If you’re a health nut like me when you open your fridge it’s full of vegetables and fruit. It’s how I get my greens in and it’s what keeps me consistently eating salads and healthy all the time. I decide to go to the grocery store to buy fruits and vegetables, stock my fridge and it keeps me eating healthy because it’s what I have access to at home. The only thing that can be a bit frustrating about eating a produce rich diet is that fruits and vegetables go bad. I eat a lot of produce on any given week but I also often leave for a few days or get food at local organic restaurants and health spots.
Because of this my produce tends to go bad on me more often than i’d like it too. It’s frustrating because produce is the main food that you buy (with the intent to consume obviously) and it goes bad faster than anything else. It’s the healthiest and it goes bad fastest. You lose nutrition and money simply by not being aware of what’s in your fridge or skipping out, eating out etc. I decided to do a little research into how I could preserve produce longer and hopefully find something to share with you here, and I did!
10 Ways To Keep Produce Fresh And Last Longer
1. Reorganize Your Fridge:
The first tip is a very simple way to avoid losing produce by going bad and it’s to reorganize your fridge. Often times the food that goes bad you often find in the back of the fridge, behind something else or in your crisper. That’s because it’s less visible and you are less aware of it so by simply reorganizing your fridge in a efficient way you can stop those foods from going bad and remember to eat them. I recommend putting the foods that go bad faster in the front more visible positions in your fridge. Foods such as greens, mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes for example. Putting foods like carrots and celery behind these foods because they take longer to go bad and you’ll most likely eat the other foods in time before they go bad.
2. Clean And Dry Your Fridge Often:
Food left in your fridge leaves food particles and potential mold behind. If you’ve had food go bad in your fridge it wil leave a mold residue in your refrigerator which will cause all other food stored in there to go bad faster. Clean your fridge with a natural cleaner or disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide and wipe it down with a dry towel to ensure that it is free of mold, old food particles and a dry environment that will help food last longer.
3. Keep Produce Separate And Loose:
This is really another fridge organization tip. When your produce is next to other produce it can and will cause different produce to age and oxidize faster. Keep your produce separate, fruits, vegetables, whatever you have in your fridge. The more separate the produce the better chance your produce has at lasting longer. Space is a good thing!
4. Don’t Wash Your Produce First:
If you wash your produce before you put it in your fridge there’s a good chance you are putting wet or slightly moist produce in the fridge. This will cause it to go bad sooner and will make it more difficult for other produce in your fridge to last longer as well because of the moist environment. I recommend cleaning your produce right before you eat it, take it out of the fridge and clean it with food grade hydrogen peroxide (or whatever you use) and then make it into your meal or snack.
5. Eat Local:
Local produce from farmers markets has less shipping storage and shelf time than produce bought in stores. Because of this you have more life and time in the plant to eat it and store it at home before it goes bad. Not to mention that supporting your local farmer keeps your community healthy, sustainable and continue to thrive!
6. Store Produce in Tact:
Researchers have found that cutting open produce reduces antioxidant levels by 10-25% in 5-6 days. This means that your fruit or vegetable loses nutritional value but also goes bad sooner. Use what you prepare, cook and bring out of the fridge and if you do not have another handy recipe ready to use that fruit or vegetable in or simply add it to the blender or juicer real quick to get the most nutritional value right then and prevent losing that food to going bad.
7. Store Produce Away From Your Gas Stove:
If you have a gas stove store your fruits and vegetables away from this. The Ethylene gas emitted by the gas stove increases ripening of fruits and will cause your produce to go bad faster.
8. Get an Ethylene Gas Absorbing Bag:
There are little bags in a product called blu apple that are ethylene gas absorbing bags. These little bags sit in a blue colored plastic apple that you sit in your fridge. The ethylene gas is absorbed and your produce is supposed to last longer because of this. I have two in my fridge currently and have noticed a little improvement but think I need to refill the bags now!
9. Dry Produce Before Putting into The Fridge:
At most grocery stores they spray water no the produce to keep it from drying out and to last longer. The issue with this though is that you put this wet produce into a plastic bag and it’s wrapped up. These plastic bags contain that moisture and are void of oxygen. When you put wet moist produce in the fridge with trapped moisture it will wilt faster. Remove these plastic bags, spread the produce out and if it’s too wet shake the produce a little bit to remove excess water that may create an environment suitable to mold and oxidizing.
10. Last Resort? Juice or Blend!
One of the health tricks that has been in my back pocket for a few years now is to keep an eye on the produce in your fridge and when you start to see any sign of oxidation or produce going bad just pull it out of the fridge and make a smoothie or juice. You can ensure to get that nutrition in your body and utilize it instead of it going to waste. This is great because if you just keep an eye on what’s in your fridge with your newly organized fridge you’ll ensure that you can always at least consume this food and gain the nutritional value (which is what you bought) before it goes bad.
Personally for me eating healthy is something that is very important to me in my life but seeing my produce go bad really sucks! when you lose nutrition that you could have consumed and the money spent on it you wish you would have known sooner and used it. To sum up all these tips keep a fresh clean fridge that you clean and reorganize often. Put your foods that go bad fastest in the front of the fridge so you eat them first. Make sure to spread your produce out and make sure that it’s not too wet or in a plastic bag with trapped moisture as it will age faster. If you use produce use the entire food (onion, greens etc.) so that it will not go bad faster after it’s cut up. Lastly, if something looks like it’s starting to go bad pull it out of the fridge and create a smoothie or juice to make sure you consume it!
Also, don’t be afraid to buy frozen produce every once in a while. If the company freezes the produce at the right time (or you do) then you can preserve that food longer and use it when necessary.
Recommended Reading: 6 Different Ways To Use That Avocado Pit (instead of throwing it away)