Do you ever get that feeling you are throwing your money away when you throw limp, unfresh or over-ripe fruit and vegetables? Use these tips to keep your produce fresher for longer and make use of them rather than filling your garbage bin.
- Do not mix fruits with vegetables in the same storage compartment as many fruits produce ethylene gas during their ripening process. Read more about speeding up ripening here.
- Remove any soil off vegetables (especially root vegetables) before storage.
- Pack vegetables in containers before storing them in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator.
- Store hardy root vegetables and raw fruits that need ripening at room temperature.
- Eat the less hardy fruit and vegetables before the longer lasting ones.
Refresh lettuce and herbs with an ice bath
If your greens have started to look a little wilted due to the cold temperature of your fridge, or from being left on the counter for a little too long, you can easily refresh them by giving them an ice bath. Simply place the lettuce leaves or herbs in a large bowl of ice water and shake the greens around a bit to revive them. A minute or two should awaken them and get them looking fresh and new!
Freeze your fruits and veggies
Chop up ripened fruits and veggies and freeze them for use on a future occasion. You can freeze items such as bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries, bananas… and the list goes on!
To freeze vegetables:
- Blanch them in hot water and then submerge in ice water
- Dry on paper towel before placing them in airtight containers or ziplock bags – get them into the freezer quickly to prevent them going mushy when thawed. Blanching neutralizes bacteria present in foods, delaying spoilage.
What is the crisper?
The crisper is the drawer at the bottom of the fridge. It is so-called because food placed there loses its moisture more slowly than food placed on refrigerator shelves. Therefore a piece of celery broken in two will have a much crisper crunch than celery placed on the shelf. Because of the slower loss of moisture, the crisper is much more humid than the rest of the fridge. Foods that need the humid atmosphere should be placed in the crisper, but not necessarily without an added bit of storage prep. Here are some handy tips:
- Chop celery stalks and wrap them in dry paper towel then wrap in aluminium foil
- Wash leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, etc) and dry them with paper towel. Line an airtight container with dry paper towel and place the greens inside. Top with another paper towel before sealing the container.
- Cut the ends off asparagus and store upright in a glass of water