Top 10 tips on washing & storing fruits and veggies

Top 10 tips on washing & storing fruits and veggies


My roommate calls it my “ritual”. Every time I go grocery shopping, there is a plethora of fruits and veggies on the counter for a bit before everything finds its place. (…which is never in a plastic bag!!)  I find that taking some extra time on your grocery shopping night to prep your veggies not only saves time in the long run, but can also prolong the life of your fruits and veggies by many days.  Ever notice that your cilantro in a plastic bag turns to mush in less than a week?

No one wants brown mushy cilantro…so here are my top tips to get the maximum use out of your fruits and veggies:

  1. My number one tip for saving time is to wash all fruits and veggies right after you go grocery shopping, then leave them out to dry for a few hours.  This saves a step when you need to cook or juice them and they are always ready to eat or be chopped up.
  2. The following fruits and veggies do not need to be in the fridge, so put them out in a fruit bowl/rack: most fruit (besides grapes and berries), avocados, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onions, winter squashes (butternut, acorn, etc).
  3. That being said…if your avocados get to the perfect ripeness, put them in the fridge to stop the ripening process.   Be careful not to put an unripe avocado in the fridge…that thing will never ripen.
  4. To keep grapes and carrots longer, put them in a bowl or Tupperware container full of water.
  5. To keep herbs like parsley and cilantro fresh, cut off the bottoms and put them upright in a glass with water in the bottom.   Be sure to change out the water every few days (like fresh flowers) I’ve kept herbs for weeks doing this.  This works for asparagus as well.
  6. For any leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, etc, make sure they are dry, then put in a container or in your veggie drawer with a paper towel (or reusable paper towel to be green!) to absorb any excess moisture.  If the paper towel starts to dampen, replace with a dry one.
  7. For beets, cut off the stems and store them with your greens.  Put the bulbs in a container of water like your carrots.
  8. For summer squashes,  cucumbers, fennel  and anything else, after it’s washed I put it in the crisper (separate from the greens)…no bags.  Plastic traps moisture and makes things rot quickly.
  9. For mushrooms, don’t wash until ready to use and put them in an open container in the fridge.  Eventually, they will start to dry out, but they won’t get mushy and gross like they usually do.
  10. If you have a lot of veggies you need to use…juice them!  I hardly ever have anything go bad because I just add it to my juice if it’s on it’s way out.  You can also chop and freeze most fruits and veggies to use later, just make sure you have something airtight to put them in so they don’t get freezerburnt.

Hope those tips help you make the most of your produce!  And if you really want to stop contributing to the “plastic island” in the middle of the ocean that we’ve created, remember to always recycle your plastic bags, or better yet, buy some reusable ones (these are my fave)!!

Do you have any additional tips on extending the life of your produce or time-saving tips after grocery shopping?  If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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