Food waste is one of the most common kinds of waste that happens on a yearly basis. In fact, it is estimated that 30% to 40% of our food supply is wasted. This is why it is so important to find ways to keep our produce fresh for longer to reduce food waste.
This is a huge problem and one that we all contribute to in our day-to-day life. We are all guilty of wasting food here and there often because of a lack of planning on our part.
But the good thing is that there are several ways that you can eliminate some of your food waste. Specifically, when it comes to wasting fresh produce since that is the most time-sensitive food category.
There is always going to be a waste problem, especially when it comes to food, but we can all take certain steps to minimize our waste. These ten tips can help you to do just that by helping your produce stay fresh for longer so that it won’t end up in the garbage.
1. Dry Produce Before Storing
While certain types of produce, such as asparagus and carrots, last longer when kept wet. Most types of produce will have a much longer shelf life if they are stored dry.
It is always best to wash your produce before putting it away, but you have to also remember to dry everything off. Any additional moisture leftover on your produce is going to drastically affect its shelf life.
Most refrigerators have just enough humidity to keep your produce fresh and crisp, but you don’t want to be adding any additional moisture.
2. Buy Unripe Fruit and Vegetables
One of the best tips that you could follow for keeping your produce fresh for longer is to buy unripe vegetables and fruit. This is a great tip because unless you plan on using that produce right away, it is going to go bad before you can use it.
Try to buy produce according to how quickly you plan on using it. If you want to make avocado toast today and avocado pudding on the weekend buy according to ripeness. That would mean getting a fully ripe avocado and an avocado that is still hard.
This rule can apply to all kinds of produce and is a great way at cutting your food waste in half!
3. Use Containers Instead of Plastic Bags
This tip ties into the one about storing your produce dry. Plastic bags are not only wasteful, but they have a tendency to collect moisture.
Instead of storing your cut produce in plastic bags, try to store them in airtight containers instead. This will lengthen their shelf life and keep them fresh and crisp until you have the chance to use them up.
When stored in a container vs a plastic bag, cut produce can last up to a week longer without beginning to get mushy or overly ripe.
4. Store Certain Types of Produce Separately
Certain types of produce can create gasses that actually encourage other produce to ripen faster. These types of fruit and vegetables should be stored separately to avoid overly ripened produce.
Produce like apples, bananas, onions, avocados, and melons all create gasses that speed up the ripening process of the produce around them. These types of fruit and vegetables should be stored by themselves to avoid food wastage.
5. Keep Ripened Produce in the Fridge
If you notice certain types of produce becoming too ripe too quickly, toss them into the fridge to slow down the process. This works especially well with fruits such as peaches and bananas as these types of fruit go bad quickly.
Putting ripened produce into the fridge will drastically slow down the ripening process, giving you a chance to eat everything before it gets too ripe or goes bad.
Just keep in mind that ripened produce that is stored for more than a few days in the fridge tends to become bland or grainy.
6. Store Produce in the Coldest Part of Your Fridge
If you want to keep your produce fresher for longer, it is important to store them in the right areas of your fridge. Your refrigerator is going to have certain areas that are colder than others, and that is where you want your produce to go.
It is best to avoid storing produce where the light bulb is or in the storage area of the door. These are two areas that tend to be the warmest and fluctuate in temperature the most.
7. Wash Berries in a Vinegar Solution
Berries might be one of the hardest fruits to eat up before they go bad, which can result in wasted fruit. Besides keeping berries stored in the fridge you can also give them a special wash in order to lengthen their lifespan.
A simple solution of one cup of white vinegar to three cups of water can help to better preserve berries and keep them fresh for longer. Give them a good rinse in this solution and allow them to dry before storing them in the fridge.
8. Freeze Produce to Use Later
If you notice that your produce is just ripening too fast or you just have too much of it, why not freeze the excess. This is a great way of preserving produce to use for later instead of letting it go to waste.
Just about any kind of produce can be frozen for later, whether it be fruit or vegetables. This is a great way to save produce for later and can be used to throw together quick soups and casseroles.
9. Keep Certain Produce at Room Temperature
Just like many different types of produce last longer when stored in the fridge, some do better when kept at room temperature.
Garlic, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes are all types of produce that last longer when kept at room temperature. Mangoes, plums, peaches, and pears all do better when stored at room temperature, as well, and can be put into the fridge once ripened.
10. Freeze Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil
Source: Tasty Yummies/YouTube
Herbs have an extremely short shelf life and often start to go bad within a day or two. Which doesn’t give you much time to use them up before it is too late.
One of the best ways to preserve herbs without affecting their appearance or taste is to freeze them in olive oil for later. This makes them easy to add to dishes whenever you need them without the risk of them going bad beforehand.
All you have to do is chop up your herbs and cover them in olive oil before freezing. Many people choose to freeze them in ice containers then put them into plastic bags. This makes it even easier to grab a cube as you need it.
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