By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist
Does this ever happen to you? You take the time to review healthy recipes, make a shopping list, get to the store, put everything away and then all of a sudden the week has flown by and your gorgeous, expensive, organic produce has wilted into a mushy brown mess? Nothing more discouraging for healthy eating than the frustration of waste. The good news is that this doesn’t have to keep happening, you can follow these simple tips and tricks to keep your veggies alive and well for much longer.
Start off on the right foot by purchasing the ripest, freshest produce. That means hitting up your local farmer’s market. Most veggies and fruits are picked that morning and haven’t been overly handled, factory washed or ripened. You can tell by how dirty it is, and that’s a good thing! Not only does freshly picked mean higher levels of nutrients, it’s also more likely to last longer. Here’s more on Why We Love Farmer’s Markets.
Want to prevent your apples or potatoes from becoming brown and mealy too fast? Keep them away from your onions and bananas! While these are all best stored on the counter, they certainly shouldn’t be stored together. That’s because ethylene, the “fruit ripening gas,” is naturally emitted to help ripen fruit including those surrounding them.
Fruits that are bruised, damaged or kept in plastic will also ripen faster, usually too fast. For more on why passing on plastic is the way to go, read here.
Want those avocadoes now? Um, the answer is always yes!! Here are tips for how to help your produce ripen more quickly.
Many fruits and veggies last longer on the counter while others will perish if left out of the fridge. Here’s a quick guide based on location for storage. For more vegetable-specific storage guidelines, visit Fruits and Veggies, More Matters, type the veggie-in-question right into the search field!
Keep out of the fridge in a cool, dry space, out of direct sunlight.
Frozen veggies stay good much longer than fresh and are a perfect back-up to have on hand for those busy weeknight dinners. Plus, in the off season, frozen can even be more nutritious than fresh.