It seems I am seeing a lot of products to place in your produce drawer or to put produce in to make it stay fresh for a longer period of time. Being thrifty by nature (OK, I am cheap – 😉 – so blame it on my genes) I have always had a problem tossing the last few shriveled up mushrooms into the trash.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN published a report in 2011 on food waste, and it is no surprise that fruits and vegetables top the list. Indeed, I found many statistics regarding waste and did my own informal average of the reputable ones. I came up with 17% waste – we literally toss on the average 17% of the food we buy. The average cost per American household came to $750.00.
One day it actually occurred to me to google it – I came up with this list of tips:
- Never store in air tight containers – they need air to breathe, like us.
- It is best to store unwashed until use. If you must wash produce ahead of time, store with a paper towel
- Wrap celery in aluminum foil with a paper towel to absorb moisture
- Store blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in a single layer, if possible. Second best is in a container with a colander built in that does not close too tightly.
- Store leafy greens separately
- Apples, bananas, and tomatoes do not need to be refrigerated if eaten within 7 days.
- Place mushrooms in a brown paper bag on a shelf in your refrigerator – the bag will absorb moisture. Dried mushrooms can be rejuvenated if soaked in water, or added to sauces.
- Fruit that releases ethylene gas must be stored separately:
- When in doubt, think of how it is stored at the grocery store, and do the same at home.
- Shop the produce section last and keep produce at as low a temperature as possible
- Eat all the perishables within one week of purchase
And speaking of bananas, do you know how to open a banana like the monkeys do? You hold it upside down and squeeze the very bottom. No struggles. It pops open so easily that even I can do it!