Hey summertime! The weather is hot and the days are long, which is always a good thing in my book. This is the season when I go especially crazy for fresh fruits and vegetables. Not that you really need a reason to load up on veggies, but mine are numerous. Nothing makes me feel more confident in my itsy-wisty teeny-weeny yellow polka-dot bikini like staying healthy with a delicious and healthy fruit smoothie. And move over hamburgers – grilled vegetable kebabs are all the rage this year.
But I have one big gripe with buying fresh fruits and vegetables – it can be really expensive! So I try to pay special attention to whatever tips and tricks I can pick up about how to make my fresh produce last. Nothing gets my goat (to use one of my mom’s expressions) like splurging at the farmers market only to have wilting greens in my fridge two days later.
So check out these five tips below for stretching the freshness mileage of your fresh fruits and vegetables this summer. After all, urban living tricks aren’t just for the living room! And if you have any tips of your own to share with us, please let us know in the comments!
Fresh Fruits and Veggies: Location, Location, Location
Let’s start with where you’re storing all that delicious fresh produce when you get home from the store. Fruits and veggies are kind of like people – each one has its own likes and dislikes. Potatoes, onions and tomatoes, for example, last longest and taste best when left out of the fridge. Unripe produce should also be left out on the counter, and not just because a kitchen countertop display of colorful fruit is decorative dynamite. Produce that falls into this category includes peaches, plums, avocados and pears, but here’s the trick – you’ll really make them last if you move them to the fridge once they’ve ripened.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies: Hold Me Tight
Once you figure out where to store your goods to achieve maximum shelf life, it’s time to talk about how to store them. Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, etc.,) last longest when kept in a cool, dark place within a mesh or plastic bag that’s got some holes in it. Celery, on the other hand, always seems to last longest for me when I wrap it up tight with aluminum foil before storing in the fridge. Lettuce and carrots should be placed in a plastic immediately upon getting home, because those are vegetables that start to go bad as soon as they’re picked.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies: Devil’s in the Details
I know it’s tempting to just chuck your fresh produce in the fridge or on the counter and head back into the sunshine during summertime, but a few extra minutes of care upon arriving home can save you serious dollars in the long run! If you’re like me, you’re picky about washing off your fresh fruits immediately upon getting home, but take the time to dry them a bit – wetness encourages mold and faster decay. Or just wait to rinse them off until right before eating. Putting herbs and greens like lettuce in sealed plastic bags filled with a little bit of air will also make them last longer and stay tastier.
Hope that helps! Like I said – chime in with any other tips in the comments!
Photo Credit: karimian