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Get the Most out of Your Produce While Doing the Least

With the current cost of groceries and most people aiming to incorporate more produce into their day to day lifestyle, increasing the longevity of fresh fruits and vegetables is key! Often, clients will buy fresh produce for the week only to find most of it turning rotten before eating, or clients will have to take multiple grocery trips per week to stay on top of having accessible fruits and veggies, which isn’t sustainable.

The good news is there are a few simple tips and tricks to keep our fruits juicy and plump and our vegetables crisp and fresh! Here are a few things I personally do to make my family’s produce last a lot longer without much effort or prep going into it.

1. Wash your berries and store them in a sealed glass jar. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, you name it — wash ‘em and put ‘em in a sealed glass jar! Ideally with a dry paper towel on the bottom to absorb the moisture. Your berries are guaranteed to last 2 weeks at minimum. Sometimes when I am running short on time, I will throw berries into a sealed glass jar without washing them and quickly rinse right before eating.

2. Keep onions and apples away from other produce. The ethylene gasses released from the onions and apples make bananas and avocados ripen quicker. Storing them in a separate place can keep the softer fruits fresh longer.

3. Store your celery in tinfoil in the refrigerator. This will help maintain its crunch. Bonus points if you want to also wrap the celery in a wet paper towel before placing it in tinfoil. If your celery does get flimsy, soak it in ice water for 30 minutes to rehydrate. If it’s not too far gone, you might be surprised to find it as good as new!

4. Put a wet paper towel in your salad bag or box. This tip can give you a few extra days of wilt-free salad. The ideal way to store salad is to wash it in water and vinegar, let it dry, and store it in a glass jar. I’ve done that maybe once and it worked well, but again, quick tips are usually the best because it’s easier to do.

5. Store cabbage by taking it out of any plastic and putting it in your crisper drawer. When you notice the outer layer getting wrinkly, just peel back those layers and you’ll have fresh and crunchy cabbage underneath.

6. Put your asparagus stalks in water like flowers. The water keeps the stalks hydrated and prolongs their shelf life.

7. Chop or cut green onions, place in an empty plastic bottle and freeze. This makes it easy to throw into any dishes, and it thaws so quickly it won’t affect the flavor or the overall dish.

8. Freeze your ginger roots. Same as the onion, when you pull the ginger out of the freeze you can use a grater to add it to meals easily.

9. Store guacamole or cut-up apples in a glass jar with a metal lid in the fridge. This keeps your guac out of brown-town for several days. Glass jars with metal lids work for cut avocados too. Make sure it’s a metal lid, that detail is very important!

10. Hang your bananas up. It’s the best way to store them so that they are away from other fruits they might not get along with and prevent bruising.

I hope you are able to try out a few of these tricks and they work well for you!

What are your favorite produce saving hacks?

Christina Ellenberg MS, RD, LDN

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