Are you having trouble making sure you eat all your produce before it turns bad?
Does it get lost in the back of your fridge?
Or your produce drawer?
I totally get it!
There’s nothing worse than spending money on fresh fruit and veggies, only to have them go bad before you can eat them.
And, especially now, you may have no idea when you can get more fresh produce.
The good news is there are really easy steps you can take right now to extend the life of your produce, so you cut down on waste and enjoy it while it’s still fresh.
But, most likely, there will be a time when you’ll find your produce looking wilted and not as crispy.
But no need to worry and throw it away!
I’ve got tips for what you can do when that crispy kale is wilted, those vibrant herbs are looking more dried than fresh, and your basket of strawberries is looking less juicy and more mushy.
If you have a surefire way to keep your produce fresh, or other ideas on how to use wilted produce, I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
Easy ways to store your produce
so it lasts long enough for you to eat it
A couple of general rules:
1. Wash your veggies right when you get home. I wash them in a colander with hot water, but you can also immerse them in your kitchen sink. There are a thousand different suggestions online on how to clean them, so go with what you feel most comfortable with.
2. Don’t store any of your produce in the plastic bags from the store. Store them wrapped in clean kitchen towels or reusable jars or containers.
3. Use your veggies in order from most tender (lettuce, tomatoes, swiss chard) to hearty (carrots, onions, potatoes).
4. If you have veggies that have spoiled, and if you don’t compost, check the rules for composting using your yard waste bin. In my neighborhood we’re allowed to throw out food scraps in our yard waste. But before you go ahead and do that, be sure to check the rules for your city.
These will last weeks in your fridge and don’t need to be in any special container. Storing in your crisper drawer is perfect. Use the green fronds in salad dressings, pesto and as a garnish for salad. If the carrots are soft, roast them and make them into soup.
Lasts 3-4 days in your fridge. The best way to store is in a sealed container. To make it easier, cut up into florets and also slice up the stalks. The stalks are a really great addition to broccoli soup!
Store wrapped in kitchen towels, or paper towels and store in a ziplock bag. If it starts to wilt and get soft, you can turn it into pesto, or cut into thin strips and sauté with garlic and other veggies, or add to soup.
These do best in a dark, cool location. If you’ve only used 1/2, store the other 1/2 wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the fridge.
Whatever you do, don’t put potatoes with onions. They don’t get along! Potatoes do like cold, dark places, too. They don’t like the fridge, so, unless you’ve turned them into mashed potatoes, keep them in the pantry. If they start sprouting, they’re still ok to eat, as long as they’re still firm and not shriveled.
My mom taught me to store my asparagus in water, and cover loosely with a plastic bag. It will last almost a week this way. If your asparagus has gone soft, it’s still perfect for roasting.
Just like kale, store wrapped in a kitchen towel and then put in a ziplock bag.
Store in the fridge in a ziplock bag, but don’t seal the bag. They’ll last about 1 -2 weeks.
Store in the crisper drawer and they’ll last 4-5 days. If the skin starts looking shriveled, it’s time to roast them.
Store wrapped in a kitchen towel, and place in a ziplock bag. Use within a couple of days.
Store on the counter. If you put them in the fridge the texture changes and they can become mealy. If they start getting wrinkly, roast them and use in sandwiches, salads and pasta.
These are definitely tricky most don’t last very long. Trim the ends and store parsley and cilantro in water in the fridge. Wrap rosemary, thyme, chives, basil and tarragon in damp paper towels and store in ziplock bags. When herbs start sagging, turn them into pesto or compound butter.
Store in a cool dark place and be sure it has plenty of ventilation. The container should allow plenty of air circulation, like a wire basket.
Store the same way you store garlic, but separately. If you’ve used some ginger, but not the whole thing, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.
Store in a paper bag (fold the top over to close) and keep in your fridge. Write “mushrooms” on the bag, so you know where they are when they, inevitably, get moved around.
A couple of general rules:
1. Wash your fruit right when you get home. Normally I would wash them right before eating, but, for now, I definitely wash them all at once when I get them. Just like with veggies, there are a thousand different suggestions for how to wash fruit right now, so go with what you feel most comfortable with.
2. Don’t store your fruit in the plastic bags from the store. Store them in bowls or reusable containers.
3. Like with your veggies, eat your fruit in order from most tender (all the berries) to hearty (apples, oranges, avocados).
4. If you do have fruit that spoils, if you don’t already compost, check the rules for composting in your neighborhood.
These are super fragile, so wash them as you eat them. I know, this totally breaks the rules I just told you about, but, they’re so fragile if you wash them and then don’t eat them they’ll likely turn to mush.
If you’re not going to eat them in the first couple of days, you can always freeze them. Spread them in an even layer on a small plate or tray, and place in your freezer. Once frozen, you can store them in a ziplock bag, and use for baking pies and cobblers, and smoothies.
Wash and store on your counter. Avocados are really well known for going from rock hard to rotten in about 2 seconds. If they’re rock hard and you want to speed things up, store them in a paper bag. The second they’re ripe, store in the fridge.
If you’re going to use in a day or 2, store on your counter, otherwise, store in your fridge.
Store on your counter, and when ripe, put them in the fridge. If you want to freeze them, peel first and store in a single layer in a ziplock bag.