Make Your Fresh Produce Last Longer — and Avoid Wasting Food — With These 13 Tricks
There's nothing worse than loading up during your weekly trip to the farmers market or grocery store and then forgetting about all your goodies, only to find them languishing limply in your crisper drawer days later. To keep produce fresher for longer, follow these tips:
- Some fruits and veggies produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive to it, so keep ethylene-producing foods away from ethylene-sensitive foods. Avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, pears, plums, and tomatoes, for example, should be stored in a different place than your apples, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, and watermelon. Get a longer list of fruits to store separately here.
- Keep potatoes, onions, and tomatoes in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavor.
- Store unripe fruits and veggies like pears, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangoes, apricots, avocados, melons, and bananas on the counter. Once they're ripe, move them to the fridge. Banana peels will turn dark brown, but it won't affect the flesh.
- Store salad greens and fresh herbs in bags filled with a little air and sealed tightly.
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes, will do fine for up to a week in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight, but you can lengthen their lives by storing them in the fridge in a mesh or perforated plastic bag.
- Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store it in the veggie bin in the fridge.
- Other types of produce such as carrots, lettuce, and broccoli start to spoil as soon as they're picked, so place these in separate plastic baggies in the crisper in your fridge ASAP (make sure they're dry since moisture speeds up spoiling).
- Cut the leafy tops of your pineapple off and store your pineapple upside down. This helps redistribute sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping and also helps it keep longer.
- Avoid washing berries until right before you're ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth.
- If you like to wash, dry, and cut your fruits and veggies all at once, store them in covered glass containers lined in paper towels. You'll not only be able to see them — which reminds you to eat them — but you'll also be keeping moisture out.
- If you normally forget to use up fruits and veggies if you put them in the crisper, store your veggies in plain sight in Evert-Fresh or reusable produce bags that mimic your crisper's function.
- Buy only what you need. Plan out your meals ahead of time so you only buy what you know you'll use.
- If you notice any rotten produce, compost it immediately before it starts to spoil the rest of the produce.