6 Helpful Tips To Keep Produce From Going Bad

6 Helpful Tips To Keep Produce From Going Bad

According to a 2023 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 90% of Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. To avoid being a statistic, you buy fruits and vegetables and plan to eat them, but something happens: they go bad before you get the chance to use them. You throw out your produce and don’t even bother to compost because it’s too upsetting to throw money down the drain. 

One report found that about 25% of American families throw away one quarter of the food and beverages they buy. Fruits and vegetables comprise 22% of that, while processed produce (canned fruits and vegetables) contribute another 8% of waste to landfills. We don’t say all this to make you feel guilty; rather, we want to help you make the right changes to keep your produce fresh for longer. 

The primary reason people throw their produce away is because they lack the proper storage knowledge. If you do not store your fruits and vegetables properly, they can spoil easily. Do those greenish-yellow bananas you buy turn brown quickly? Do your herbs turn slimy and brown? What about those cucumbers or apples? If you want to stop throwing your fruits and vegetables away, learn from the following tips. 

Limp, Slimy Lettuce

Big heads of lettuce in the grocery store inspire large bowls of salad and optimal health, as they should. The problem is that storing your lettuce improperly can cause those crispy leaves to become soggy, slimy, and limp. Moisture in the fridge causes most fruits and vegetables to lose their crisp texture and go bad. One way to counteract this is to line your fridge’s vegetable drawer with paper towels or terry-cloth towels. In doing so, the towels absorb excess moisture and keep produce, like your lettuce, crispier for a lot longer. The same rule applies for those bagged salads or tubs of greens!

Sprouting Potatoes

If you are tempted to buy the 10-pound bag of potatoes to save some money, make sure that you store them properly if you aren’t going to use them right away. Potatoes start to sprout more quickly if you keep a large bag on hand. To keep your spuds from sprouting, store them in a cool, dry place with as little moisture and sunlight as possible. Some people have had great success keeping potatoes fresh by throwing an apple in with the potatoes, but some experts warn against this. The reason not to do that is because apples emit ethylene, which can encourage sprouting. 

Mushy, Brown Bananas 

Like apples, bananas emit ethylene gas to ripen themselves. Some people swear that wrapping the top of a banana bunch with plastic wrap delays the ripening process, but that doesn’t solve the issue. Ethylene is produced throughout the banana, not just the stem. The best way to store bananas is to hang them on a hook, so that they get plenty of air circulation. Additionally, don’t store them near apples because the ethylene from apples will cause bananas to ripen more quickly. 

Slimy Mushrooms

Mushrooms are great vegetables that can make their way into myriad dishes, unless they become slimy and unappetizing. To avoid a slimy, mushy mess, make sure that you do not store mushrooms in plastic bags. Plastic traps moisture, which causes mildew and mushy mushrooms. Keep mushrooms in a paper bag so that they can breathe and moisture can escape. If you don’t have paper bags, keep mushrooms fresh by keeping them in their original packaging, but poke holes in the plastic to allow ventilation.

Rubbery Celery

Celery can become tasteless if you allow it to go from crispy to rubbery. You can, however, lengthen its time in the fridge if you store it properly. Experts encourage you to separate, wash, and dry the stalks before wrapping them in aluminum foil. That keeps most of the air and moisture in, while still allowing the ethylene gas to escape. If you store celery in a plastic bag, the moisture stays in the bag, which can accelerate the ripening process and turn your celery rubbery. 

Moldy Berries

Berries can be quite pricey, especially if they are not in season. To ensure that you don’t waste your berry money, protect them by giving them a bath in water for 10 seconds. What about soaking them in a vinegar bath? Well, that can leave a vinegar residue and cause your berries to taste unappetizing. Hot water can inhibit mold growth, according to research. The last step is to make sure that your berries are completely dry before storing them in the fridge. The hot water bath and proper drying before fridge storage can help extend their ripeness.

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