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Tips to maximize produce shelf life


Article by Dr. Layla Sade

Photography by Layla Sade

Summer is in full swing and that means the shelves are full of fresh and nutritious produce but many consumers hesitate to buy fresh produce out of fear of having it go bad in their refrigerator or on the counter.

These are some simple tips for extending the life of your fresh produce at home.

Tips for storing fresh produce:

  1. Avocados: These green gems can be tricky. To get the most out of your avocado, let it ripen on the counter until it reaches the ripeness you are looking for, then move it to the fridge to slow the ripening process. If you are only using part of an avocado, put the other half back in the fridge in an air-tight bag.
  2. Potatoes: Your favorite spuds like a cool, dry place out of the light to hang out. Also, keep them away from onions and certain fruit like bananas and tomatoes.
  3. Dark Leafy Greens: Keep these green nutrition giants in the fridge. If your leaves do not come pre-washed, make sure you are washing and drying them properly. For the best results, soak and stir them in cold water for about 5 minutes, then dry them out in a salad spinner. It is also important to note that leafy greens are some of the vegetables that are most susceptible to ethylene gas and can wilt easily when stored near the wrong fruit.
  4. Berries: These colorful little nuggets can be quite delicate and generally do not like being wet. So, if you are washing your berries before you store them, make sure to wash them in a good strainer and then spread them out onto a paper towel to dry. When storing in the fridge, it is best to store them in a container with a draining platform, so that they do not sit in any liquid that might settle out of them.
  5. Fresh Herbs: How to properly store herbs is really dependent on the type you are bringing home. For more tender herbs, like your cilantro and parsley, it is best to trim about an inch of the stems and put them in a glass of water and cover the top with a loose plastic bag. Then store that whole thing in the fridge. Hardier herbs, like your rosemary and thyme, can be wrapped in a damp paper towel and kept in a plastic bag in the fridge. The standout is basil, which you can store on your counter in water, just like a flower bouquet.

Happy eating!

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