If your weekly trip to the market yields more produce than you know what to do with, keeping it fresh and unspoiled is important to ensure it retains good taste and nutrition for several days.
These tips will help you keep your produce from going bad before you have a chance to use it.
Make a plan
We all hate to throw away food, but it’s tempting to overload your basket with all the delicious offerings of the season. Making a list of the produce you will actually eat and/or cook within the week will help you to not overbuy. Not only will you keep food out of the trash, you’ll save some money, too.
Where you buy your produce is an important factor in how long it will last once you get it home. Produce that already has been on the shelf for many days will spoil much quicker than freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Shop at your local farmers market for the freshest produce.
Depending on the type of produce you have, make sure you’re storing it in the proper place. Not all fresh fruits and vegetables need to be kept in the refrigerator. Some produce, like apples, citrus, melons, squash and potatoes, is best kept on the counter or in a cool, dry place. Other produce, like peaches, nectarines, plums, pears and avocados, should be ripened on the counter and then moved to the refrigerator. Immediate refrigeration of produce like berries, grapes, carrots, celery, leafy greens and mushrooms is recommended for keeping it fresh.
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Use the crisper
The best place in the refrigerator to keep your produce is the crisper. Not only will your fridge stay more organized by using these drawers, but your produce will also last longer. Many refrigerators have humidity-controlled crispers to regulate the moisture within the compartment. Another important tip for food storage in the refrigerator is not to set the temperature too low. The ideal temperature setting is between 35 and 38 degrees F. This ensures that the growth of bacteria is slowed, but your produce will not freeze. The GE French Door Refrigerator has both humidity-controlled crispers and a dual temperature system to keep ideal temperatures within the whole fridge.
Wash and dry
If you wash your produce as soon as you get it home, make sure that it is completely dry before putting it into the refrigerator. For things like berries, rinse them in a colander and lay them out on a towel to air dry. For lettuce and greens, use a salad spinner after washing. Produce will be less likely to mold and get limp if it isn’t sitting in excess moisture.
To keep herbs fresh, treat them like you would flowers. Cut the ends off the bunch, stand them up in a tall cup of water, place a loose plastic bag over the top, and store them in the refrigerator.