It happens to all of us- you buy fresh produce and stick it in the refrigerator only to find it a few weeks later looking shrivelled and rotten. When you invest the time and money into a trip to the grocery store, you want to be sure the foods you purchase last as long as possible avoid throwing it out, it’s important to know where to store fruits and vegetables and also which foods to keep separate from each other. Some fruits give off ethylene gas, which can make other produce ripen and rot faster. Here are some important tips to make your produce last longer:
KEEP CELERY IN WATER
To keep celery crisp for longer, cut off the bottom and store it upright in a jar or pitcher of water the refrigerator. Keep in mind that limp celery is still great in soup, stuffing or juice.
DON’T PUT ASPARAGUS IN THE FRIDGE
Asparagus doesn’t need refrigeration. Instead, store it at room temperature. Stand the stalks upright in a glass or bowl of water, loosely arranged. This can keep asparagus for up to a week.
KEEP BERRIES DRY
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are delicate and should not be washed until ready to eat. Keep in refrigerator in dry, covered containers.
PUT ONIONS IN OLD CLEAN PANTYHOSE (AN EXPERT TIP)
Here’s a fun trick for onions- If you want them to last up to 8 months, all you need do is grab that old pair of panty-hose you’ve been allowing to hide in the back of your top dresser drawer, place the onions in the panty-hose, and then tie a knot in between each one to keep them separate. Then hang this from the ceiling.
KEEP PRODUCE WHOLE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
Don’t remove stems or even wash it until you’re ready to eat it. If you do want to store sliced fruit or veggies, keep them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, which limits moisture loss and exposure to bacteria.
KEEP BANANAS SEPARATE
Bananas are the biggest ethylene gas culprits. It’s best to store them away from other non-refrigerated items so they don’t cause other produce to spoil.
STORE UNRIPE FRUITS AND VEGGIES ON COUNTER
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 PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN
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.
KEEP FRIDGE CLEAN
Keep your fridge clean! I know it’s not fun, but it is a necessary evil if you want food to last longer. Leftover residue or mould spores can increase the spoilage of all your food that is in the fridge.
KEEP FRUITS AND VEGGIES AWAY FROM SMOKE AND HEAT
Don’t store fruits and vegetables in an area that tends to have smoke and/or heat (this includes the stove/toaster oven and cigarette smoke). The exhaust and heat from these and certain combustion engines can increase the amount of Ethylene gas that gets produced and speeds up the ripening process.
CHOP OFF CARROT TOPS
Carrot greens are actually edible, but if you leave them intact in the fridge it will make your carrots limp. Before storing in the fridge, separate the root from the greens.
- Cheese should be wrapped in cheese paper or wax paper, not plastic wrap, then put in a plastic baggie.
- Nuts can be stored in the freezer to keep them fresh longer. Ideally put them in Mason jars that have the air vacuumed out with a Food Saver and attachment.
- Avoid over-stocking your fridge, as a crowded fridge will keep air from circulating properly leading to warm spots that can cause spoilage.
- Bunch oily herbs like thyme loosely together, secure them with a string around the base and hang them in your kitchen for storage.
- Fill an ice cube tray with olive oil, then add chopped herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme or oregano) to each cube. Pop one out when you’re cooking for instant herb-infused oil.
- Get an ethylene gas absorber for your fridge; they’re available online and can keep your produce fresh up to three times longer than normal.
- Corn should go in the fridge- in a plastic bag, in the crisper drawer- immediately after you buy it.