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Best Containers for Keeping Produce Fresher Longer
There seem to be so many containers on the market now that claim to keep produce fresher longer, and most are not cheap. What products or containers do Dollar Stretchers recommend for extending the life of produce?
Keep on Top of Produce
For vegetables, I find that taking most veggies out of the plastic bag and putting them into the crisper drawer works best. I use this for cucumbers, zucchini, green peppers, carrots, eggplant, cabbage and similar things. I keep celery, radishes, and lettuce heads in the bag in the crisper, but I leave one end open, so it isn't tightly sealed. I find that romaine lettuce will generally keep longer than most other types.
I keep potatoes and onions loose in open plastic buckets in the bottom of my pantry. I use the potatoes that are starting to grow eyes first. Also, if an onion starts to get a green shoot, I try to use it right away.
For fruits, I also put them loose into the fruit drawer. I use this for citrus, mangoes, avocados, pears, and other fruit with peels. Melons can go anywhere in fridge. I keep berries and kiwi in the plastic clamshell container in the regular part of the fridge. The key with berries is to check them when you first get home. Remove any that have bruised spots or look like they will spoil first. I wash those off and eat them right away. It is my treat for grocery shopping! Then I check the remainder daily and again use the ones that look like they may spoil. I can keep strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries with this method for a week or more. I keep grapes in the bag, but again I make sure they're not tightly sealed. Also, I check the grapes every other day or so to pull out ones that have gotten soft. As long as you remove the bad ones, the rest stay fresh longer. I save a few of these plastic containers for the summer when I get berries from the farmers market.
Lastly, I don't put bananas, apples, and tomatoes in the fridge. I keep apples in a bowl that has a hanging hook for bananas. If I bring fruit home that's not quite ripe, I put them on top of my apples for a day or so and they ripen nicely. I also keep tomatoes in a separate bowl or tray on my counter. I do the same as berries and make sure to use up the ones that look like they will spoil first.
Prolong the Life of Celery, Peppers, and Cucumbers
While I have not tried the newer products that claim much longer produce life, I know from experience that containers that allow for drainage with an insert to keep the produce above the bottom of the container definitely increase the life of celery, peppers, and cucumbers.
I also use only glass containers for most storage, as they cannot leach chemicals into my food nor do they become stained.
Barbara in SC
In Love with My Produce Saver
Rubbermaid® FreshWorks™ Produce Saver
is the best one I have found. I bought one almost two weeks ago. My lettuce still looks fresh and crispy. I love it!
Smart Lettuce Storage
I use zipper storage bags to store lettuce. I tap the core on a hard surface and remove. Then I cut the head in half from top to bottom and place head in a zipper storage bag, removing as much air as possible. I use a straw to draw out the last bit of air and seal. This keeps the lettuce fresh longer than if left in the package it came in.
A Solution That Works!
The Debbie Meyer Green Bags™
actually work! I wash fruits and vegetables in a vinegar/water solution. After draining them, I place a paper towel in the bag, squeeze out the air, and seal with a clip.
Containers Pay for Themselves
I love my FridgeSmart® containers from Tupperware®. I got like-new containers for a fraction of the price on eBay. They have paid for themselves many times over.
Fight the Slime
I have the same problem. I live alone and often have trouble keeping produce fresh. I have found that onions and peppers keep best if I peel them, cut them up, and then put them in jars with tight fitting lids. They usually keep well this way until I can use them. I wash and spin lettuce and other salad greens and then store them in a plastic container with a paper towel or two on top. I change the towels every couple of days, so moisture won't build up in the greens. This way, I can eat them before they turn to slime. The onions and peppers can also be frozen and work fine in soup or omelets.
Canning Jars Work Great
We had trouble keeping lettuce. I saw that people were making salads in mason jars four to five day ahead, so I wondered if I could just put lettuce in mason jars. We have plenty of jars from canning. It worked like a charm. I cut up the lettuce, put it in a salad spinner, and run water into it to wash it. Then I dump the water and spin it to dry. I pack it fairly tight into the jars. It lasts for a couple of weeks. I started putting spinach, carrots, celery, and radishes in jars as well. When I want a salad, I just pull out what I need. This makes it fast and easy at meal time.
Store Celery and Herbs in Water
I put celery in water and change the water every two days. I keep fresh herbs in water as well. I found if I buy carrots with the tops on, they last longer. I don't wash greens or lettuces until I am going to use them. The water makes them wilt and turn brown. Tomatoes should be kept on the counter and not in the fridge.
Take the Next Step:
- Save additional money by eliminating disposable food storage solutions. Find affordable reusable produce bags and other reusable food storage products at reuseit.com.
- Discover more money-saving food storage tips by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
- Take the TDS Pantry Challenge. Clean out that pantry, fridge and freezer and see how much extra cash you can free up this month!
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