In order to prolong the life of the produce that you purchase, proper storage is important. Studies show that the typical household in America ends up tossing around a quarter of the fruits and vegetables that they buy. Not only does this amount to throwing away the equivalent of hundreds of dollars, it is also environmentally irresponsible.
In order to cut down on waste, learning how to properly store your produce will extend the life of your fruits and veggies. The key is to remember that not all produce should be stored the same, so it is helpful to have a general guide.
Different Storage Techniques
Whether you use a produce delivery service such as those offered by companies like the Fruit Guys, or purchase your own produce at the grocery store or local farmers market, it can be overwhelming to know how to care for the items properly. For example, should you store the items on the counter or in the refrigerator? Should you store them in any particular bag, such as a paper or plastic one, or is it better to keep them breathing freely?
Some vegetables can be washed, trimmed, and stored immediately for the future, while others shouldn’t be washed until right before eating. You also want to have a good idea as to how long each item will last, so you know which ones you should eat first.
While every fruit and vegetable will have their own storage guide, there are some generalities that will help you save money and enjoy your produce at their peak freshness.
- Washing: Fruit with tough skins, leafy greens, and root vegetables can be cut and washed right away, and then stored for easy access throughout the week. More fragile items, such as berries, should only be washed immediately before consuming, as the excess moisture is a mold magnet.
- Speed up the Ripening Process: Some produce items, such as mangoes, apples, peaches, and bananas, continue to ripen after they are picked, thanks to the release of ethylene gas. If you want them to ripen quickly, place them in a paper bag. Just be cautious when storing them with other items, as you may not care to have other veggies or fruit ripen as fast.
- Use storage bags: One way to significantly extend the life of your produce is to use produce storage bags. These bags help remove bacteria and mold, without the use of preservatives, and they cut down the effects of ethylene gas.
- Similar items can be stored comparably: If you are wondering how to store a particular produce item, but can’t find any advice on how to do so, research a similar item. As an example, types of winter squash can be stored similarly to pumpkins.
Few things are more enjoyable than eating an in-season fruit or vegetable at the peak of freshness. Learning how to properly store your produce will keep the flavor longer, as well as save you money.