Really want to get the most out of your veggies? Then don’t let them go to waste! Check out these six tips from the Culinary Literacy Center for keeping your produce fresher longer.
6. Frozen is just as good as fresh!
Did you know that the nutrient content in frozen or canned produce can be equal to and sometimes even greater than the nutrients found in fresh produce? Amazingly, frozen produce can increase the shelf life of fruit and veggies, which can typically last between 1-3 weeks when purchased fresh to 3-6 months when purchased frozen. In addition, frozen produce can either be thawed in advance or cooked frozen with little to no prep time. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive way to keep your fruits and veggies lasting longer, don’t count frozen out! For more information on frozen produce, read this great article that goes more in-depth on the "Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetable" debate.
5. Meal Plan!
In some instances, some fruits and veggies are better fresh, right? We all have our preferences... at the Culinary Literacy Center, we often create grocery lists based on recipes crafted for our programming needs. To help keep your produce fresher longer, we suggest creating a meal plan prior to grocery shopping. By creating a meal plan in advance, this will allow you to buy exactly what you need for when you need it. To help you get started meal planning, check out this guide to meal planning and prepping.
4. Everything does not go in the fridge!
Maybe you can relate... When I moved on my own and began shopping for myself, I would store all produce either in the fridge or in the freezer. According to the Farmers Almanac, some vegetables such as potatoes, onions, and some fruit such as pears or apples, are best kept unrefrigerated. Others, such as fresh herbs, can be kept on the counter in water or dried and stored. Read this great resource for more information on how to properly store produce.
3. One rotten apple can ruin the bunch!
Have you ever heard the saying "one rotten apple will ruin the bunch"? Well, it turns out, it’s not just a saying after all! Typically when mold or bacteria grow on food, it spreads. One of the best ways to keep food fresher longer is to thoroughly pick through your fresh produce as soon as possible. By removing the bad fruit or veggie from the bunch, it will ensure bacteria or mold do not spread to the others.
2. Do you know FAT TOM?
FAT TOM is a mnemonic device used in the food service industry to describe the six favorable conditions required for the growth of foodborne pathogens. It is an acronym for food, acidity, time, temperature, oxygen, and moisture. Bacteria can grow in our fridges given the right conditions. Bacteria can grow and spread at a rapid rate and can even cause our food to spoil. To ensure your produce stays fresher longer, follow these simple steps:
- Check your refrigerator temperature settings to make sure items are not too warm, to the point of spoiling or to cold, to the point of freezer burn.
- Make sure there isn’t water or liquid accumulated behind the drawers or at the bottom of the refrigerator. Keeping moisture low will deter bacteria growth.
- Store items in airtight storage containers to keep produce from wilting or drying out.
- Clean your refrigerator frequently. Throwing away old and moldy food is the best way to keep other foods fresh.
Want to keep bacteria from ruining your produce? Read about more information on FAT TOM.
1. Pickling and canning.
Though pickling and canning can sound like an arduous task, it can keep your fruit and veggies fresher longer. As a positive, home-canned or pickled items can be prepared in advance, stored for six months to a year, and can be used at will without further preparation. At the Culinary Literacy Center, we use pickling to teach science through food and would like you to try one of our favorite pickling recipes from our Nourishing Literacy Team. View this great guide to learn more about canning and pickling at home.
We would love to hear how these tips or others have worked for you! Don't forget to share your results in the comments!