Ways To Conserve Left Over Food Stuff

We’ve all been there: Loading up a cart full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and greens with high hopes of a healthy, salad-filled week ahead. But then you needed to treat yourself to takeaway after a hard day’s work. Or you saw that bag of pasta from Trader Joe’s stashed in your freezer and all the memories of vegetables left your brain. All too soon, your once-crispy fresh produce is now brown, limp, and oozing some kind of weird liquid.

If this sounds too familiar to you, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. Sure, part of the problem comes down to meal planning, but sometimes life gets in the way. Fortunately, there are tons of hacks that can help keep your produce fresher, longer. If you’re sick of throwing out fruits and vegetables week after week, here are the tricks you need to know:

Wait To Wash Your Produce Until You Are Ready To Eat It

I know you’ve seen those refrigerator storage videos of people unpacking their groceries, washing all the produce, and carefully placing it in aesthetically pleasing containers. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: all those products will spoil very quickly. This is because pre-washing your produce adds excess moisture which could cause it to spoil faster. Also, you’ll probably want to rinse it again before eating it anyway to kill any germs in the fridge, so you might as well save some water and skip the pre-rinse.

Store Your Products Properly

If you come home from the supermarket and immediately throw everything in the fridge, you may be doing it wrong. Some fruits and vegetables need to be kept cold, while others are best kept at room temperature, and it’s important to know the difference. Tomatoes, for example, will spoil quickly if stored in the refrigerator. In general, fruits that ripen over time (such as bananas, melons, avocados, and peaches) are good on the counter until ripe, then they should be stored in the refrigerator.

Use The Drawers Of Your Fridge Correctly

Most refrigerators have what are called crisper drawers, usually one for fruit and one for vegetables. They are separated because vegetables tend to prefer high humidity, while most fruits do best in low humidity. These drawers are usually marked accordingly, but if not, make sure the drawer you store your vegetables in is properly closed. You can keep your fruit crate slightly ajar to reduce humidity inside.

Put A Paper Towel With Your Vegetables

If you’re tired of taking your spinach on its weekly trip from the fridge to the dump, this produce hack is for you. The next time you buy a plastic container of vegetables, open the lid and place a few paper towels on top. (If you buy bagged vegetables, empty them into a separate container, then add the paper towels.) Replace the lid, turn the container upside down and store like this in the refrigerator. The paper towels will absorb moisture and help keep the vegetables fresh. Bonus Tip: You can also use paper towels to keep your fresh berries from going mushy too soon!

Freeze Fresh Herbs In Oil

Herbs are a great way to add flavor and freshness to your meals, but it always seems impossible to use them all before they go bad. Instead of waiting for that extra basil to inevitably get lost in your fridge, freeze it in oil so you can use it later. All you have to do is chop the herbs, place them in an ice cube tray, cover with olive oil, and pop them in the freezer. Later, you can use your frozen herb cubes to flavor sauces, soups, pasta dishes, and more.

Cover The Banana Stems With Aluminum Foil

Bananas can go from green to brown and mushy in a matter of days. If you’re not looking to whip up some banana bread, you can keep your bananas fresher by covering the stem with a small piece of aluminum foil. This trick works thanks to a little thing called ethylene, also known as the gas that fruits give off as they ripen. By keeping it contained, you can slow down the ripening process. If your bananas still browned faster than you wanted, peel, slice and freeze, you can use them for smoothies!

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