If you read anything about diet in fitness, you will no doubt have heard how important it is for staying healthy and fit, to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
But with the rising costs of food, including both conventional and organic produce, everyone is thinking about how to extend his or her food dollar. Here are 5 tips to keeping those veggies fresher longer:
- A simple suggestion to keep veggies longer is to wrap green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, in a newspaper before putting in the vegetable bag or tray. This will keep them fresh much longer. Of course, thoroughly wash them after removing from the paper.
- Use your fridge’s crisper drawer. Specific vegetables have specific ways to store them to keep peak freshness as long as possible. Carrots, for example, should have the greens cut off, then be sealed in plastic bags or airtight containers. Then they can last 2-4 weeks in your refrigerator’s crisper. All veggies should be sealed in airtight bags or containers before putting in the crisper for maximum freshness.
- Keep potatoes, onions, and tomatoes in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavor.
- Not all fruits and vegetable play nicely together. In order to last their longest, some fruits and vegetables should not be stored together. This is because certain plant foods produce ethylene as they ripen. Ethylene can prematurely ripen, or shorten the life of foods that are sensitive to it. So, you need to store ethylene-producing foods separately from ethylene-sensitive foods. For example ethylene-producing foods such as avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, pears, plums, and tomatoes, for example, should be stored in a different place than apples, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, and watermelon – which are all ethylene sensitive.
- A box of baking soda in the fridge or crisper drawer removes moisture that can help keep veggies crisper longer – and absorb odors when they start to “go.”
- Do not wash veggies prior to storage. The increased moisture will cause them to wilt. Only wash after taking them out.
- 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 contrary to popular belief, this does not affect the flesh or the taste of the banana inside.
Some vegetables, such as asparagus and broccoli, will not last more than 3-5 days no matter how well they are stored. Others such as carrots, beets and turnips, can last as long as 3-4 weeks when stored properly. But no matter the veggie, following these tips will stretch your grocery dollar by keeping them fresher longer.