Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad


Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad

These simple suggestions for preserving fruit and vegetables will help you feel less guilty and wasteful.

You must keep produce fresh in order to consume it and benefit from it!

It has to be the produce section if there's one place where good intentions don't always result in perfect results. You may already be aware that fruits and vegetables are healthy for you and can help fend off diseases like obesity and heart disease, according to previous research. 

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 90% of Americans don't consume enough produce.

Though, you don't intend to become a statistic. However, by chance, you might be — just a different kind. One study found that American families discard about one-fourth of the food and beverages they purchase. About 22% of that is made up of fruits and vegetables, and another 8% is made up of processed produce.

Start the guilt.

Prepare to change now for the betterment of both the environment and your health. The report claims that lack of knowledge about proper storage practices, which causes food to spoil, is one of the main causes of food waste.

Six foods that frequently end up in the grocery store to trash are listed below, along with advice on how to keep them fresh long enough to consume rather than throw away.


Here are Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad


1. Problem: Rubbery Celery

Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad

Wrap in aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator.

One of those vegetables, celery, can quickly go from crisp and crunchy to rubbery and tasteless, but by taking a few extra minutes to store it properly, you can extend its life.

The stalks should be separated, cleaned, and dried before being wrapped in aluminum foil with a tiny opening. According to Nasar, this prevents the majority of air and moisture from entering while still allowing the ethylene gas to escape (as opposed to a plastic bag, which traps it in). This delays the ripening process and keeps the vegetable fresh for up to a few weeks.


2. Problem: Limp Lettuce

Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad

Place a towel on the bottom of the crisper drawer in your refrigerator.

With the intention of serving up wholesome, light salads, we all grab large heads of leaf lettuce, but after a few days, those once-crisp leaves start to turn limp and soggy. Put paper towels in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator to keep leafy greens and other produce fresh. Nasar adds that using washable terry-cloth towels is an additional, more environmentally friendly choice.

The majority of fruits and vegetables lose their crisp texture and begin to soften and spoil when exposed to moisture in the refrigerator. Fresh produce will stay crunchy for a longer period of time if your fridge's vegetable drawer is lined. This will absorb extra moisture.

Likewise, line the plastic containers that greens are frequently sold in with paper towels. Regardless of the towel you choose, Nasar advises switching it out every week because, if left in the drawer for too long, it will begin to become damp and pose a mold risk.


3. Problem: Slimy Mushrooms

Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad

Keep them in a paper bag rather than a plastic one as a solution.

Nothing is more revolting than reaching into the vegetable and pulling out a slimy, mushy mess. Mushrooms are a delicious, hearty ingredient to use in everything from a chopped salad and a morning omelet to a stir-fry.

It all comes down to how you store them—keeping them as fresh and meaty as possible. Many of us use plastic bags when bringing home vegetables, but when it comes to mushrooms, paper bags are the way to go. Paper allows the vegetable to breathe and for moisture to escape, slowing the rate at which they start to decompose, according to Nasar. 

Plastic traps in moisture, which causes mushrooms to mildew.

If you don't have any paper bags on hand, Nasar advises storing mushrooms in their original containers and covering them with plastic wrap that has holes punched in it to improve air circulation. For morel mushrooms, specifically, ensure they are stored in a breathable container, such as a paper bag, in a cool, dry place to maintain their delicate flavor and texture.  You can also learn more ways on how to store morel mushrooms for longer period to extend your enjoyment of their distinctive taste.


4. Problem: Moldy Berries

Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad

Briefly soak in hot water, then dry before cooling.

Berries are an expensive investment, especially in the winter, so it's crucial to make sure you aren't throwing any away. You want to make the most of these sweet treats even in the summer when they are in high demand. Despite the fact that some people soak berries in vinegar, Nasar claims that this is not necessary and can still leave a taste after being rinsed. According to research, simply giving the berries a hot water bath for 12 seconds will prevent mold from growing.

Janilyn Hutchings, a certified food safety professional and food scientist at State Food Safety, a food safety certification and training program for the hospitality industry with offices in Orem, Utah, adds that completely drying berries before storing them in the refrigerator is another crucial step. By doing so, she says, you can avoid the growth of mold and keep your berries fresher for longer in the refrigerator.


5. Problem: Mushy Bananas

Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad

Hang them up as a fix.

According to Frontiers for Young Minds, a small number of fruits release ethylene gas as they ripen. Bananas are one of these fruits. According to dietitian Bonnie Nasar, RDN, of Eatontown, New Jersey, some people swear by covering the tops of bananas in plastic wrap to lower the amount of ethylene released, but this doesn't actually address the problem.

Since ethylene is produced all over the banana, not just in the stem, she claims that covering just the stem won't stop the banana from ripening. The best way to store them, in my opinion, is on a banana hook, where there is good airflow all around the bananas.

This reduces the concentration of ethylene that would occur, for instance, if you stored them in a bowl, in that area. According to Nasar, storing bananas separately in this manner separates them from other fruit and vegetables, which delays the ripening of those items as well.


6. Problem: Sprouting Potatoes

Six Tips to Prevent Produce from Going Bad

Organize in a dry, cool environment

On hectic weekdays, a large bag of russet potatoes can come in very handy. The family can be quickly fed by quickly preparing the starchy vegetable into baked potatoes, french fries, or morning hash browns. Having a big bag on hand has the drawback that potatoes kept for a long time start to sprout. Because sunlight and moisture promote sprouting, keep your potatoes in a cool, dry place until you're ready to eat them.

The addition of an apple to the potatoes is another common trick, but Boston-based Erin Kenney, RD, advises against it because apples and bananas both release ethylene, which can promote sprouting.

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