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1. Buy only what you need. When you run out of your favorite fruits and veggies, head to the store and restock. At home, keep an eye out for the fastest-spoiling foods, like artichokes, bananas, cherries, corn, green beans, mushrooms and strawberries. Be sure to eat them first.
Kitchendaily.com suggests wrapping bananas with plastic wrap at their stems to slow the ripening process. Also, add an apple to potatoes bagged in mesh to keep them from sprouting.
Download this produce storage chart from cleangreensiple.com and keep it handy.
2. Shop strategically. While most grocery store entrances lead right into the produce department, you should make it your last stop, not your first. By the time you trek around the entire store, foods like berries and broccoli can already start to deteriorate.
3. Don’t store fruits and vegetables together. Many fruits give off high levels of ethylene gas, and vegetables are sensitive to it. Putting the two together can make veggies spoil faster. Some gas-releasing fruits that should be refrigerated apart from veggies are apples, cantaloupe, honeydew and apricots.
4. Not everything should go in the fridge. Potatoes, onions, garlic and squash don’t need to be refrigerated. As long as you keep them in a cool, dark place, like a pantry or your basement, they should last for weeks.
5. Always store tomatoes at room temperature. Turn them stem-side down on your countertop and keep them out of the sun and away from the stove.
6. Wash fresh berries in a solution of one part white vinegar and three parts water. Be sure to dry berries before storing them in a sealed plastic or glass container.
7. Keep veggies at the bottom of the fridge where the temperature is coldest. Remove the tops of carrots, radishes and beets before refrigerating to help them retain moisture.
8. Don’t smother it. Fruits and vegetables need air to stay fresh, so storing them in closed containers or plastic bags will only make them spoil faster. If you’re storing produce in a plastic bag, be sure to perforate it first.
9. Leafy greens like lettuce, chard, kale and more should be washed, dried and wrapped loosely in paper towels and placed in a perforated plastic bag in a fridge drawer.
A 2013 National Resources Defense Council report states that the average American throws away about 25 percent of the food and beverages they purchase. (U.S. News)
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