According to the National Resource Defense Council the average modern American family throws out between $1,000 and $2,200 in groceries each year That is approximately 470 pounds of food! With the continuous effort to eat healthier diets full of fruits and vegetables that means 25% off the wasted food is produce.
There are many ways we can help lessen waste and reduce our carbon footprint. One of the easiest ways to lessen waste is to learn how to properly store produce to ensure the longest shelf life.
Here are a few great tips on storing produce:
Do not store fruits and vegetables together
Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (a ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil the surrounding produce.
Refrigerate these ethylene releasers:
Do not refrigerate these ethylene releasers:
Keep these away from all ethylene releasers:
- Brussels sprouts
- Lettuce and other leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Before storing, remove rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave about an inch of the stems to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the vegetables in has some holes punctured to allow good airflow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer together they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens should be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.
Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, citrus, and berries will deteriorate if left out, and should be refrigerated. Bananas in particular ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.
Here is a chart that offers a quick reference for how long and where each type of produce can be stored:
Keep enjoying delicious and nutritious produce with these tips!