Farmers’ Market Guide: Helpful Tips for Keeping Produce Fresh
Summer brings us a bounty of delicious fruits and veggies, but hanging on to their fresh, brilliant hues and snappy textures can be challenging. With a little know-how, you can easily extend the life of fruits and vegetables, and help them taste as good as they should. Keep your fresh picks longer with these tips and hints for washing, cutting and storing summer produce. When refrigeration is needed, you’ll find options to fit all shapes and sizes in the Snapware® Total Solution™ Collection.
- SEPARATE LIVES: Keep fruits and veggies apart because some fruits (like bananas) give off high levels of ethylene gas that can prematurely ripen—and even rot—surrounding fruits and vegetables.
- SET THEM FREE: Before you store produce, remove all ties and rubber bands to encourage airflow and discourage decay.
KNOW WHEN TO WASH
- A LITTLE DIRT WON’T HURT: Hold off on washing mushrooms, berries and “soft” herbs like basil and parsley until you’re ready to use them.
- SEND ’EM SWIMMING: Leafy greens should be washed before storing, but please bathe them instead of showering with running water. Soak them in a sink full of water, then trim stalks, stems and any bad leaves. Be sure to dry thoroughly. We recommend using a salad spinner, then laying them out on paper towels, blotting excess water and allowing them to dry. And make sure to store your clean greens in containers that’ll let them breathe (vent the lid or choose fine-mesh bags.)
LET’S TALK TEMP
- PLAY IT COOL: Bell peppers, grapes, citrus and berries will ripen too quickly if left out for longer than a few hours and should be refrigerated.
- WORK THE ROOM: Stone fruits, such as plums and peaches, should continue to ripen at warmer temps, so leave them sitting on the countertop. Once they’re ripe, you can keep them in the fridge, but don’t wash until you’re ready to eat.
- DON’T REFRIGERATE: Bananas should stay out, as they ripen very quickly, and remember to keep them away from other produce.
- BEST SPUDS: Potatoes should be stored in a dark environment at about 45° to 50°F. Warmer temps and humidity cause them to sprout and soften. (HINT: If you need to store them for a long time, add a ripe apple to the mix to keep them from sprouting.)
- NOT SO COOL: Contrary to popular belief, cucumbers are happier at room temperature than in the refrigerator. Cukes are also highly sensitive to ethylene, so try to keep them away from bananas, melons and tomatoes.
- QUENCH THEIR THIRST: For asparagus, you can choose one of these two options, then refrigerate: 1) Set asparagus spears upright in a container with the stems wading in an inch of water and cover loosely with plastic or 2) Wrap the ends in moist paper towels before storing.
- BERRY BATH: Washing before storing usually makes berries deteriorate faster, but if you must, this method may help keep them fresh longer. Rinse the berries in a diluted vinegar bath (1 cup vinegar plus 3 cups water), then gently spin them in a salad spinner lined with paper towels until completely dry. Store a pint of washed berries in a paper towel-lined Snapware 3.86-Cup Medium Round with Total Solution Lid, but leave the lid open a little to allow moisture to escape. The vinegar should destroy bacteria and mold spores, helping your berries stay fresh longer.
Seasonal produce shines when picked at the right time and cared for in the right way. Enjoy summer’s harvest to the fullest by using these suggestions for encouraging the best possible taste and texture.YOUR TURN: Share your tips for keeping produce in its prime.