We have all been there — you are super excited to start eating healthier so you go out and buy tons and tons of fruits and veggies. Then, before you know it, 75% of what you bought has gone bad before you can eat them! Important things to keep in mind are :
1) Don’t keep your produce in the door of the refrigerator where temperatures fluctuate. Keep them in the middle or bottom drawers to keep temperatures more consistent and avoid spoilage.
2) Don’t keep raw meat and produce in the same area of the fridge or counter. Cross-contamination is likely to happen, and you risk the chance of getting ill.
Here are some tips to keep your favorite produce ready to eat.
Fresh heads of lettuce, spinach, kale and other leafy greens should be washed really well with water before refrigerating. Dry the leaves and store them in a clean plastic bag with a few paper towels. Switch out the paper towels as needed.
Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator and will last longer if stored these two ways: wrapped with a moist paper towel or standing them up in a glass of cold water wrapped with a damp paper towel
Garlic and onions should be kept at room temperature and in a well-ventilated area.
Store your mushrooms in a brown paper bag in the fridge or a cool, dry place. Don’t use plastic or glass, as this will trap in moisture and shorten their shelf life.
Place fresh herbs in a jar or vase of water, just like you would a bouquet of flowers. They’ll last longer and you’ll have beautiful green decor for your kitchen!
Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature away from sunlight and washed just before using. Be sure not to store your tomatoes in plastic, as this will trap moisture and increase the likelihood of spoilage.
Fruits from the “drupe” category such as mangoes, plums, peaches, avocados, and nectarines can be ripened at room temperature in a brown paper bag, and should then be refrigerated for longer storage.
Clean your berries in a mixture of 10 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. It will help remove excess dirt and help them last longer by preventing mold growth.
Freezing fruits and veggies at home is a fast and convenient way to preserve produce at their peak maturity. Peel and freeze your bananas, mango, papaya, cooked cauliflower, beets or sweet potato in a clean plastic bag. Use them later in baking or for delicious smoothies!
Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach
Healthy Steps Nutrition