We’ve all been there: we grab a good helping of fresh veggies, fruit, and herbs, only to find that within a couple of days they’ve started to go bad before we can even finish eating them. While it may feel like a losing battle with the decomposition process, all is not lost when it comes to making your fresh produce stay that way.
Treat your leafy greens like flowers.
Trimming the ends of the stems on your greens and placing them in water can do wonders for the lifespan of your salad ingredients. Refrigeration is still important, but if you’re used to just placing your vegetables inside and calling it a day, it might be worth switching things up a little for a couple of extra days of non-wilted spinach. If you need any confirmation of how much fresher this approach can keep things, just take a look at most grocery stores and you’ll likely find live herbs alongside your onions and peppers.
Consider investing in produce containers.
These specialized containers come in a variety of names– produce savers, produce keepers, you name it– but they all serve the same function of preserving your fruit and veggies more effectively than plain refrigeration. You can even buy vacuum seal preservation systems if you’re wanting to go all out on your food-saving quest.
Keep sliced or cut produce separately sealed.
When slicing into an apple, we’re all familiar with the limited time frame we have before the inside begins to brown. Keeping sliced produce safe with extra precautions will help preserve both your fruit or vegetable as well as all its whole peers.
If you’re going to keep something for more than a couple of days, always refrigerate it.
We’re commonly told to avoid refrigerating room-temperature food like tomatoes and avocados, but if you’re not going to be digging into yours for a few days, it’s still a good idea to keep these items cold; while leaving them on the counter will allow them to ripen naturally, this also means they ripen (and rot) faster.
Wrap your produce in paper towels before storing them away.
Paper towels absorb the excess water that vegetables and fruit leave behind in the fridge, keeping them from decomposing faster from the extra moisture. Some recommend different methods for different items– for instance, celery is said to be kept best in aluminum foil– but you can never go with wrapping your greens in paper towels, too.
Always buy just a few days in advance.
While this won’t salvage the extra produce you already have, planning ahead and making a list of what days you need what items will allow you to shop accordingly. If you won’t be using something in a recipe or don’t see yourself eating something in two or three days, it’s probably worth grabbing during a future trip to the grocery store.