I love going to the farmers market and seeing all the fruits and vegetables on display with colors so vibrant and flesh so firm and fresh. I often end up buying more than I need, arriving home with bags straining under all that weight, and my heart filled with anticipation for all the lovely healthy dishes about to emerge from my kitchen the next few days.
Then, as it always happens, life gets busy and before I know it, four days have passed and now some of the vegetables are looking rubbery, the herbs have grown limp, and the once-crisp fruit is now a bit sandy and mushy.
Rubbery vegetables and limp herbs in my crisper make me sad. So much hope, so much potential, and now … pffft.
I’d love to be able to avoid wasting good vegetables, fruit, and herbs, and I know many who feel the same way. So today, let’s talk about that.
Do you have any tips for keeping produce fresh?
As previously confessed, I have no great tips. Nada. Well, maybe a couple. Someone once told me never to store my onions and potatoes together. Supposedly, storing them together makes the potatoes grow sprouts and the onions soften faster. So I keep the two far away from each other. For herbs, when mine are close to retirement, I whip up a quick chimichurri with the herbs, garlic, lime or lemon juice, and olive oil. I store that in the fridge and use it to season meat or add it to stir-fries. But that really isn’t keeping it fresh—more like salvaging what’s left of a once-proud bunch of greens.
Betsy says her tip probably doesn’t extend the life of the produce so much as it makes her more likely to use them while they’re still fresh. She washes and cuts the vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, and the like) then stores them to snack on raw or to throw in dishes as she cooks. As for herbs, she’s heard of freezing the herbs with butter or oil in ice cube trays for use later.
Nanci is a big Costco shopper, so she buys lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk. Her favorite is their giant packages of romaine lettuce hearts and blueberries. She likes to clean fruits and veggies on Sunday so that weekday meals are quick and easy. For the romaine, she separates the outer leaves and puts them into her salad spinner and washes them, then lets them sit in the strainer for a while to drain well. Then she wraps the dried leaves in paper towels and puts them into a zip top bag in the refrigerator vegetable bin. She says she finds that the lettuce lasts quite a while this way. She does the same with blueberries, cleaning them in her salad spinner then putting them onto a sheet tray lined with paper towels to dry. Then into the refrigerator they go, stored in a plastic container with a paper towel on the bottom.
Now let’s hear from you! Do you have any advice for keeping produce fresh longer? Help us out and share your tips!