How to Extend the Freshness Life of Your Produce

Every once in a while something shows up on Buzzfeed that’s definitely worth passing on. This time the topic is ways to make your produce last longer, thus saving you money. So just in case you haven’t heard about or seen these ideas yet, here you go.

You can actually slow down the ripening process of your bananas. (Good deal! Mine always ripen sooner than I can use them, and no one around here likes heavily spotted bananas.) All you need is plastic wrap. Just follow these easy steps:

  • Cut a long, thin strip of plastic wrap.

  • Wrap it around the crown of the banana bunch.

  • Store them on the counter top.

You can extend the freshness life of your berries. Isn’t it annoying how quickly they can get mushy or rot? Well no more premature berry loss with this trick. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of white or apple cider vinegar with 5 cups of water. Mix thoroughly. Place your berries into the vinegar water gently swish the fruit around for 2 or 3 minutes. Then drain them well and spread them out onto a clean dish towel or paper towels so they can completely dry. Then gently place them in a jar large enough to hold them and store them in the fridge.

AND, you can extend the life freshness life of your salad greens, as well. You’ll need paper towels, plastic wrap, and a container for storage. With just these four steps you can make them last longer:

  • Wash and dry your greens thoroughly, then place them in a bowl.

  • Layer paper towel on top of your greens, then seal tightly with plastic wrap or in a plastic bag.

  • Store in the refrigerator.

  • Replace the paper towel throughout the week as it becomes damp (it's absorbing moisture from the greens!).

ALSO, you can extend the freshness life of broccoli and celery. No complicated process here. You just tightly wrap bunches of each vegetable in aluminum foil and then store them in the fridge. Not sure why foil is more effective than plastic wrap at preserving their freshness, but this truly works.

AND you can extend the freshness life of your cilantro, parsley, and asparagus. You only need wide-mouthed jars or containers that are at least 4 or 5 inches tall. Here’s what you do:

  • Trim 1 inch off the bottom of the stem of the asparagus or herbs.

  • Fill your wide mouth jar or container with 2 inches of cool, filtered water and place the asparagus and or herbs in each jar.

  • Cover the jar(s) with a plastic bag and store in the fridge.

They’ll keep fresh and tasty this way for at least a week. Just be sure to check them occasionally and freshen the water, as needed.

Finally, you can extend the freshness life of your cauliflower. Take out of package it came in and cut it in chunks. Remove the stems and leaves. Wash it in a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water for 2 or 3 minutes. Rinse it slightly. Dry the cauliflower completely and wrap it all in paper towels and store this in a plastic bag. You’ll need to change out the paper towels if they become moist.

When you’re ready to use the cauliflower, take out what you need and rinse it well under cold water.

You can see that the common thread through all these tips is TIME. Extending the freshness life of produce means we’ll need to take a little extra time to prep it before plopping it in the fridge. Old habits can die hard, but let’s try these ideas out and see if they don’t “pay off” in the long run.


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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