The warm weather in the summer comes with bumper harvest of fruits and vegetables. This means that you are likely to see plenty of fresh produce stocked in various farmer markets or groceries. The sight of a wide variety of our favorite fruits and vegetable is tempting enough to make us buy more than what we can consume, thus most of our purchase goes to waste. However, there are tips that can help you prevent your fresh produce from ending up in the bin instead of your stomach. Here are the tricks to keep fruits and vegetable last longer.
Start at the Grocery
The farmers’ market or the grocery is the starting point in making your produce go for days without going bad. While at the store or market, ensure you pick produce that is in perfect shape. This is important because damaged fruits or vegetable spoil at a faster rate. Also, ensure that your store conforms to the best practices of handling fresh produce. It is also prudent to observe how the produce is stored at the grocery store. This will give you insights on how to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh for days even after leaving the stores.
Keep the Refrigerator Clean
Apart from ensuring the refrigerator is functioning at the recommended temperature, keeping it free from spills and leakages has a potential of preserving fresh produce for an extended period. Spoiled foods or spills do not only give your refrigerator a bad smell, but also hasten the damage of any fresh food you put in it. Therefore, it is critical to thoroughly and regularly clean the refrigerator before storing your produce.
Not Everything Goes into the Refrigerator
While most of the fresh produce can be refrigerated safely, you need to beware of those that last longer while outside rather than in the fridge. Perfect examples include tomatoes, potatoes and onions. The fridge quickly ruins the natural flavor of these produce. To maintain their freshness, just keep them in a cool and dry place, and by so doing, your tomatoes can withstand the summer heat for up to a week.
Citrus and watermelons are another class of fruits that do not require refrigeration. All you need to do is to keep them on the counter; this can be helpful in creating more space in the fridge for more deserving produce.
In case you realize your fresh produce such as onions, bell peppers, cabbages, green beans, eggplants and mushrooms among others is fast approaching its expiry date even after keeping it under perfect conditions, freezing can be a better option. Simply chop ripped fruits and vegetables, blanch them in hot water then keep them in the freezing compartment. This will keep the produce in good shape for future use.
Wrap Leafy Produce
Wrapping leafy fresh produce before storing it in the fridge does not only increase their lifespan but also maintains their original flavor. Just wash your veggies or herbs, and after they have dried, wrap them in a damp towel, then store in the refrigerator.
Rinse All Produce
Wash all produce thoroughly under running water before preparing and/or eating, including produce grown at home or bought from a grocery store or farmers’ market. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent, or commercial produce wash is not recommended.
In addition to fresh produce, summer is the perfect time for a cool, refreshing glass of water. Ensure that your water is clean and safe by regularly replacing your fridge filter.
Have a great summer!