You’ve spent time hand-picking the prettiest produce — weighing your options, scrutinizing ripeness, and even pitting crops against their own kind — only to watch your purchases wither away uneaten in the crisper drawer.
Wish there were a trick to keeping your produce fresher longer? Spoiler alert: There is!
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has found that roughly 45 percent of fruits and vegetables are ending up in trashcans and garbage bins around the world. Whether you stash them in the fridge or display them for all to see, there’s no reason your prized produce needs to become a food waste statistic. Keep your produce where it counts with these simple dos and don’ts of food storage.
- Do: Remove any wilted leaves from bags of prewashed lettuce to keep the slimy leaves from spoiling the rest of the bag. Store the bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for best results.
- Don’t: Refrigerate produce like avocados, unripe bananas, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, or tomatoes. Hint: If your avocados or peaches are unripe, store them in a closed paper bag (or wrap them in newspaper) for one to four days, checking daily for ripeness.
- Do: Refrigerate produce like apples, apricots, cantaloupe, figs, and honeydew.
- Don’t: Store vegetables and fruits together. Most fruits produce a gas that causes vegetables to ripen and spoil faster.
- Do: Give your produce some space. Don’t overfill those produce bags at the store, and give your fruits and vegetables room to breathe by storing them in reusable mesh bags or by poking holes in the plastic bags.
- Don’t: Clean your fruits or vegetables until you’re ready to use them. Damp produce increases the chance for bacterial growth and makes your vegetables and fruits more likely to spoil.
- Do: Store ripe fruit in the refrigerator if you want to lengthen its shelf life. For example, placing a ripe avocado in the refrigerator should keep it fresh for another two to three days.
- Don’t: Throw out veggies before inspecting them for usable pieces. You can safely chop off overripe sections of carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, apples, or bell peppers and use what’s left in stir-fries, salads, or soups.
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