Did You Know | Life Hacks | Food

Clever Ways To Keep Fruits, Veggies And Herbs Fresh All Summer Long

Serious Eats / GoGo Bags

I don't exactly have a green thumb, so as the weather gets nicer I take advantage of the fresh produce at the grocery store.

Or at least I try to.

Last year I stocked up on fruits and veggies, but I must have thrown out at least half of what I bought.

No matter how fast I eat it, it seems like healthy food just disintegrates in my fridge.

A little research revealed that I was to blame (no surprise) because I wasn't storing my leafy greens properly.

Learn from my mistake and save some money this year by following these healthy tips.

Storing Herbs

Most herbs fall into two categories, with their own methods for keeping them fresh.

Always begin by washing your herbs and patting them dry with a paper towel.

Hardy herbs (including rosemary, thyme, sage, and chives) can be rolled up in paper towel - like a cigar - and stored in a Ziploc bag in your fridge.

Herbs
Serious Eats

Tender herbs (like parsley, cilantro, dill and mint) need a little more care.

Herbs
Serious Eats

Cut off the bottom of their stems, and trim any wilting leaves. Next, fill a mason jar with an inch or so of water and add in the herbs like a bouquet.

To seal in the freshness, flip a Ziploc bag over the top of the jar and fasten it with a rubber band, then stick the whole jar in the fridge.

But some herbs require a little more care:

Parsley

Parsley
Ranveig / Wikimedia

Give the leaves a dunking in cold water, or a wash with a salad spinner, then dry them out.

Lay them on a paper towel and leave everything in an open container.

You can keep parsley fresh in the fridge by wetting the paper towel every so often.

Basil

Basil
Pixabay

Treat this plant like other tender herbs, but leave the covered mason jar out on the counter, just away from direct sunlight.

Chives

Chives
a.pitch / Flickr

Chives and other "small herbs" can be chopped up and frozen.

Sprinkle them into an ice cube tray and cover them with water. Not only will they keep fresh, this also divides your herbs into portions.

This technique works well for sage and thyme too.

Now, if your fruit keeps going moldy, we have some suggestions.

Storing Fruit

Apples and other ethylene fruit

Pixabay

Some fruits release a chemical called ethylene, which makes them ripen more quickly.

Because of this, they should be kept separate from other fruits and vegetables.

Keep apples, apricots, cantaloupe and honeydew far from any other healthy foods.

Not for the fridge

Pixabay

Some fruits just do not react well to the cold.

Avocados, bananas, peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, pears and plums should all be kept on the counter.

However, once they ripen they can be moved to the fridge to make them last a little longer - just keep them away from other fruits.

Grapes

Grapes
Ezhuttukari - Wikimedia

Grapes are a special case because they build up moisture faster than other fruit, which makes them lose their plumpness.

Wash them, pat them dry, and store them on a layer of paper towel to absorb the moisture.

Do the same thing for berries or else they'll go moldy.

Bananas

Bananas
Steve Hopson / Wikimedia

Bananas are a very finicky fruit, but there are ways of keeping them under control.

One trick is to separate them from their bunch, so they ripen much more slowly.

Wrapping the end of a banana in tin foil will also do the trick. See if any of these other crafty food-saving tricks will work for you.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruit
Pixnio

Oranges, lemons, and limes should never be stored in the fridge.

Keep them sitting out on the counter - but not in a basket. They'll get moldy faster if they're rubbing against each other.

If your veggies are turning brown before you can eat them, we can help solve that too.

Storing Vegetables

As a rule of thumb, wash any fresh greens and pat them dry - just like herbs.

Storing them in paper towel or a produce bag will usually protect them from moisture.

Asparagus

Asparagus
Woodley Wonderworks / Flickr

This tricky vegetable should be treated more like a herb.

Slice off the stems and leave them in a glass or jar.

Luckily, they'll stay fresh either in or out of the fridge this way.

Celery

Pixabay

Leave the whole stalk together in a shallow bowl with some water on the counter.

If you prefer to store celery in the fridge, keep it wrapped in aluminium foil. It keeps the crunchiness of your celery and prevents it from getting soggy.

Tomatoes

Pexels

As we mentioned in the fruit section, tomatoes should never be stored in the fridge.

Keep them on the counter, where they'll slowly ripen and last much longer.

To ripen a few quickly, put them in a paper bag with an apple.

Potatoes, onions and garlic

Potatoes
Pexels

These hardy veggies will be just fine in a dark, cool part of your pantry.

They'll last up to a month longer out of a cold fridge.

Peppers

Pixabay

Peppers should be stored in your fridge, but you need to take precautions to make them stay crispy.

If you keep them in a mesh produce bag these colorful veggies will stay in good shape for weeks.

What's your trick for keeping healthy ingredients extra fresh?

[H/T: Fox News, Serious Eats, Reader's Digest]

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