as kale or romaine lettuce in a large bottle with water and cover the top. Store rooted vegetables vertically in a jar or bottle is usuall the best way to extend their life.
To keep green onions parlsey or cilantro longer, chop them up and place them in zip lock bag designed for the freezer. In fact, freezing is said to be nature’s pause button and also works well with carrots and any berry.
Wondering how to preserve potatoes? Well, to keep potatoes longer, store them with apples. It turns out the ethylene gas produced by apples will inhibit the potatoes from sprouting. However, do not store potatoes near onions.
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Carrots, Berries and Other Veggies
However, storing carrots properly are a different story. Carrots love moisture and actually need to be placed in cold water every few days if you want to keep them fresh longer. You should also cut off the top of the carrot. After wetting them, put them in a sealed container wrapped in a damp paper towel. After several week, you can freeze them for use later.
If you are like me, you love limes and lemons in water, beer or even a soda. So I like to keep them on hand. The best way to extend their lives is to store them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. If you leave them on the countertop in a basket, they will only last a week or more. Storing limes that have been precut and placed in sealed bags will even keep them usable for a week.
When buying fresh berries or any greens, soak them in a mixture of 10 to 1 water to vinegar to clean them before storage. This will also extend their lives. If you are not going to eat any of the produce in the first 5 days, go ahead and freeze any berries or greens.
If you cut open an avocado to make guacamole, to keep both the extra avocado and guacamole from going brown, spray both with some lemon juice, and place in a plastic bag with an onion.
Keep tomatoes and other produce out of direct sunlight. Fruits and vegetables like avocados, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears for example will continue to ripen as it sits on your counter.
Finally, do not store fruits or vegetables near meat in the refrigerator because you risk cross contamination if one or the other goes bad.
Other veggies like bell peppers and all types of berries should be refrigerated immediately.
As for storing bananas, apples and oranges in a basket on the counter, make sure you do not store them near a gas oven since natural gas causes produce to ripen faster. The best way to store bananas is separately from other fruits because they produce some of the highest rates of ethylene gas.
In fact, you can use this to your advantage if you have green bananas that you need to ripen. Simply close them off in a bag and the process will speed up.
The best way to store celery is to cut the top and bottom of the stalk, then wrap it in aluminum foil. Aluminum foil is useful when storing many other vegetables as well, especially when first wrapped in paper towels to soak up moisture.
If you are wondering how to keep fruit fresh longer, following a few simple steps can add weeks to the lives of all of your produce.
When you purchase any produce from the grocery store, being the storing process by removing it from the plastic bags and cutting any ties or rubber bands holding it together. If you wash your fruits and vegetables before placing in the refrigerator, make sure they are dry before placing in a vegetable storage bag.
Storing fruits and vegetables separately to avoid premature aging from ethylene gas is the key to fresh fruits and vegetables. Freezing vegetables is also another option if you are not going to use them right away.
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