Keep Produce Fresh Longer and Save on Your Grocery Budget

When you go to do the family grocery shopping we try to get as much as we can in one trip so we can avoid having to go shopping again. I know I try to keep my shopping to once a fortnight, because who want’s to bring a 1 year old grocery shopping more than they have to?

It gets very frustrating though when those groceries go bad before you get to eating them, wasted money that gets tossed into the bin. One of the main culprits is usually produce.

– Strawberries getting moldy early
-Celery going limp
-Salad going funky

So, I decided to work on figuring out some tips to save my produce and save my grocery budget. Thought I’d share my top 10 tips with you in case you might find them useful!

How to Make Produce Last Longer

1| Wrap Celery in Aluminum Foil

If you don’t have storage containers this lil trick will keep your celery firm for longer while in the fridge.

Just wrap from the bottom up with the leafy bits sticking out the top and you can enjoy a fresh snack of peanut butter on celery a week later no troubles.

2| Keep the Avocado Pit & Squirt w/ Lemon

Only planning on using half your avocado for breakfast? To help the other half last longer in the fridge make sure to keep the pit inside the fruit, and if you have some lemon juice handy give the exposed surface a bit of a spritz and that should keep it fresh for a bit longer.

3| Use Storage Containers

Look, I am not huge into using a lot of plastic in my home.
But, I will give Tupperware the Thumbs Up for their produce storage containers.

I was an Au Pair for a short time and while I worked for a few moms I came across the updated Tupperware produce storage containers with the green lids. They worked so well for all the family’s fruit and veggies and kept them fresh for ages.

Like seriously, mushrooms lasted 3 weeks without drying up and shriveling away. So I made a mental note to look into them for myself one day.

It was the first and only Tupperware product I ever bought, and I use them all the time. Lettuce last longer, celery stays firm, you name it and it stays fresh if you follow the settings on the container (another plus, you don’t have to try and remember what gets stored open/closed. It has pictures on the side. Yay for one less thing this mom has to remember).

4| Avoid Washing Berries Early

It is a very good idea to wash your berries before consuming them, but hold off on washing them until you are actually about to eat them.

Any moisture with decrease their shelf life, so waiting to wash them until you are about to eat them will give you more time before they spoil.

This includes grapes, which are technically a berry!

5| Learn What Produce Not to Store Together

Ethylene is a plant hormone released from the plant as a gas. It triggers fruit to turn softer/sweeter, leaves to droop, and seeds or buds to sprout. Some fruits and vegetables are high ethylene producers as others are sensitive to this hormone.

This is why your potatoes and onions should be stored separate. Keeping your ethylene producing produce away from your ethylene sensitive produce should help them last longer.

Ethylene Producing Foods

apples, apricots, avocados, bananas (ripe), blueberries, cantaloupe/rockmelon, cranberries, figs, green onions, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, potatoes, tomatoes

Ethylene Sensitive Foods

asparagus, unripened bananas, blackberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard/silverbeet, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, kale, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, peppers, raspberries, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes/yams, watermelon

6| Keep Your Fridge Clean

It is a necessary evil, taking everything out and cleaning your fridge once a month at least.

Leftover mold spores or residue can cause your future produce to spoil quickly. Especially in the produce drawers at the bottom of your fridge. Take them out and wipe them out often.

7| Store Corn in the Husk

Keep your corn in the husk and in the fridge. Trim any frilly bits that still out the top of the husk, and then keep them together in the fridge to keep them fresh longer.

8| Keep Tomatoes OUT of the Fridge

Yep, that’s right. Keep them out of the fridge and they will stay fresh longer. Keeping them in the fridge will change their taste and texture within a day or so.

As long as they stay out of sunlight and at room temperature, you will have fresher tomatoes if they stay out of the fridge.

9| Remove Rotten Apple Straight Away

One rotten apple can spoil the bunch. Remember that ethylene gas mentioned earlier? A rotten apple emits a high amount and will set the others to spoil quickly if the rotten one is not removed.

10| Look at Produce before Purchase

The best piece of advice I can give you is to make sure the produce you are purchasing is fresh.

If you are not planning on using it for dinner that night then make sure you are checking your berry containers for mold, salad for any browning, and fruits for any bruising.

The more fresh your produce is the longer it will last once you bring it home. Taking that extra few seconds to inspect your produce can save you money and food waste in the long run.

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