A struggle I face on a weekly basis is trying to prevent tossing out my fruits and veggies that have either wilted or gotten moldy too soon. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be costly, especially if you’re buying organic – so I’ve started making a real effort to not just toss at first glance. Instead, I’ve been making a conscious effort to use wilted veggies like celery, spinach, and kale. But in order to prevent real waste I also needed to figure out a way to make my food last longer. So I came up with some pretty simple solutions. Below, check out these 5 easy ways to Make Your Food Last Longer and help prevent food waste.
Related Post: 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste
5 Easy Ways to Make Your Food Last Longer
- Store Your Berries Properly– The age-old dilemma of keeping your strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries from being tossed too soon is all too familiar to most of us. Make your berries last longer in the fridge by NOT cleaning them right away because moisture encourages mold growth. Store them in a clean glass container. Also, do not remove or cut off the stems of strawberries. If you get rid of any spoiled fruits before storing them, it will help prevent the rest from turning at a quicker rate. Store your fruits in the coldest part of your refrigerator- this is usually in the back.
- Know Which Veggies to Keep Separate- Some fruits and vegetables produce ethylene gas as they ripen. This gas will prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive to it so it’s important them separate from those that don’t. According to realsimple.com, the fruits and veggies that produce ethylene are: apricots, avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, kiwis, mangos, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes. The following fruits and veggies are ethylene sensitive and, therefore, should be kept separate: apples, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, green beans, lettuce and other greens, potatoes, summer squash, and watermelons.
- To Store in the Refrigerator or Not to Store in the Refrigerator – Keep potatoes, tomatoes, and onions in a cool dry place but NOT in the fridge. The cool temperature will ruin their flavors. Store unripe fruits and veggies like pears, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangos, apricots, avocados, melons, and bananas on the counter. Move them to the refrigerator once they have ripened. Never mind your banana turning brown on the outside- the inside will still be yummy.
- Revive Dried Out Veggies- Vegetables wilt when they dry out but that doesn’t mean it’s time to toss them. If you read my post from last week, 5 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste, then you know you can try using them in crockpot meals, stir fry meals, soups, or smoothies. You can also revive veggies like asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, celery, greens, zucchini, and even scallions by giving them an ice bath. Just fill a bowl with water and ice!
- Glass Versus Plastic Food Storage Containers- Glass is overall a safer option for storing food. You can reuse glass containers for a longer period because they don’t pose harmful risks to the environment or personal health. Plastic can potentially leak harmful chemicals when it comes into contact with food. If you do use plastic, never heat them and know the code on your food storage containers. The safest choices are 1, 2, 4, and 5. Other numbers may contain BPA (Bisphenol-A).
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Nearly 72 billion pounds of food is tossed every year according to feedingamerica.org. Make a change in your life to reduce your footprint. Start by joining the U.S. Food Waste Challenge and completing one of the forms below or join via participation in the EPA Food Recovery Challenge.
Do you know any other tricks to Make Your Food Last Longer? Share in the comments below.
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