According to U.S. News and World Report, the average person wastes about ¼ of the food they purchase. In many cases, the stuff that is tossed is fruits and vegetables that are past their prime. Not only does this cost you money, but it’s not good for the environment and it always makes me feel bad to throw away food when there are so many people in the world who don’t get enough to eat. Storing your produce differently can help your food last longer and save you money, while also allowing you to eat a variety of healthy foods.
1. Keep Them Separated
One of the primary rules when it comes to storing your fruits and vegetables is to keep them separate. That’s why there are usually two produce drawers in the average refrigerator. One is for the fruits and one is for the vegetables. When you store them all mixed up together, the gases given off by the fruits can spoil the vegetables much more quickly. Keeping them in their own place prolongs the life of both fruits and vegetables.
2. Get Rid of Ties and Rubber Bands
You know the rubber bands that come on celery, green onions and asparagus, just to name a few? Those things can speed spoiling when you leave them on. Experts say to snip them all off when you get home from the grocery store instead of waiting until you get ready to prepare them.
3. You Don’t Have to Refrigerate All Things
Certain fruits and veggies can ripen on the counter rather than having to be chilled. Among them are onions, avocados, melons, apples, tomatoes, mangoes and pears. You can store these in a large fruit bowl to save space in the refrigerator for items that will spoil if they aren’t chilled. That includes things like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, bell peppers, grapes, berries and kiwis.
4. Wash Leafy Greens before Storing
By washing your leafy green veggies before you put them into the refrigerator, you ensure that they stay fresh longer so that you get a chance to eat them before they go bad. Soak the greens in cool water and then stash them in your veggie drawer. This applies to lettuce, kale, spinach, mustard greens and any other leafy green.
5. Poke Holes in the Bags
Personally, I hate produce bags and just bring my stuff home loose, but if you prefer the bags, make sure you put a few holes in them when you get home so that fruits and veggies can breathe. Without good air flow, your produce will spoil more quickly, leaving you with nasty food that you’ll just end up throwing away rather than eating.
6. Bananas Will Speed Ripening of Anything
Not only do bananas themselves ripen very quickly, but they also speed the ripening of the fruits and veggies around them. It’s fine to store your bananas in your fruit bowl, but keep an eye on the other stuff so you can be sure it’s not getting too ripe.
7. Don’t Stuff Your Produce Drawers
When you pile your fruits and veggies in the fridge, make sure you don’t pack them in too tightly. This restricts air flow and encourages spoiling. You might consider buying just half of what you’ll eat in a week and then making a quick trip back to the store to restock a few days later.
Which of these tips are you going to try today?