Do you find yourself throwing out produce every week? You go to the market and you load up on your favorite fruits and veggies only to toss them out before you get a chance to use them because they are molding or limp. Some of your produce-spoiling problems can be solved depending on how you store them.
You cannot store all fruits and veggies together because some produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can cause ethylene-sensitive produce to prematurely ripen. Therefore, keep ethylene-producing foods away from ethylene-sensitive foods—store these foods in different places. Here are the fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene: apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes. These fruits and veggies are sensitive to the effects of ethylene and should be stored in a high humidity crisper drawer: apples, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplants, green beans, leafy greens, lettuce, peas, peppers, potatoes, spinach, summer squash, watermelon, and zucchini.
- Store potatoes, tomatoes, and onions in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavor.
- Keep unripe fruits and veggies like pears, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangoes, apricots, avocados, melons, and bananas on the counter. Once they’re ripe, place them in the fridge. Banana peels will turn dark brown, but it won’t affect the flesh.
- Store salad greens and fresh herbs in bags filled with a little air and sealed tightly. The puffy bags might take up a little bit more room in your fridge, but the loss of space is worth it; your greens will stay bright, crisp, and flavorful.
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes, will do fine for up to a week in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight, but you can lengthen their lives by storing them in the fridge in a mesh or perforated plastic bag.
- Wrap the celery in a plastic bag and then wrap that bag in aluminum foil to get a much longer refrigerated shelf life. Store in the crisper bin.
- Carrots, lettuce, and broccoli start to spoil as soon as they’re picked, so place them in separate plastic baggies in the crisper in your fridge and make sure they’re dry since moisture speeds up spoiling.
- Cut the leafy tops of your pineapple off (or give the leafy top a firm twist to remove).and store your pineapple upside down. You are redistributing the sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping and helping the pineapple to keep longer.
- Avoid washing berries until right before you’re ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth.
- Wash, dry, and cut your fruits and veggies all at once, store them in covered glass containers lined in paper towels. You’ll not only be able to see them—which reminds you to eat them—but you’ll also be keeping moisture out.
- You can try purchasing only what you know you will be using—for the meal planner this could possibly work.