How to Keep Your Produce Fresh Longer

There are certain types of produce that I ALWAYS like to have on hand – ingredients that have become staples in just about everything I make.  Those things are kale, bananas, berries (mostly strawberries and blueberries), apples, and avocados. The problem is keeping these things fresh long enough to use them all – there is nothing worse than throwing out fruits and veggies that went bad before you had a chance to eat them. Below are some ways I’m maximizing the life of my produce – if you have any suggestions please let me know!

kale 4

Greens

I use kale in everything: salads, smoothies, sautéed, baked into kale chips… I’m addicted to this leafy green. Unfortunately, when I buy a big bunch of it I always find that some of it wilts before I get around to using it. I’ve found the following method to be the most effective at keeping it crisp for about a week – the time it usually takes me to eat it all. When you get home, remove the kale from the store produce bag but do not wash it – retaining water will cause kale to wilt faster. Wrap the leaves in a dry towel to absorb any moisture that may already be on it, and store in a Ziploc bag in a drawer of the refrigerator.

kale 3

banana

Bananas

It’s crazy how quickly bananas can go from green to brown. But, I’ve learned that you can prolong the lifespan of ripe bananas by storing them in the fridge. The peels will turn brown in the cold, but don’t let them fool you – what’s on the inside is still perfectly good! They also taste pretty delicious chilled. Lately I’ve been keeping my bananas on the counter until they ripen, and then I put some in the fridge, and slice up the rest and freeze them. I use the frozen ones for smoothies and the ones in the fridge for snacking.

banana 2

bananas

blueberries

Berries

The key to keeping berries fresh longer is to get rid of any harmful spores and bacteria with hot water or white vinegar. The pH of the white vinegar effectively kills them off – give the berries a bath in a container of vinegar, and then rinse them off with water. Line the container that they came in with paper towels to soak up excess water, and put them back in the container and store in the fridge. If you don’t like the idea of using vinegar, you can use hot water instead. Called blanching, this method has also been shown to kill off harmful bacteria. Give the berries a quick hot water bath (no longer than 30 seconds) and then store them the same way as described above. I typically store half of the berries in the fridge and the other half in the freezer for smoothies.

blueberries 2

avocado

Avocado

Avocados should be stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight – you can also slow down the ripening process by storing them in the fridge. My issue with avocados (and it’s a common one) is that I rarely eat a whole avocado in one sitting. The half that ends up in the fridge quickly turns brown, and even the old lemon juice trick doesn’t seem to stop it. After doing some research online I found another method that really works – onion.  Place the uneaten half of the avocado in a sealed container with a chunk of onion, and it will still be good (and green) a day later!

avocado and onion 2

apples

Apples

Apples can stay good for quite a while on your countertop, as long as it’s not too warm. But if you have a lot of them and want to ensure they stay fresh, they will last longer in the cooler temperature of the fridge. Keep any apples with spots or small damages on the counter and eat those first – there is truth to the saying that a bad apple can make the ones around it go bad quicker! This is because apples give off ethylene gas as they rot. Unlike some other produce, apples actually last longer with a little bit of moisture, so draping a damp towel over the apples will also help keep them fresh.  They should last for a few weeks this way!

tomato

Tomatoes

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature on the countertop – despite what you may think, putting them in the fridge will not make them last longer, and will also ruin their flavor. The one “trick” I’ve found is to buy tomatoes on the vine – the vine is still feeding nutrients to the fruit, so it tends to stay fresh longer. In my research, I also read that storing the tomatoes stem-down (if they aren’t on a vine) will also keep them fresh longer, but I haven’t personally tried that method!

What are your tips for keeping fruits and veggies fresh? Do tell!

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Good to know! It seems like I always have some kind of produce in my house that is rotting away because I can’t eat it fast enough! I’ll be applying these tips today!

Love these tips! I like to keep a lot of the same fruits & veggies on hand so this is really helpful.

My tip is for grapes, I like to have grapes for snacking on but only like them when they’re firm with a bit of crunch to the peel. I’ve found grapes will stay ripe for about 1 1/2 weeks if you remove all the ripe grapes from the vine, rinse them, and then store them in a large container. You’re more prone to grab them as a healthy snack too because they are washed and ready, bonus!

http://www.spruceandgunn.com

Never eat a banana UNLESS the skin is all spotty and brown!

These tips are great. I have the same problem with avocados! I rarely eat a whole one so I can’t wait to try the onion tip.

Mandie Fae

Thanks for the kale tip!
The best way to save an avocado is storing it with the seed! Keep that seed in there and it shouldn’t brown. I do the same thing when I make a salad with it, just toss the seed in the salad! (You don’t have to worry about anyone eating the seed since it’s so large).
:)

This is such an awesome resource – and of course I always love your images. Pinning!

Warm Regards,
Alexandra
http://www.littlewildheart.com

Rena

My boyfriend purchased Bluapples from a Co-op a while back and they continue to be incredible at keeping our produce fresh for quite some time. It contains an Ethylene Gas Absorber that maintains your produce for longer! I would definitely recommend it!

http://www.amazon.com/Bluapple-Ethylene-Absorber-Apples-Refills/dp/B005W4L6SE

Super great ideas and a reminder! I used to wrap my kale in paper towel, but I some how forgot to do it on my other purchases…but the Avocado tip though…I will try that out.

Thanks!

http://www.danielleleshea.com

Ill definitely be trying the onion tip! I only every eat a 1/4 of an avocado at a time and by the time I get to the last quarter it’s not very appetizing. Thanks for all the tips!

http://www.callistoknits.com

Tip for bananas: wrap some plastic around the tops where you break them apart, and make sure it’s tight, and they will stay green/yellow/not brown for up to a week! And store it where there aren’t any apples or tomatoes, as they make them ripen quicker!

corinn

I was just thinking about this the other day when faced with wilting spinach.

shaya

I never knew tomatoes lasted longer left out, but i’m glad because i love the way it looks to have some produce out on display.Bananas are so cheap for me to buy in bulk at a local farm stand, i buy a crate and freeze them all, just run under warm water for a minute and they’re ready to eat, same with berries.

Nice posts on how to store perishables.Thanks for sharing.

sigh if only this had come a week earlier, just yesterday morning i sob my way through throwing out so many amazing gifts from the earth. thanks for the tips though, hopefully now my trash won’t be filled with edibles as much!

Thanks for good informations!
Really useful tips!

http://www.safran-bolu.com

Julia

Thanks for the tips guys! xx

I put my greens after washed in a perfectly sealed tupperware inside the fridge and lasts for 2 weeks or more!