These Unusual Hacks Will Keep Your Produce Fresh For Longer
Okay, we’ll admit it. We’re produce junkies. Give us all the fruits, and give us all the vegetables. We make mean smoothies, stir fries, and one heck of a fruit tart.
If you’re like us in that your love for fresh fruit and veg runs deep, then you’ll know the strife of watching your fresh produce turn brown and mushy. Determined to fight the signs of aging produce, we scoured the internet and looked for some of the best methods to keep our fresh foods ripe and delicious for longer.
And although these hacks may be a bit unusual, they definitely work and will keep your fruits and veggies fresh so you can get your money’s worth.
If you have any tried-and-true produce hacks that you’d like to pass on, we greatly appreciate all the help we can get. Keeping a larder of fresh produce isn’t cheap, and seeing our goods go bad is always a punch in the gut — and the wallet. Let’s help each other out, and pass on the good word.
Because everyone deserves to have fresh ingredients to make a killer salad, delicious veggie casserole, and/or a perfect berry pie/sweet calzone, right?
1. Wrap celery in aluminum foil
There’s truly nothing worse than limp celery.
If it doesn’t have that crunch, what is celery good for?
According to the Just A Little Nutty blog, wrapping the entire bunch of celery in aluminum foil keeps it crisp and crunchy.
What’s more is that this hack even works for washed celery, too.
Although you should try to keep your produce unwashed if you’re intending to keep it in the fridge, Just A Little Nutty realized that the aluminum foil trick doesn’t discriminate.
Washed, or unwashed, it still keeps celery crunchy.
Your ants on a log (ahem…or Bloody Marys) just got a lot better.
2. Potatoes are happiest in a paper shopping bag
Don’t recycle that Trader Joe’s bag just yet. Your potatoes may want to move in.
Potatoes like dark, ventilated containers
This is what celebrity chef Sarah Moulton says, hence why potatoes are shipped in breathable burlap sacks. But understandably, when you buy potatoes in bulk at the store, you won’t want to keep them in the plastic netting they’re often sold in.
So, instead, transfer them straight into your paper shopping bag.
If you’ve banned paper bags from your home, you can alternatively store potatoes in cardboard boxes or even wicker containers. And potatoes should always be kept away from sunlight, in the coolest part of your kitchen (that’s not the fridge).
And potatoes like the company of apples, BTW.
According to designer Jihyun Ryou, per LifeHacker, the ethylene gas produced by apples prevents potatoes from sprouting. And this theory has been proven true by at-home chefs and America’s Test Kitchen alike.
Like bananas, apples can cause other fruits and veggies to ripen too quickly.
Therefore, being able to store them in an area where their ethylene gas is put to good use makes both apple’s fellow produce and potatoes happy.
Happy produce means happy life, as the saying goes…we think?
3. Place your asparagus in a flower vase.
Or in a large beer stein, mason jar, etc. Hear us out on this one.
The vessel just needs to be tall enough to ensure the bunch won’t topple over.
According to TheKitchn.com, the best way to preserve your fresh bundle of asparagus is shockingly similar to how you prepare a bouquet of flowers for display.
You’ll want to trim off about an inch from the bottom of the asparagus stalks.
Then, place the bunch into a vase filled with about and inch or two of water. See? This seems pretty familiar, right?
You have asparagus that lasts a lot longer than it would in a plastic bag in your produce drawer.
Loosely cover the heads of the asparagus with a plastic bag and place the entire contraption in the fridge.
If you stay on top of replacing the water in the vase, you can keep your asparagus fresh for up to a week. (This method works for keeping basil fresh, too!)
4. Give your berries a vinegar-and-water bath.
Berries and vinegar sounds like a combination made in hell. But if you aren’t going to eat them all in one sitting, you’re going to want to rinse them with this concoction.
But actually, dousing your fresh berries in a vinegar-and-water solution will help them stay fresh.
Food52 recommends mixing one cup of vinegar with three cups of water. Then, give your berries a quick dunk and remove them with a colander. Then, feel free to rinse them with cold water to ensure you won’t taste the vinegar.
The key to success here is to dry the berries properly.
Lingering moisture can make this entire process null and void. Use your salad spinner, lined with paper towels, to dry the berries off before placing them storage.
And when storing them, line the container with another dry paper towel to soak up any excess water.
5. Keep a dry paper towel in your bag of lettuce.
We are all too familiar with opening a bag of lettuce one day and having it go bad by the next.
It’s frustrating, smelly, and a waste of money.
Luckily, there’s a way to cheat the spoiling cycle. When you open your bag of pre-washed lettuce, place a dry paper towel into the bag before returning it to the refrigerator.
The paper towel will soak up the excess moisture that causes spoilage.
This will keep your lettuce fresher for a longer period of time. Who else is going to start meal-prepping with this produce hack?
If you buy your lettuce by the head, you can use the same method.
Wash your lettuce leaves and place them in a plastic bag with a dry paper towel. Replace the paper towel when it becomes soaked to ensure ultimate freshness.
6. Some herbs like to stay cool, not cold.
Keeping your basil, cilantro, and parsley in a small vase, like one does with asparagus, is great. However, this method doesn’t work for all herbs.
Rosemary, thyme, and chives prefer to be loosely wrapped in plastic and placed in the warmest part of the refrigerator.
The loose wrap keeps moisture from settling on the herbs and producing mold.
Again, adding a paper towel to the storage system will also wick moisture away from the herbs.
Just make sure to stay on top of replacing the paper towel as often as needed.
7. Wrap your avocados in newspaper.
Print isn’t dead, people. Your avocados still appreciate the daily paper.
According to BrightSide.com, unripened avocados will brown faster with this hack.
Simply place your avocados in a dark, ventilated environment. This presents the perfect opportunity to reuse your newspaper. Nothing wrong with being a little eco-friendly in the kitchen!
Wrap your unripe avocado in newspaper and leave it on the counter to ripen.
While it does so, it will also educate itself on the goings-on in your area.
Then, when it’s ripe, recycle the newspaper and talk politics with your avocado before preparing it for breakfast. Or maybe just add the avocado to your toast or omelette. Your choice.
8. Put plastic around the stems of your bananas.
One bananas turn ripe, it’s a race against the clock to eat them all before they go brown. Or make delicious banana bread.
Luckily, we shared a super simple hack with you to keep your bananas yellow for extended periods of time.
Simply detach each bananas from the bunch and individually wrap the stems in plastic wrap, tinfoil, or even recycled plastic bags.
This will thwart the escape of ethylene gas, therefore slowing the ripening process of both the bananas and the fruit in their vicinity.
And separating the bananas ahead of time makes it easy to grab one on the go.