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How to keep your fresh produce FRESH

Vegetables are a key component of a nutritionally rich and diverse diet. Unfortunately, much of the fresh produce bought daily ends up spoiling and being lost before use. Knowing a few of these simple tricks will ensure that you keep your veggies fresh for longer, saving you the frustration of wastage, as well as a few shopping trips.


Store your vegetables in their happy places

Not all vegetables are the same, so there isn’t a blanket storage method that works best. Some like it where its dark and dry, while others need a lot of moisture.

Cool, dry, and dark 

This would be away from light, heat, and moisture to avoid sprouting – a pantry or cupboard is the perfect place for these foods: 

  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Butternut 
  • Potaotes (including yams and sweet potatoes) 

Potaotes tend to sprout faster when in contact with onions, as these release moisture when stored. Sprouted potaotes have shown to contain glycoalkaloids, which can be toxic to humans, so keep your onions and potaotes separate!

In the fridge 

Most vegetables can live in the fridge as soon as you bring them home. Some just require a little extra care to lock in that freshness…

  • Broccoli and cauliflower heads can be stored loosely in a plastic bag (they should last for up to a week). Alternatively, you can break them up into florets to freeze for later. Broccoli and cauliflower can keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. 
  • Carrots, parsnips, beets, and radishes last quite long when just wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge. They can stay there and fresh for about 2 weeks.
  • Greens like kale and spinach can easily spoil if they get too moist, so wrap them in a paper towel and pop them in a resealable bag in the fridge. Alternatively, you can freeze them. To do this properly, start by rinsing them thoroughly, then giving them a quick blanch by submerging them in boiling water for about a minute. Pull them out with tongs, and dunk them in some ice water before freezing. Blanching greens before freezing is important, as it stops enzyme activity that can dull the flavour and texture, and removes any dirt or organisms. Once frozen, they are perfect for stews, soups, and smoothies. 
  • Cabbage, both red and green, is one of the easiest veggies to store. Keep it in the fridge, whole and unrinsed, until you are ready to use it. Cabbage loses vitamin C as soon as it is cut, which leads to faster spoilage. Wrapping it in some eco-friendly cling wrap will maintain its crunch for longer and can keep it fresh for up to 2 weeks.
  • Zucchini can be stored in a silicone bag with one end open. This can stretch its life to about 5 days. To freeze zucchini, slice and blanch it as with kale and spinach. Frozen zucchini is an excellent, creamy component in smoothies for those who don’t like bananas. Use frozen zucchini within 3 months (extra tip: stick a label onto the bag or container you use to store your freezer veggies with the date of freezing to make things easier to track). 
  • Stalks like celery lose their moisture very quickly. To ensure that you don’t lose its crisp, store your celery submerged in water in a sealed container. Like a mermaid, celery is happiest in the water! 
  • Mushrooms, on the other hand, contain a lot of moisture. If they don’t have room to breathe, they can get quite slimy. It is best to place mushrooms in a paper bag which is breathable before storing in the fridge. 

Out in the open

Most fruit can stay in a bowl on the counter. Since tomatoes are actually a fruit and not a vegetable, they too are best kept out. The fridge can actually cause the texture to go a bit grainy which isn’t favourable for salads and fresh dishes.


Separate fruits and vegetables

Many fruits release a gas called ethylene, which can accelerate the ripening of fruits and vegetables in contact or near them. While ripening may be what you want with fruit, for vegetables, it is not good news. Ethylene can lead to spoilage through spotting, wilting, and yellowing. To avoid this, be sure to store your fruit and vegetables apart from each other.


Abstain from premature chopping where possible 

Cut or chopped vegetables lose some of their nutritional value, which in turn shortens their lifespan. Where possible, avoid chopping your veg before you need it. If time is an issue, give your chopped veggies a dip in cold water and freeze them, rather than just storing them in the fridge; this will help prolong their lifespan.


Plan your meals 

While these tips will certainly help to keep things fresh, it is equally important to plan your meals out each week. This will help you evade postponing eating your vegtables for too long after you have bought them.


Buy fresh

Buying vegetables that are as fresh as can be already ensures a longer shelf-life than those that have endured a long journey to get to your plate. Fresher vegetables won’t require as much effort to keep from spoilage. Farmer’s markets are a great place to find vegetables that would likely have been in the ground the day before.

Good Eats partners with local farmers to get vegetables straight to your door within a day of harvesting. Our veggies can last an extra 2 to 3 days in the fridge, simply because they are not kept in a storage facility before being delivered to you!

Have fun eating the rainbow with these tips to keep your veggies fresh for longer!

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