We’ve all been there. Stocking up on fresh produce from the grocery store with every intention to use it all up, but inevitably falling short. Here are easy ways to make your produce last and prevent food waste.
1. Store your produce dry
Some moisture is good for produce, but too much moisture can promote mold or mushiness. Make sure you dry anything you’re washing before putting it away.
There are a few exceptions –
- Scallions – store upright, roots-down, in water at room temp.
- Asparagus – trim the ends, set in a glass of water, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Whole carrots and halved stalks of celery – storing them in a covered container of water will keep them firm. Change the water every 2-3 days.
2. Bag it
A plastic bag will help prevent the moisture in veggies from evaporating, which helps prevent greens from limping. Remove the thick stems, then tuck into a plastic bag or reusable lidded container.
3. Keep lettuce and leafy greens dry.
Store in plastic bags with a paper towel in the refrigerator produce drawer.
4. Stash most root vegetables in the produce drawer.
5. Keep onions and garlic in a cool, dark spot of the kitchen.
6. Store potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash in a cool, dark place.
One note – it’s best not to store onions and potatoes together since gas released by the onions can hasten sprouting and spoilage in potatoes.
7. Store bananas at room temperature and away from other produce.
8. For the longest shelf life, store apples, citrus fruits, and pears in the fridge.
If space is limited, store them in a cool, dark place. Apples are best stored on their own. Apples release a fair amount of ethylene gas, which can cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen more quickly. Separating the apples will help other fruits and veggies last longer
9. Rinse Berries with vinegar (1:3 ratio). This disinfects against mold, which can lengthen shelf life by weeks. Then rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
Transfer berries from their packaging to a roomy paper towel-lined container and keep in the produce drawer of the fridge. Wash just before eating.
10. Freeze vegetables
To freeze vegetables, cook them first. Boil or blanch until just barely tender, drain, and immediately immerse in a big bowl of ice water. Dry well and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze and then transfer to a freezer bag.