Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tricks To Keep Your Fruits and Veggies Fresher and Save Money

All of us have at one time or another bought fruits and veggies that we just didn't use up in time or have forgotten about in the crisper drawer of the fridge.  Unfortunately, produce goes bad sooner than we'd like it to, and our only recourse is to throw away rotted or moldy produce.  I hate wasting food since it's so expensive these days, so I've come up with some tricks that will miraculously extend the life of your produce.

1. Freeze lemon or lime juice in an ice cube tray
Sometimes lemons and limes run one dollar each, and sometimes it’s like some kind of citrus free-for-all, where you can get a cart-full for the same amount. Or maybe your backyard tree is producing an unbelievable amount. During these times of abundance, save! Squeeze lemons or limes into the squares of an ice cube tray so you can use them for months to come—in sauces and soups.

2. Isolate the trouble fruit
Fruits like apples, bananas, and peaches emit a gas called ethylene that will make your vegetables ripen more quickly, so store those fruits in their own area or container.sauces, soups, or drinks.

3. Line the bottom of the crisper drawer
Ever wonder why your parents put paper towels on the bottom of the crisper drawer? Well, it wasn’t just because they had a compulsion for lining drawers; it’s because paper towels absorb moisture that can cause veggies to go bad prematurely.

4. However, if you can’t be responsible about it, forget the crisper
The crisper is known by some as the graveyard of the refrigerator. Out of sight, out of mind, many pieces of produce—with so much potential!—have been placed in this drawer, only to wither and die. If this sounds familiar, forget your crisper and put your fruits and vegetables in produce baggies on shelves that are in your sightline so you can’t forget them.

5. Don’t store all produce in the fridge
Different fruits and vegetables need different environments, and some thrive best at room temperature. So keep your avocados, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and sweet potatoes on the counter or in a drawer under it.

6. Know the secret formula for freezing herbs
Most recipes call for only a tablespoon or a few branches of fresh herbs, and then most of us watch the rest of the bunch go to waste. This is a sad process wherein we repeatedly promise the herbs we’ll find another dish for them, then we break our promise, and dump the forgotten bundle in the compost bin. But Susan Belsinger, culinary herbalist, wrote in the Washington Post that the best way she’s found to retain the flavor of herbs is to chop them up and mix them with some oil, so that it becomes an “aromatic paste,” which she then freezes, ostensibly in airtight plastic baggies. She recommends this for herbs used in baking, soups, and sauces, including pesto and salsa verde.

7. Learn carrot CPR
Resuscitate limp carrots by peeling them and then soaking them for a couple hours in ice water. They’ll soak up the fresh water and regain some snap.

8. Only wash what you’re eating
Resist the temptation to wash fruits and veggies before you stick them in the fridge. No loopholes! If you’re only eating a portion of berries or grapes, only wash what you need. The added moisture from washing invites mold and spoiling.

Please send me ideas that you know of to help save your produce!

Intuitively Yours,
Laurel xoxo


  1. hahaha "the crisper is known as the graveyard of the refrigerator". Too true.

    My crispers (both bottoms ones) freeze everything, no matter what I do. I use them to store things like ketchup, butter and other things that don't really freeze. Small bottles of juice, or fruit that I've cut up and put into containers for my shakes.

    I have yet to figure out how to save produce. The best I've been able to do is keep lettuce for a littler. I use one of those vacuum sealers (the ones with plastic bags).

    When I get the greens home, I wash them, pull them apart, dry the leaves and divide them up into two or three bags and use the vacuum sealer. Mine is has a little sealer dot on the front of the bag. If I open the bag after sealing it, it can be resealed. (the sealer is handheld, runs on battery and is made by reynolds). Not sure if you can still buy the handheld one from Reynolds (I bought it in the US) but target seems to have a couple of hand-helds of a different brand.

    I love my reynolds one. Don't know how I managed without it. The counter top sealer went in the garbage the day I brought this one home. I've had it for about six years now maybe.

    My lettuce stays fresh, crispy and non-browned for more than a week. If I don't bag it like that, I have to have it used up in 1 to 2 days.

    1. Gracey, you have a great item to keep greens fresh. I wash my greens then spin them with a lettuce spinner and dry them with a paper towel thoroughly. I store them in a BPA- free container using paper towels on the bottom to absorb moisture and on top and then seal it with a lid. Unfortunately, it still turns brown in a few days. I'll have to check at Target for the handheld Reynolds brand.

      Thanks so much for the tip!!

  2. I bought that a long time back, and I don't know if the the bags are bpa free for the Reynolds one or not. You might want to check the other brands - newer products are more aware of healthier lifestyles, and might have bags that are.

    1. I checked around and there were a few out there but none by Reynold's. I'll have to look into more.


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