12 Simple Tips to Keep Your Produce Fresh for Longer
There’s nothing worse than purchasing a week’s worth of groceries only to find them moldy and rotten a few days later. Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh and extend their shelf life. Check out our favorite 12 practices for reducing waste, saving money, and enjoying fresh, vibrant produce for longer.
1. Brush lime juice on avocado and apple halves
Halved avocados and apples tend to brown quickly when exposed to air due to a process called oxidation.
To prevent this, brush the exposed surfaces with lime juice. The citric acid in the juice slows the browning process and keeps your fruit looking fresh and appetizing.
2. Store mushrooms in a paper bag
Mushrooms benefit from a slightly different storage method than most produce.
Keep them in a paper bag in the refrigerator. The bag absorbs excess moisture, preventing the mushrooms from getting slimy and prolonging their freshness.
3. Avoid refrigerating tomatoes
Tomatoes maintain their best flavor and texture when stored at room temperature.
Refrigeration can make them mealy and can mute their flavor. Keep tomatoes on the counter, away from direct sunlight.
4. Wrap celery in foil
To keep celery crisp for as long as possible, ditch the plastic bag it came in and wrap it in aluminum foil before storing it in the refrigerator.
The foil allows ethylene gas, produced naturally in the ripening process, to escape, keeping the celery crisp for weeks.
5. Don't separate bananas until ready to eat
Bananas ripen more quickly when separated from the bunch.
To slow the ripening process, keep them together until you're ready to eat them. Additionally, wrapping the top stem in plastic wrap can help slow the release of ethylene gas and extend their freshness.
6. Understand the storage needs of your produce
Different fruits and vegetables require different storage conditions.
Some produce, like berries, need to be stored in the fridge. Others, like potatoes, need to be kept at room temperature, and some, like leafy greens, require a bit of humidity. Understanding these needs can help extend the life of your produce.
7. Separate certain fruits and vegetables
Many fruits, such as bananas, avocados, peaches, and tomatoes, release ethylene gas.
This natural plant hormone can speed up ripening and spoilage in other produce. Store these fruits separately from vegetables and other fruits that are sensitive to this gas.
8. Wash produce just before use
Moisture can encourage the growth of mold and bacteria
Which is why it's best to wash fruits and vegetables just before you're ready to eat or cook with them. This keeps them dry during storage and extends their shelf life.
9. Use a paper towel for extra moisture control
If storing fruits and vegetables in a bag, put a paper towel in to absorb excess moisture. This simple trick can significantly extend the freshness of your produce.
10. Treat delicate herbs like flowers
Delicate herbs like parsley, cilantro, and dill can be treated like a bouquet of flowers.
Cut the stems and place the herbs in a glass or jar with water. Cover them with a plastic bag to maintain humidity and store them in the fridge.
11. Invest in specialized storage containers or bags
These can be especially useful for particularly sensitive produce like leafy greens.
Produce storage containers or bags are designed to control the flow of oxygen and ethylene, helping your produce stay fresh for longer.
12. Know how to ripen, then refrigerate
Certain fruits like avocados, kiwi, peaches, pears, and plums should be ripened on the counter, then moved to the fridge.
This allows them to ripen perfectly, and the fridge then slows down the ripening process, helping them stay fresh for longer.As a bonus, try the 4x2 grocery shopping and meal planning methods to save time, eat healthier at home, and eat healthier.