If you are constantly throwing out fruit and vegetables because they’ve gone off, it might mean that you are not storing them correctly. There’s nothing more frustrating than planning to make a salad only to find that your lettuce is already wilted. Properly storing your healthy food to make it last longer is essential knowledge for everyone. Here are some food hacks for storing your fruits, vegetables and dairy and keeping them fresh for longer.
1. Never wash produce before refrigeration
If you rinse your fruit and veggies before putting them in the fridge, they will spoil more quickly. Instead, wash the produce just before eating. If you do want to put fruit or vegetables back in the refrigerator after washing, first dry them thoroughly with a paper towel. For berries, you can wash them in a 1:3 vinegar to water ratio solution and then dry them before placing them in the refrigerator. This has the effect of attacking bacteria and mold spores and actually increases their shelf life.
2. Separate leaves from stems
Before storing your vegetables, remove any ties or rubber bands and trim the leafy ends. The leafy ends steal vital nutrients from the rest of the vegetable. Leafy greens stay freshest when you separate the leaf from the stem. If the vegetables are in a bag, puncture the bag with some small holes for good air flow. Then pack them loosely together in the refrigerator. If they are too close, they will rot more quickly.
3. Avoid storing fruit and vegetables together
Maybe you’ve noticed that putting a banana next to other produces makes the other items ripen more quickly. This is because the chemical ethylene that is emitted by many fruits causes premature ripening of other fruits and vegetables. Keep fruits and veggies separated in their own areas on the counter or in their own drawers in the refrigerator.
4. Keep milk in a glass bottle
Instead of cardboard containers or plastic gallon jugs, transfer your milk to an old fashioned glass bottle. Glass bottles seal better than other containers and also keep the milk colder. Never store milk in the door of the refrigerator because it is too far away from the cooling element.
5. Store cheese with a little vinegar to prevent mold
If you don’t want to purchase a cheese cloth, there is another simple way with materials already in your kitchen to keep cheese fresh. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp vinegar over a paper towel until it is lightly dampened. Then store the cheese in a plastic ziploc bag in the refrigerator. The vinegar will not change the taste of your fromage, and you will be relieved from moldy bits forming.