How to keep produce fresh longer is something that most people, especially homemakers, think about all the time.
It’s a struggle to buy fresh ingredients and to store them properly, so that they don’t get bad too fast. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t consume fresh produce in time, so we are bound to have some items go bad on us.
Luckly, there are ways to prevent that (or limit the amount of times it happens). It all starts with meal planning, but it’s mostly about knowing how to properly store fruits and veggies.
I’ve compiled a list of tips & tricks on how to keep produce fresh longer. The majority was learned by me the hard way, but some were passed down by my mother and grandmother.
Here is how to make potatoes, onions, avocados and fruit last longer. Let’s go!
How to keep produce fresh longer 101
The number one advice I can give you, the one that will change your life for the better, is to MEAL PLAN.
Just plan your meals ahead of time, for a week, and buy accordingly. This is the most important tip, because this will help you buy only what you need, so you won’t have extra items lying around, with no purpose. That results in less food to waste or to go bad.
But if you do find yourself with unused produce in the fridge or pantry, here is how to keep produce fresh longer.
How to make avocados last longer.
This had to go first because avocados are the bane of my existence when it comes to buying and keeping produce fresh longer. I always buy them unripe and wait too long to eat them, or I cut them too late and they’re already gone.
So I’ve learned my lesson over time. Here is how to make avocados last longer:
- If you have ripe avocados, but are not ready to eat them yet, you can place them in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 extra days, that will keep them fresh.
- If the avocado is not ripe yet, you should leave it on the countertop. Just make sure to check the ripeness level each day until it’s ready to eat.
- If you already cut the avocado in half, but only used one half, squeeze some lemon juice on the unused half, cover with cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator.
How to make potatoes last longer
Potato storage was one of my biggest shocks. I used to refrigerate them (it was easier for me to store them that way). But I recently found out that cold temperatures make them more carcinogenic when fried or roasted. So they should NOT be stored in the fridge or the freezer.
Another thing you should know is that potatoes need airflow to prevent moisture, because that spoils them. So you should avoid placing them into an airtight container. Instead, store potatoes in an open bowl, in a dark and cool place.
Also, if you want to know how to make potatoes last longer, you should make sure to purchase fresh and healthy ones. Look for potatoes that are firm, smooth, blemish-free and with no signs of sprouting.
How to make carrots last longer
Carrots, similar to beetroots, are pretty easy to preserve. Just cut the green tops when you bring them home, then wash and slice them anyway you want. Store carrots in the fridge, in an airtight container.
How to make onions last longer
In order to keep onions fresh, you need to know they should be stored similarly to potatoes, but NOT in the same place.
Here is how to make onions last longer:
- Do not refrigerate. Instead, store in a cool, dark place with low humidity in your house.
- Allow air circulation, so don’t use an airtight container; place them in an open bowl.
- As I previously mentioned, keep separate from potatoes and sweet potatoes.
How to make salad / lettuce / spinach/ leafy greens last longer
Leafy greens used to be the first thing to go bad in my fridge. That’s why I researched high and low on how to make leafy greens like lettuce, salad and spinach, to last longer.
My preferred method (but not always the most advertised one online) is to wash the leafy greens, cut them, and then put them in airtight containers in the fridge, with paper towels in the containers in order to absorb moisture. In my experience, that usually makes them last 4 days, up to a week.
How to make fruit last longer
When it comes to fruits, there are many tips & tricks on how to make fruit last longer. It all depends on the type of fruit. Here are the most common ways to make fruit last longer:
- Store chopped fruits in airtight containers. It will help keep their moisture and their crispness.
- Keep berries fresh for longer with this trick. Pour in a bowl one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Swirl the berries around in the bowl mixture, drain, rinse, and put them in the fridge. The berries will last for a week or more.
- Store apples (and potatoes) away from other produce. The ethylene gas they produce will help ripe the produce close to it, so make sure to keep them separate (in a paper bag, preferably)
- Buy green or bright yellow bananas, don’t go directly to the ripe ones. The ripe ones will go bad faster. I recommend you can buy a mix of both: half (the green or bright yellow bananas) you plan to eat in the next 2 days, and the other half (muddy yellow or with spots) to be consumed the 2-4 days after that.
Other tips & tricks to make food last longer
- Store peanut butter jars upside down. This way, the oil will not separate from the rest.
- Buy items with a longer shelf life. When you go to the store to buy yoghurt, for example, check the label of the first product you see, then move around some items, and take one from the backs. Odds are that one has a longer shelf life, because it’s from another shipment, so get that one.
- Don’t buy items that expire in 1-2 days. You will most likely not eat them right away.
Bottom line, if you want to make food last longer, you need to buy fresh and store them correctly, according to their needs.
I hope this helped! Do you have any other tips & tricks on how to keep produce fresh longer?
P.S. If you want to be smart about your grocery shopping, besides meal planning, you need to know how to save money on groceries!