You purchase a bounty of fruits and vegetables on your weekly grocery trip — only to have more than half of them start rotting before you have a chance to cook or consume them. Save your food and your money with these tips.
You’re trying to eat healthier and are buying more fruits and vegetables to include in your diet, but you’re finding the produce is rotting before you get around to eating it all. Don’t give up just yet. The good news is that you can take some steps to help make your fresh fruits and vegetables last longer. It’ll take some more time and effort, but it’ll be worth it for the healthier diet, the reduced waste and the ease on your pocketbook. Ready to have groceries going into your belly instead of straight to the compost bin? These four strategies will help get you on track.
Store fruits and vegetables separately
Organize your produce purchases and store them in their designated drawers in your fridge rather than tossing them all in together. Apples, for example, release a gas called ethylene which makes veggies ripen (and therefore rot) faster. Also, if you notice one particular fruit or vegetable has started to rot, throw it out immediately, to avoid having the rotting spread to the other produce.
It can be a time-saver to watch your fruits and vegetables before you store them in the fridge, ready to use and eat right away, but this can lead to them developing mould more quickly. Wash your produce only just before eating or cooking with it.
Adjust your crisper settings
Chances are you haven’t touched the settings of your refrigerator since you purchased your fridge or you moved into your apartment. But fridges nowadays offer a variety of controls that help you prolong the life of your food. Your crisper is designed to be a more humid storage space for your fresh produce. Turn the humidity control slightly higher for produce such as greens, but turn it to medium for most other fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruit only needs low humidity (or leave it on the counter — see below).
Many of us tend to store all of our fresh produce in the refrigerator, but some, such as tomatoes, oranges and squash, will store better at room temperature. The cold temperature of the fridge can actually lead these to rot more quickly.