Keep your fruits and vegetables fresh for weeks with these simple produce storage hacks!
5 Brilliantly Simple Storage Hacks To Keep Produce Fresher Longer
I love fresh produce and our family eats a lot of fruits and vegetables throughout the week. I also grow quite a bit of fresh produce in my backyard garden. Despite eating our fruits and veggies every day, they still tend to go bad quickly! And nothing bums me out more than having to feed veggies that I wanted to eat to my chickens instead!
Because I hate wasting food, I started looking for ways to keep my fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. Some of these tricks I figured out on my own. Some are things that I saw as viral posts and tested them out to see if they really worked.
The following are tried and true hacks that I use to keep my fresh produce fresher…for weeks or even a month or more! They really work!
For each hack, I’ll detail what you need to do and why each works. Some hacks work for pretty much anything, some work for specific types of fruits or vegetables.
1. Store Fruits In Mason Jars
A mason jar is an airtight container, so it prevents fruit from coming into contact with outside air and moisture, which are two of the main culprits that make fruit spoil. Exposure to air starts the oxidation process and moisture will eventually make fruit begin to mold or rot.
TIP: If you notice any condensation, you can place a wadded up paper towel in the bottom of the jar. You’ll notice that I use paper towels a lot to keep my produce fresh! They’re very handy!
Why It Works:
Mason jars are airtight, which means that they prevent air and moisture from getting to the fruit. Mason jars are also made of glass, which is a non-reactive material, so the fruit will not react with the jar and will not lose its flavor or nutrients. If you don’t have a mason jar handy, you can use a glass food storage container instead.
2. Revive Mushy Strawberries With Ice Water
When your strawberries start to look kind of mushy or bruised, you can soak them in a bowl of ice water for 20 minutes to revive them. After 20 minutes or so in an ice water bath, the strawberries plump back up and turn bright red again.
You can also use this for lettuce and greens to plump them up before you make a salad!
Why It Works:
The science behind the strawberry hack is actually pretty simple! Strawberries have a porous surface, so they readily absorb liquid.
Soak them in ice water and they will absorb the water and plump up again. You don’t need to soak any longer than 10-20 minutes. You also don’t want to do this to any strawberries that are actually moldy or spoiled.
3. Prevent Lettuce From Wilting With A Paper Towel
Boxed lettuce wilts quickly if you’re not careful…and that is no bueno because those lettuces aren’t cheap! However, I discovered a trick to keep my lettuce from getting soggy and brown!
All you need to do to keep lettuce fresh in the fridge is to place a paper towel sheet inside the package. When the paper towel becomes damp, replace it with a new paper towel sheet.
Why It Works:
The paper towel absorbs excess liquid and condensation, instead of the lettuce. Instead of wilting after a few days, my lettuce stays fresh for over two weeks!
4. Keep Veggies Crisp In A Plastic Bag
For fresh veggies that do not come in a package, or for freshly picked vegetables from my own garden, I keep them in a gallon freezer bag with a sheet of paper towel. Just like the lettuce trick above, I swap out the paper towel when it becomes damp. I keep the bag in my fridge to help extend the life of my veggies and prevent the outside humidity (which is really high here in my part of Texas) from affecting anything.
Why It Works:
The paper towel absorbs excess condensation from your vegetables and the sealed plastic bag prevents moisture from the fridge from negatively affecting your produce. No more floppy cucumbers or zucchini!
5. Wrap Vegetables In Aluminum Foil To Keep Them Fresh For Weeks
If you want to keep things plastic-free, you can use this foil produce storage hack instead! Simply wrap your vegetables in a sheet of aluminum foil and place them in the refrigerator crisper drawer. This worked especially well for celery, a head of lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash. Plus, the foil can be reused over and over again!
Why It Works:
- Foil prevents moisture loss. Wrapping veggies in foil creates a barrier which prevents them from losing moisture. That’s why this hack works so well for vegetables with high water content, such as celery, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash.
- Foil absorbs ethylene gas. Ethylene is a gas that is produced by some fruits and vegetables (such as bananas) that causes OTHER fruits and vegetables to ripen faster or spoil. Aluminum foil helps to absorb ethylene gas that might be coming from other produce in your fridge and helps keep things from spoiling too quickly.
Before You Store Your Fruits and Vegetables…
Before you put anything away, make sure you’re not making any mistakes that could cause your fruit to accidentally spoil!
- Remove any bruised or damaged fruit.
- Do NOT wash fruit before storing, as it can leave excess moisture on them.
- Leave about an inch of headspace at the top of the jar so they don’t get smushed.
- Screw on the jar lid snugly, seal the ziplock bag fully, etc. to keep air out.
- Keep produce refrigerated to extend its “shelf life.”
- Always check for signs of mold or spoilage before eating. Discard any spoilt food, or add to your compost.
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