Americans buy most of their food in bulk and that includes fresh produce. That’s why a significant portion of that food gets wasted and spoils away in the open or in the refrigerator. If your refrigerator is damaged or not working properly, your food turns bad even quicker. To fix this you can hire the services of professionals by searching for “refrigerator repair near me”. Let’s check out how you can keep your produce fresh for weeks:
- Buy fresh – Instead of buying the first items on the shelf, it’s best to train your senses to identify and buy the freshest produce available at the store. You need to be choosy and nitpick everything before adding it to your cart. Developing this kind of skill takes years. However, there are a few objective strategies you can use.
When you buy leafy greens, look for a deep green hue. Don’t buy celery, cilantro, or lettuce if it looks wilted and discolored. While buying fruits, look for tight skins and a fragrant smell. Don’t pick up fruit that feels soft and squishy and appears discolored. You can also go up a notch and buy unripe fruits if you plan to consume them after a week or two. By the time you’re ready to take a bite, they will ripen.
- Use the crisper drawers wisely – The major reason why produce goes bad in your refrigerator is ethylene gas. Certain veggies and fruits produce ethylene gas that quickens the ripening process and makes your food go bad quickly. That’s why you need to keep those items in the refrigerator drawer and separate them from the produce that doesn’t create ethylene gas.
For this purpose, your refrigerator’s crisper drawers are the best solution. Crisper drawers have custom climate control that maintains perfect humidity levels by sucking out excess moisture. In the process, they also suck out ethylene gas and keep your produce fresh for a longer time. Keep ethylene producers like tomatoes, peppers, avocados, and apples in crisper drawers and keep regular produce in other chambers.
- Storing garlic, onions, and shallots – Garlic, onions, and shallots aren’t supposed to go in the refrigerator. Instead, just keep them in a cool environment away from root vegetables and moisture. Onions and garlic release gasses that cause root vegetables like potatoes and carrots to sprout.
The only time when you should store onions, shallots, and garlic in the refrigerator is when you have cut or peeled them. For instance, it’s best to keep peeled garlic cloves and half an onion in the refrigerator.
- Leaf Greens – Ironically, while leafy greens are mostly comprised of water, they hate excess humidity. That’s why you shouldn’t shove them inside the refrigerator right after washing them. Wash your greens, let them dry and then put them inside the refrigerator. Otherwise, they turn soggy and don’t stay fresh for long.
If you live in a cold climate and prefer to not store your leafy greens in the refrigerator, you can buy breathable organic cotton bags for storing produce. They allow your leafy greens to release ethylene instead of accumulating it in a small space. This can make them stay fresh for a couple of weeks or more.
- Root Veggies – For storing potatoes you don’t need any special environment. Since they aren’t ethylene producers, keep them in the pantry at room temperature and away from ethylene producers. The same holds for other root veggies like beets or carrots. However, they prefer to stay cool.
- Citrus fruits – You really don’t want to keep citrus fruits outside the refrigerator. While they make a great display on the table in a glass bowl, they don’t stay fresh for more than four days at room temperature. Instead, store them in the refrigerator to make them last as long as four weeks.
You need to keep them away from ethylene producers in the refrigerator to keep them fresh for the longest duration. If you can’t keep them away from ethylene producers, it’s best to keep them sealed inside Ziplock bags. For lemons, it’s best to store them in a bowl of water to keep them fresh and juicy.
- Berries and avocados – Avocados are some of the most difficult things to keep fresh. You may buy them as hard as a rock one day and within two days they will rot away. The best you can do is store avocados in a crisper drawer and hope it lasts at least two weeks. On the other hand, berries should be kept away from ethylene producers in a ventilated mesh bag inside the refrigerator.
- Use water – Most of your product requires water to stay fresh and alive. For instance, veggies like kale and asparagus would stay fresh for a very long time if they are stored in a jar of water. The same goes for herbs. You need to trim their ends and submerge them inside a jar half-filled with water. They work the same way as fresh-cut flowers in a vase.
- Vinegar soak – While berries can stay fresh inside the refrigerator, they last for a very long time when you soak them in vinegar. Mix one part vinegar with three-part water and submerge berries in the solution. Let the berries soak for at least a minute before you strain and rinse them with cold tap water.
After that, vent them dry and use a paper towel to absorb any remaining moisture on the surface. Now you can keep them in paper bags or cotton bags inside the refrigerator and expect them to last several weeks.
As you can see there are numerous ways of keeping food fresh. From buying fresh to the right storage techniques, everything helps to extend the lifespan of your produce. It’s also important to keep your refrigerator in optimum condition to extend the life of your produce. You can search for “refrigerator repair near me” and hire professionals for repairing and for routine maintenance of your refrigerator.