Seven Storage Tips to Keep Your Fruits and Veggies Fresh Longer

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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away nearly 31.6 million tons of food every year. And a recent University of Arizona study found that the average family tosses 1.28 pounds of food a day, for a total of 470 pounds a year! That’s like throwing away $600!

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a requirement for everyone, and they are more nutritious when they are fresh, while most of time we can not avoid throwing them out as they are going bad, especially in summer months.

Followig are some brilliant storage tips to keep your produce fresh for as long as it takes you to eat it!

1. Abandon The Crisper

Believe it or not, some things will store better on the counter than in the vegetable drawer! Learning which foods should stay cold and which don’t need refrigeration to stay fresh is a big step towards maximizing your enjoyment of fresh fruits and veggies this summer. Melons like cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew should remain on the counter for maximum sweetness. Chilling before eating is okay, but they should be stored on the counter, as should many other fruits like cucumbers, lemons and pomegranates.

2. Green Bag Bananas

You know those little green bags that the vendor at the farmers market packs your bananas in? When you get the fruit home, store the bananas in that type of bag at room temperature to keep them from going brown before you have a chance to eat them. These bags slow down the ripening process so that your slightly green bananas may take a week to get ripe rather than just a few days.

3. The Sweeter Peach

There is nothing sweeter than a peach that is at the perfect stage of ripeness. But how do you store peaches so that they will get ripe without rotting? Keep them on the countertop at room temperature if you buy them a little green.

After that, if you don’t eat them right away, store them on a shelf in your refrigerator where they won’t get bruised. After all, no one likes mushy fruit. If you find yourself with too many peaches to eat right away and they are going soft in your refrigerator, slice them up and store them in quart bags in your freezer. Take some out and put them on your cereal, bake them into pies or use them however you would use other frozen fruit.

4. Berries

Berries are one of the hardest fruits to keep fresh since they have such a short shelf life. Blueberries should be eaten within 14 days after harvesting if they are to be eaten fresh. The best way to store berries for fresh eating is to wash them gently, remove all crushed, soft or moldy berries from the container and store the good ones in a plastic, glass or ceramic dish. Make sure to place a paper towel in the bottom to draw away excess moisture and keep berries from getting moldy. This goes for most berries, though raspberries should not be washed until ready for use to prevent mold growth.

5. Banish Brown Cauliflower

This flower vegetable is packed full of nutrients, but it does tend to develop unappetizing brown spots when it is stored too long. To prevent that, keep the cauliflower dry and store it in a perforated, plastic bag with the stem up in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

6. Paper Towel Dehumidifier

Ever notice how spinach develops a slimy texture when stored too long? Try gently storing it in a plastic bag with a folded paper towel to absorb extra moisture.

7. Onions vs. Potatoes

Storing onions is a skill that has been pictured in every western movie made in the early television days. Strings of braided onions hung from the rafters in any ranch house. Now, most people just toss them in the vegetable drawer. When stored this way, onions tend to hold onto their moisture, creating an unappetizing texture.

Storing onions in a cool, dry place like a paper bag in the pantry or a basket in the cupboard is a better solution because their skins dry out and they keep longer. Just keep them away from potatoes, which can soak up the moisture given off by the onions. No one likes the stench of rotting potatoes.

Sources: divinecaroline.com, realfoodswitch.comehow.com, localfoods.about.com

Heidi Kristoffer
I am Heidi Kristoffer, as an expert on natural health and holistic medicine, I am willing to help people live happier capable lives by sharing my health opinions with others. I am good at writing topics such as: medicine, natural remedies, foods and mental health. I think living a simple and healthy life, including eating healthy, exercising regularly and positively thinking, is the best medicine.

  • Sally Fallon’s Friend

    I was surprised to see that using food-grade hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to wash your veggies, fruits and especially berries wasn’t mentioned in this otherwise worthy article. Draw a basin of washing water, add an ounce or two of food-grade H2O2, swich the berries & other foods through it for a minute or two, and allow to drain and/or air-dry. Then store berries in the refrigerator; they won’t mold! If not eaten within a few days, the berries will dry out, but not mold. Dessicated berries still make great pancake toppings, jello additives, and smoothies! Since I’ve begun washing my produce in FG-H2O2, I haven’t had to throw out ANY of it. FG-H2O2 seems expensive upon purchase (sticker shock), but once you see how much money you save in food, you’ll understand that it pays for itself very quickly.

    Full disclosure: I do not work for any FG-H2O2 source or sales outlet; I make no money by telling people about H2O2; no one offers me any benefit at all. I offer this information in hopes of minimizing wasted food and helping people live within their means and in good health. An added benefit of washing in FG-H2O2 is that e-coli and other bacteria are eliminated by the wash, therefore keeping you and your family safe from the next food-borne illness outbreak.