Do you shop and bring home lots of healthy produce, only to find after just a few days in the refrigerator, it's moldy, mushy or brown? Yep, been there, done that... It's sad to see hard earned cash go into the trash, not to mention our attempts to eat more nutritious fruits and vegetables.
I've done some produce posts 3 and 4 years ago, so I thought it was time to do an update, since I doubt the recommendations for eating more produce, and less of everything else, is going to go away anytime soon. As much as I'd love to see pizza and ice-cream on that recommended list! 😛
3 years ago, I did a little home experiment.
I purchased 3 packages of strawberries from the grocery store. With one package, I did nothing except store it in the refrigerator. For one of the other packages, I rinsed the strawberries in plain water, and the other package of berries, I rinsed in a vinegar/water solution, of ten parts water to one part vinegar.
*Just a tip, don't eat strawberries right out of the container without washing them, the rinse water was filthy!
After draining/drying them on a towel, I put all of the strawberries in the produce bin in my refrigerator, and checked my results after 11 days.
My results were: Both of the groups of rinsed strawberries did better than the non rinsed ones. The rinsed ones, whether rinsed in plain water or the vinegar/water solution, stayed fresher than the ones that I didn't clean.
Between the two rinsed groups the difference wasn't much at all.
*Incidentally, this was probably the longest I've ever had strawberries last.
At my house, there's ALWAYS a bag of baby carrots in the fridge. It makes for a quick and easy vegetable that my kids will eat, and often rounds out a meal light on veggies.
I've noticed though, that most of the time when I open a bag of them, they are soaking wet, which makes them slimy, the longer they sit in the bag...not very appetizing, I agree.
Soooo, I like to take them out of the bag, and rinse them very well with water, and then lay them out to drain on a clean kitchen towel. Sometimes I wrap them up a little in the towel, and "wring them out," to get off even more excess water.
Then I put them in a zip top bag, with a folded paper towel to catch any remaining moisture. This helps my carrots to stay drier, and not go bad too quickly.
When I find a good sale on blueberries, I love to stock up. So I can use them year round, I rinse and dry them, and then stick them in the freezer, where they can stay nice till I need them for a recipe.
A recipe like this SCRUMPTIOUS Blueberry Coffee Cake!
Apples are another staple around our house, and even though I homeschool, there are still lots of times I like to wash and slice up apples for a car trip.
This was another one of my little experiments from a few years ago:
I took washed and sliced apples, and with one bunch I did nothing with, except put them in a baggie. Another bunch I dipped in 7 Up, drained them for a minute, and then put them in another baggie.
The final group of washed and sliced apples, I dipped in orange juice, drained them on a towel, and put them in a baggie.
When I checked my results several hours later, you can see how unappetizing and brown the first group is where I did nothing. Between the 7 Up and the orange juice, the orange juice seemed to preserve them the best, and as a mom, I'd feel less guilty about soaking my kids' apples in orange juice, than in 7 Up...
Lately I've seen another tip floating around on the internet, for how to keep apples fresh for lunch, so I gave it a test: I rinsed off the outside of the apple well, and then sliced it down in wedges, leaving a little apple skin attached at the bottom to help hold it together.
Then I "put my apple back together again," and slipped a rubber band around it, to hold it together. The theory is that it will keep the air out, and thus keep the apple from turning brown. After 3 hours and 40 minutes in a zip top bag, the apple wedges looked all brown and very unappetizing... Soooo, unless I didn't do it right, this did not work for me. (The apples in the picture don't look as bad as they really did; they seemed much browner in person).
In one of my previous posts, readers left comments with their personal tips on how to keep produce fresh longer:
" I rinse strawberries, grapes, blueberries and they seem to last for what feels like forever. I use apple cider vinegar."
"I like to keep pear slices fresh with lime juice!"
"I use lemon juice (on apples) and they don’t turn brown at all."
"Squeezing some lemon into a bowl of water works just as good… It’s much cheaper!"
So there you go, what do you think? Do you have any tips you'd like to share in the comments? I'd love to hear them!
Here's a few recipes to use that fresh produce!
Hope you enjoy!