Give those tomatoes and cucumbers a fighting chance! Keep veggies and fruit fresher, longer.
This weekend I opened up my fridge and found a crime scene: the fruits and veggies I bought a few days ago had been murdered, rotten before their time and after intense investigation (not really) I figured out that the criminal is me! And the worst part of this is that I commit this crime every single week. That’s right; I am a serial veggie and fruit killer!
After each weekly trip to the grocery store, I randomly toss my tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, pears etc. into the fridge without any thought as to how long they will last just lying there on a shelf. And about a week later, I am forced to chuck these once young, nutritious and fresh grocery items into the trash.
And of course this isn’t the only crime I’m committing…I’m also guilty of throwing money away too…which is a cardinal sin in this house! With every toss of that soggy uneaten cucumber and deflated tomato into the garbage, I am literally throwing away my hard-earned cash!
So this week I decided I would come clean with my crimes and repent my sins by figuring out ways to keep my fruits and veggies fresher longer, thereby stopping the madness of also throwing money in the garbage. I’ve always known that there are ways to do this but just never took the time to actually research and find out how. I hope these tips I found will help you cleanse you of your sins as well as fatten your wallet!
1. Put your veggies in the crisper, not on the fridge shelf: Turns out that your fridge has various temperatures which are meant to keep certain foods in certain spots. For instance, the coldest part of your fridge is the top and middle shelves while the crispers are the warmest part, with a more humid environment in order to keep your veggies with the highest water content fresher.
Here’s what you should keep in your crispers: artichokes, asparagus (after trimming the ends and placing upright in shallow cool water, then covering with plastic), beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chiles, cucumbers, eggplant, fresh herbs, green beans, leafy greens, leeks, lettuce (after washing and drying, rolling loosely in a clean kitchen towel inside an unzipped zip-lock bag), mushrooms, peppers, radishes, scallions, summer squash, turnips, zucchini. DO NOT PUT: potatoes, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, yams or squash in the fridge…store them in a dark and cool place like the pantry or basement.
(Funny story: years ago I actually did this and stored a large bag of potatoes on the bottom shelf of a cupboard in my old apartment. Unfortunately I completely forgot about them until about a year later when I was moving! The potatoes had actually turned into liquid and this liquid was so toxic and somehow acidic, that it had eaten a hole in my bottom wooden shelf! So my other tip is: DO NOT FORGET that you’ve put your potatoes and onions in the cupboard. Maybe put a sticky note on the pantry door to remind you.)
2. Keep tomatoes on the counter: Who knew? Not me, this is where I’ve been going wrong all along. Tomatoes stay fresher longer out of the fridge, stored on the counter and funny enough, you are supposed to place them upside down (I searched and searched and couldn’t find the scientific reason behind this so if someone has the answer, I’d love to know.) Also, they will taste better as tomatoes lose their flavour and can go mushy in the fridge.
3. Do not store fruit and vegetables together in the fridge: Most fruits can be stored in the fridge with the exception of apples, banana, melons and pineapples (keep them on the counter), but make sure to put fruit in one crisper and veggies in another crisper. Otherwise, the ethylene produced by vegetables will make fruit rot faster. Also, store fruit in perforated plastic bags to allow air flow, or place it in a bowl and cover it with perforated plastic wrap. You should also leave fruit that comes in packaging in the original packaging like strawberries and blueberries as it’s been designed to keep the fruiter fresher longer.
4. Only buy what you will use in a week: This is the most important rule of thumb in order to save money and stop throwing away rotten produce. Just because cucumbers are on sale for fifty cents each doesn’t mean you should buy six of them if you know you won’t eat that much cucumber in a week.
Actually if you are able to, it’s suggested that you only purchase enough produce for 3 days and then return to the supermarket to buy more for the rest of the week. This way you always eating the freshest produce and won’t be forced to chuck out rotten veggies found at the bottom of the crisper. This is where I wish we lived in Europe where there is a farmer’s market every few blocks and people actually go grocery shopping for their meals every day. I guess the North American alternative is growing veggies in your backyard which is something I would love to do but unfortunately our dog likes veggies, so basically I would just be creating a backyard market for her!
I now promise I will no longer ignorantly chuck my produce into the fridge and will work towards giving my fruits and veggies a home in my family’s bellies rather than in the garbage bin! The crime spree ends now! Hope these tips help and please let me know if you have any other produce tips to help keep me on the straight and narrow!
Coupon Tip of the Week: Just wanted to remind everyone that you can price match anything at Walmart, including produce. Before you go out for your weekly produce shopping, search through the flyers to find the best prices on fruits and veggies and then have them price matched at Walmart. For instance, I found pineapples on special at Real Canadian Super Store for $1.98 so I just brought in the flyer to Walmart where I do my weekly shopping and they gave me the same price for their pineapples which were being sold for $3.98! It may not seem like much but it all adds up in the end with helping you stay on budget.