If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables, odds are we have all been here. You get home from the grocery store, put everything away in a hurry. Within days, that beautiful produce has inevitably shriveled or gone bad.
The truth is that many people simply do not know how to properly store produce at home. With these few little storage hacks, your produce will last longer!
Upon arriving home this is what you can do:
Wash fresh fruits and vegetables (except mushrooms) in cold running water. Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth to gently remove the dirt.
Wash leafy greens in a large bowl so that any dirt can fall to the bottom.
Dry salad leaves in a spinner or lay them on a towel for 20 or so minutes.
Scrub root veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.) with a brush to remove dirt. You can also rinse, and peel. Leave the skins on to preserve some of the nutrients.
Certain produce contain a gas called ethylene. Ethylene triggers the ripening process and will deteriorate some produce more quickly. A good storage tip is to always make sure you store ethylene-producing vegetables separate from ethylene-sensitive vegetables.
Ethylene Producing: apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, melons, mango, peaches, pears, tomatoes.
Ethylene Sensitive: apples, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, green beans, leafy greens, potatoes, summer squash.
The number one produce tip is...understand how to store your produce. This is often the most misunderstood aspect of produce storage. For example, tomatoes should always be stored at a room temperature. (Tomatoes stored at anything colder than 55 degrees tend to lose their signature flavor and smell.) A simple google search when you are unsure of a particular produce's storage is a quick fix to ensure longer shelf life for your produce! Here are some examples of some common produce items that are stored improperly.
Refrigerated Storage: apples, avocado (to keep longer), bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cherries, grapes, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, peas, asparagus (stored upright in glass of cool water).
Countertop Storage: basil, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, lemons, limes, winter squash, garlic, onions, whole pineapple, rutabaga, tomatoes, mangoes, mushrooms, potatoes, avocado (to ripen).