Food Storage: How to Store Vegetables & Keep Fruit Fresh
Every year, the typical American throws away an average of 470 pounds of food, totaling somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 worth of groceries. According to a University of Arizona study done in partnership with the USDA, about one-fourth of that waste is produce that went bad before it could be eaten.
If you’re tired of tossing fresh fruits and vegetables because they wilt, brown, mold or turn to mush too fast, consider this advice for how to safely store your produce—and extend its freshness.
Keep produce whole. It might be tempting to wash and cut your celery, carrots and cucumbers for quick on-the-go snacks, but unless you’re going to use them right away, they will start to go bad. You can prolong the freshness of some fruits and veggies—lettuce, in particular—if you rinse them in a lemon juice-spiked water bath.
The fridge isn’t always necessary. Produce like potatoes, onions, winter squash and garlic should be kept in a dry, cool cupboard or pantry—never the fridge.
Let it breathe. Sealing fruits and vegetables in an airtight container suffocates them and speeds the decay process. Pyrex® Simply Store containers will allow your veggies to breathe!
Leave them out. Tomatoes, peaches and pears all do best at room temperature. They get mushy quickly when stored in the fridge. Also, if you have unripe tomatoes, peaches or pears, you can speed up the ripening process by storing them in a paper bag on your counter for a day or two.
Give them water. A few vegetables, like asparagus and carrots, keep best when given access to water. With asparagus, cut an inch off the bottom, wrap the exposed end in a moist paper towel and then prop the bundle up in a glass or bowl. Carrots should be cleaned and then submerged in a covered container filled with water before being stored in the fridge. Use Pyrex No-Leak Lids™ containers to ensure there are no spills.
Store them dry. Unlike asparagus and carrots, lettuce needs to be put away dry or it spoils quickly. It’s best to inspect your lettuce and toss out any brown, wilting pieces before refrigerating because those rotting leaves will cause the rest to rot as well. If you have unwashed lettuce from the farmer’s market or local grocer, separate the leaves and rinse them in an icy-cold bath of water mixed with a little vinegar or lemon juice—this will help maintain their crispness. Spin or pat dry the leaves before wrapping them in a dry paper towel and storing them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Pretty much every “how to store food” list recommends putting your produce in a plastic bag or container, but glass works just as well—maybe better. With the growing concern over the chemical BPA (Bisphenol A) in some plastics (all plastic Snapware® containers and Pyrex® plastic lids are BPA free), glass products like Pyrex® No-Leak Lids™ storage sets are a great way to keep your produce fresh and safe.