Home gardens and farmers markets are treating us to an abundance of fruits and vegetables and the last thing we want is for them to go bad in our refrigerator or pantry before we’ve had a chance to enjoy all their local deliciousness.
Who hasn’t experienced the disappointment of anticipating that perfect peach, tomato or basket of berries only to seek it out and find you missed the window and now it was only good for the garbage or compost pile?
Don’t let it happen again. All fruits and vegetables are good for you, but when it comes to storing them, they should not all be treated the same. Here are some tips on storing your favorite produce so you can enjoy it and its nutrients before it goes bad.
How to store loose-leaf lettuce or greens
Loose leaf lettuce and other loose greens should be washed then dried as much as possible. A store-bought salad spinner is great for this, or you can create a makeshift one with a pillow case. Once they’re as dry as possible, store them in container that allows some air flow with a sheet of paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
How to store berries
Store your berries in the refrigerator using the container they came in because it’s usually breathable. Only wash them just before using or eating.
How to store corn on the cob
Corn on the cob is best within three days after harvest. It’s still good after that, of course, but the sooner you eat it the better. The high sugar content in sweet corn starts turning to plain old starch the longer it sits off the stalk—especially if it’s not kept cold.
If the husks are still on, leave them on – at least a few leaves anyway – to help prevent the kernels from drying out. Store your corn in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or on ice in a cooler. It should keep fresh and tasty for a few days after you buy it.
How to store winter squash
Acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash and hard squashes are similar to potatoes in that they like a cool, dark place, but not too cool. They keep best at around 50 degrees F or 10 degrees C. If you’re using a root cellar, choose the warmest section of it for your squash.
How to store asparagus
Asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a moist paper towel. Or you can stand them up in a glass of cold water—like flowers—while wrapped with a damp paper towel.
How to store potatoes
Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place that’s not at risk of freezing. A root cellar, of course, is ideal for this. But you can also consider a spot in an unheated garage or basement closet. If your options are limited, just do the best you can to keep them away from heat sources like the oven or on top of the refrigerator.
And they need to breathe. Get rid of any plastic and transfer them to a mesh bag, a basket or an open paper bag.
How to store tomatoes
Tomatoes should be kept in a cool place, but not refrigerated. The ideal temp is around 55 degrees F or 13 degrees C. Any colder and their texture and flavor go downhill.
If they’re about to go bad, the fridge will slow the process. Just bring them up to room temperature before you slice and dice.
How to store avocados
When unripe, store in a cool dark place (but not with your potatoes, they don’t get along). Once they are ripe—where the flesh gives way to gentle pushing and the stem is easily removed, they can go in the refrigerator.
They should keep for one to two weeks. (If you’re an avocado aficionado, you know the sooner you use them the better. They can be fine one minute and brown mush the next.)
How to store peaches
If your peaches are not quite ripened to perfection, leave them on the counter or closed in a paper bag to finish the job. Once they’ve ripened to your satisfaction, you can keep them in the fridge.
How to store lemons
When it comes to lemons, if you want their pop of color in your pretty fruit bowl, you’ll be sacrificing their juice for their beauty.
Studies have been done and the best way to maintain their juiciness for the longest amount of time is to keep them in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator.
The quicker the better
The best tip for keeping your produce fresh and nutrient-filled is to eat them as soon as possible. Afterall, the World Health Organization recommends 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every single day and what better way to achieve that than with farm-fresh produce!
And you can always support your diet with plant-based nutritional supplements, like Nutrilite™ Double X™ Vitamin/Mineral/Phytonutrient Supplement, which has 22 plant concentrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. Learn more at Amway.com.