No matter whether they come from the grocery store, the farmers’ market, or a neighbor’s garden, fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the best things about the warm weather months. They’re like summer on a plate.
But eating it all before it goes bad is a race against the clock. And if you’re anything like me it breaks your heart (and your wallet) every time you end up having to toss some of that delicious food in the trash.
Preserve the freshness of fruits and veggies far longer
With the following six produce-preserving hacks, you won’t have to. They can help keep your fruits and veggies fresh far longer.
Asparagus season is running down. But you can still find some beautiful late-season spears. To make it last, you’ll want to treat your asparagus like flowers.
First, trim the bottoms flat. Then put them in water, just as if they were a bouquet. Store them in the fridge just like that and they will stay fresh for days. Covering them with a plastic baggie can extend the time by another day or two.
If you aren’t able to eat your bananas right away, try wrapping their stems in plastic wrap. This can help keep them from ripening too fast.
And once the bananas are ripe, go ahead and put them in the refrigerator. The peels will turn brown in just a few hours, but the banana itself will stay delicious for a few days.
Most folks rinse their berries as soon as they get home, and this is a huge mistake. A fresh water rinse will make them prone to mold and rot. Either don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them, or wash them the right way.
To make a simple homemade berry rinse combine three cups water and one cup of white vinegar. Gently stir the berries around to make sure they’re good and wet, then rinse them in plain water.
Next, spread them out in a single layer on a paper towel to dry. While they’re drying, line a glass container with a fresh paper towel. Layer your berries into the container and cover tightly. They should stay fresh for at least a week.
Don’t leave your celery in the plastic bag it came in. The bag will trap in ethylene gas which causes the veggie to ripen too fast.
Celery tends to get limp because it loses moisture and there are two ways to combat this. You can wrap the celery in aluminum foil tightly enough to keep the moisture in. Just make sure you don’t wrap them so tightly you trap in the ethylene gas.
If you prefer to skip the aluminum foil, cut the celery stalks into smaller pieces and put them in water in a glass container with a tightly fitting top. Store them in the refrigerator and they will stay crisp and green for days. This trick works for other cut veggies, such as carrots, too.
5. Stone fruit:
Stone fruits such as peaches, plums and nectarines are tricky. Getting them ripe enough to eat, without losing them to mold and rot is a challenge.
When you get your stone fruit home, don’t wash them. Place them in a brown bag and in a day or two they should be perfectly ripe. Remove them from the bag, store on your counter or in the fridge, and eat them within the next couple of days.
6. Summer squash and zucchini:
When you bring some summer squash or zucchini home don’t just shove them into the back of the fridge and hope for the best. Put them in a paper bag with an end open so that air circulates instead. This keeps them dry enough not to go bad but moist enough that the skins don’t become shriveled and gross.
Stop bringing home fresh fruits and veggies just to watch them rot. Use these produce-preserving hacks to keep them fresher, longer.