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Keeping fruits and veggies fresh



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JENAE954
Posts: 7,020
11/13/12 4:47 P

emoticon
I usually eat the fruits and vegetables before they can go bad.
Also, I have found that lettuce like romaine and escarole stay fresh and crisp for weeks if I put the bottom of the core in an inch of water in a bowl (I use a measuring cup), cover with plastic bag and refrigerate.
Just had some escarole for lunch today. It was really fresh! I bought it three weeks ago!



GRIZ1GIRL
SparkPoints: (123,892)
Fitness Minutes: (151,603)
Posts: 2,216
11/13/12 11:41 A

I keep 'em in the fridge crisper drawer...



PHENOMENALWOMAN
SparkPoints: (14,493)
Fitness Minutes: (12,071)
Posts: 464
11/12/12 9:42 P

I add paper towel to bag in frig to absorb the moisture



LEELYNN2
SparkPoints: (43,883)
Fitness Minutes: (55,540)
Posts: 1,694
11/12/12 3:29 P

buying veggies fresh from the farm cuts out days and days of the packing and hauling in that happens with conventional store bought stuff so it lasts longer. Even though it's winter, there are lots of young farmers out there figuring out how to grow all year long and I can get fresh greens almost all year from several in my area even though I live where it gets very cold with short normal growing seasons. Most of my fresh from the farm veggies last at least two weeks with no issues.

I dry everything too. having dried bits of things like green peppers and zuchinni makes adding variety to your soup a breeze.

Dried bananas are the absolute best. cut them into slices lenghtwise and dry them till crisp in your dehydrator. It ranks up there with dates on my treats with no sugar list.



HEALTHY-SPARK
SparkPoints: (37,267)
Fitness Minutes: (31,431)
Posts: 1,060
11/12/12 10:17 A

Helpful tips -- thanks! I tend to shop for veggies/fruits on a weekly basis, just buying enough for the week since I like fresh items each day.



SHASTABEARZ
SparkPoints: (2,708)
Fitness Minutes: (524)
Posts: 271
11/12/12 12:45 A

I never saw a difference using the green bags; and they are expensive. I used to keep raw veggies in tupperware with a little water and that was great for things like carrots, celery, cukes and such. But, where I live now, my fridge is tiny and there are six of us, so things are just packed in there.



WIDARLING
SparkPoints: (55,729)
Fitness Minutes: (80,596)
Posts: 1,157
11/11/12 11:49 P

Thanks for sharing.



LIBBYL1
Posts: 5,729
11/11/12 10:04 P

Thanks!



SKEEWEE2MEK
SparkPoints: (29,981)
Fitness Minutes: (21,110)
Posts: 1,727
11/11/12 8:02 P

Agree w/PositivePaula. Great info guys! emoticon



POSITIVEPAULA8
SparkPoints: (10,982)
Fitness Minutes: (1,388)
Posts: 845
11/11/12 4:29 P

Great useful tips emoticon emoticon



ELISAN
Posts: 18
11/10/12 3:51 P

I keep potatoes and onion and yams or other root vegetables in a three teir metal mesh hanging basket in the pantry where is darker and cooler. I keep other veggies in "green" bags that you can buy in the groc. store. they are a little expensive but can be reused several times and they really do keep things fresher much longer.



CUSH1932
SparkPoints: (38,298)
Fitness Minutes: (29,456)
Posts: 1,066
11/9/12 9:29 P

I wash my greens for the week and put them in a big rubber maid container. I sprinkle them with water and they stay fresh the whole week.



NSMANN
Posts: 963
11/9/12 2:37 P

There are a lot of great ideas about how to incorporate more vegetables into your diet in the Veggies-yuck! thread: http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/message
board.asp?imboard=7&imparent=29245098



HARVESTER54
SparkPoints: (13,432)
Fitness Minutes: (13,278)
Posts: 308
11/9/12 11:34 A

I use Hefty bags that are made for preserving produce They REALLY do work .



LOST_IN_NY
Posts: 31
11/9/12 8:31 A

Re: storing vegetables in a glass container/jar in the fridge - the small cucumbers keep very well this way, as well as carrots, celery, parsnips.



GONE-BIKING
Posts: 199
11/8/12 10:14 P

Refrigerating bananas halts the ripening process. When I've got too many that are getting ripe at the same time, I pop them in the frige. Unfortunately, it does not prevent them from turning brown. So if the sight of the skin is an issue, this won't help your family.



ERINBTOME
Posts: 128
11/8/12 5:02 P

sounds great thanks for all the great advise because I LOVE my fruits and veggies. emoticon



MAUREENIE1
Posts: 464
11/8/12 2:47 P

I store potatoes in the refrigerator in a cloth bag that has a dark liner. This keeps them fresh for months on end. My onions are stored in a ceramic crock in the pantry. For any berry, I wash them right away and store them in closed Tupperware containers. They stay fresh for a week or more. For herbs, I wash them, wrap them in paper towel and then store them in the refrigerator in those perforated Ziploc veggie bags. As soon as my bananas start to go brown, I peel and then freeze them in ziploc bags and use them in smoothies and for baking. When my veggies start to look like they aren't as fresh as they were when I brought them home from the store, Iroast them with a bit of olive oil and make Chef Meg's roasted vegetable soup.



DIANAHALLOCK
SparkPoints: (25,035)
Fitness Minutes: (18,818)
Posts: 978
11/7/12 11:25 P

Keep onions away from potatoes....the emoticon onions rot and the emoticon potatoes sprout!



JENAE954
Posts: 7,020
11/7/12 9:39 P

Great posts.
Have learned a lot by reading them.
Thanks...



NADROJ43
Posts: 1
11/7/12 8:03 P

If you're just dealing with berries, you can wash them in vinegar. It helps them last longer and takes only a quick wash to get rid of the scent/flavor.

I've also used it on oranges. I've had some last about a month before I finally ate/squeezed them.



LOWFATFOODIE
Posts: 992
11/7/12 5:03 P

Great post. the Shelf Life article mentioned a couple of times is really helpful.
I do my main shopping only every 6 weeks. I make sure I get 7-10 days of fresh fruit and veggies, but the rest, I buy IN BULK- frozen.
I make sure to eat the fresh stuff first, using a lot of veggies in bulk/crockpot recipes and freezing the extra portions. Stuff like bananas get frozen if they start to go brown.

I use the frozen veggies daily in omelettes/egg scrambles, stirfrys, sauces, etc.
I use the frozen fruit in protein smoothies daily (protein powder, fruit and water makes a great tasting and easy meal)



LOUNMOUN
Posts: 1,216
11/7/12 1:32 P

I think it depends on what you are trying to keep and how you will use it.

I buy frozen vegetables/fruits or freeze fresh vegetables/fruit if I need to keep them longer than a week. But I'm not trying to do that with salad stuff.

I just plan to have the stuff that doesn't keep fresh very long early in the week or 2 week period and the frozen stuff as we come to the end of that period.

I've found fresh apples, oranges, some squash, zucchini, fresh spinach, carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes keep longer than stuff like tomatoes, strawberries or lettuce.

shelflifeadvice.com/vegetables/fresh-veget
ables

www.family-survival-planning.com/food-shel
f-life.html#axzz2BYvE7I8r

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_art
icles.asp?id=1153

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_art
icles.asp?id=1103




HOLALOLA
SparkPoints: (19,565)
Fitness Minutes: (57,910)
Posts: 278
11/7/12 1:13 P

I haven't read the other posts so I don't know if anyone has mentioned drying. I do a ton of drying and finally got a sturdy dehydrator that is supposed to last. But you can get cheap ones at Target if you don't do a lot, or you can just do it in your oven. Put it on the lowest setting overnight and prop the oven door open to let the steam out. You can also put the fruit in a blender and dry that to make your own fruit roll-ups. Dried fruit tastes delicious dried or reconstituted, it stays good for months or years, and is a very portable snack.

You can also try juicing and freeze the juice in plastic water bottles. It's also good if you don't have access to a fridge. Take out a frozen juice and put it in your lunch bag. It keeps things cold and by lunch time it should be defrosted.





OBIESMOM2
SparkPoints: (61,086)
Fitness Minutes: (40,069)
Posts: 4,472
11/7/12 12:51 P

I use the Fridge Smart containers too. They are worth every penny (and you can buy Tupperware online now)



SWIMMAN
Posts: 2,298
11/7/12 9:48 A

Great thread with great ideas! I'll give that a try Jena :-) Thanks



ASHAIXIM
Posts: 2,611
11/6/12 5:18 P

I used to eat "raw" so basically ate nothing BUT fruit and veg (and an occasional tacobell cheat! LOL!)

I love tupperware but this would probably work in anything. I have a bunch of tupperware that you put in the fridge (light blue) and also modular mates. This works in both.

Wash, cut, prep however you want your veg (any of them).

Put papertowel (or you could put a tea towel in it) in the bottom of a container. Put in veg. Put papertowel on top.

The trick is every time you take any veggies out, take out any saturated towel and put new in.

ALSO, turn the containers over every day.

This way nothing sits in the water! and the towel sits against the veggies so it reduces the amount of air space. WATER AND AIR is what deteriorates the leafy veggies and AIR deteriorates hard veggies (it dries them out aka wilted celery and wrinkly carrots).

This works with any kind of lettuce, spinach, greens, any harder veggie, EVERYTHING.

I did NOT do this with fruit because 1) fruit should not be refrigerated (a lot of them lose their peak if put in the fridge) freshfoodcentral.com/view_feature.aspx?fea
tureid=6
and 2) I only bought a week worth of fruit at a time. Fruit should never be "kept" - they should be eaten within 7 days of purchase. That INCLUDES TOMATOS.



IAMARMSTRONG
Posts: 514
11/6/12 2:19 P

Jenae954 has the right idea here. My fridge looks more like a flower shop sometimes, than a fridge... it works for herbs (parsely,cilantro, mint), as well as green onions and lettuce.

The mint, cilantro, and parsely lasted two weeks. I did take the time to snip the bottoms and exchange the water at least once, but well worth it.

Edited by: IAMARMSTRONG at: 11/6/2012 (14:19)


LAHUDSONCHEF
SparkPoints: (11,401)
Fitness Minutes: (8,361)
Posts: 321
11/6/12 12:14 P

I love that idea, Jenae! Will have to see if it can work out here (shared kitchen with other adults in a long-term volunteer situation).

My mom used to cut up carrots and celery and put them in water, in glass jars, in the fridge. They'd keep a really long time (except, of course, we ate them). I haven't done that in years, but it's a great idea, and yours is somewhat similar.





JENAE954
Posts: 7,020
11/6/12 9:25 A

I use a lot of celery, fresh herbs, romaine and escarole as well as a ton of other fresh produce..
I leave the romaine, escarole and celery intact, cut off a small layer of rooted end, wash well and place it in a measuring cup or glass container with an inch of water in the bottom.
They are then covered with a plastic bag and kept in fridge.
It always surprises me they always stay fresh for weeks.

Yesterday I found some romaine that had been well hidden and forgotten for far too long.
Surprise!!! It was still very crispy and fresh.



JOYFULME01
Posts: 474
11/6/12 9:07 A

I grocery shop one a month, but I go weekly for fresh fruits and vegetables. There was too much spoilage with longer periods between shopping. In the summer I hit the farmers market. Late fall through winter I pick through what's available in the produce aisle. When I have to resort to canned, I rinse everything first to remove the extra salt.



CARRIEME
SparkPoints: (15,458)
Fitness Minutes: (26,145)
Posts: 580
11/6/12 8:20 A

bananas - We really like them - a repeat cycle of buying and if there is even one brown spot on one, the fam won't touch it. so i end up making healthy banana muffins. I'd love to know how to keep them lasting longer. I buy them somewhat green to start with and still within two days... sigh.



THERESA916
SparkPoints: (22,215)
Fitness Minutes: (18,251)
Posts: 496
11/6/12 6:56 A

I buy alot of grapes about every other week. I put one cup in a pint canning jars and place in the refri. In the mornings i take a jar to work with my and keep at my desk and that is my snack. The grapes will last a long time in the jars.



GRACEMCC45
Posts: 1,134
11/6/12 2:47 A

One great trick for carrots is this thing Tupperware used to make called the "pickle elevator" (or maybe that's just what my mom called it!). We still have one. Basically, you peel and cut up your carrots place them in this thing, and fill it with water. Works well for celery too.

Wow!! They still make it! I have my Mom's from probably 1992 hahaha!!

order.tupperware.ca/pls/htprod_wwwcan/tup_
show_item.show_item_detail?fv_item_cat
egory_code=18002&fv_item_number=P10102
109000


Apples you can cut up ahead of time, spritz with lemon juice and they will keep longer.

I keep all my fruits and veggies in the fridge except bananas and if I buy something I will be using same-day.



SOCKKNITTER
SparkPoints: (45,201)
Fitness Minutes: (598)
Posts: 3,596
11/6/12 1:29 A

I haven't seen anything from Tupperware in years!! I'll have to take another look if anyone's having a party.

And Green bags - I've seen them on the Shopping Channel but they sell a lot of garbage so I haven't paid that much attention - I'll have to look again. And didn't Glad or Ziplock have produce bags with tiny holes in them at one time???? Are they still around in the US??? They were very good at keeping produce nice for up to a week.



DIDS70
Posts: 5,070
11/5/12 4:52 P

I use the green bags or chico bags. Chico bags are more of a mesh bag that i got from amazon.com and I believe Trader Joe's had them once upon a time.

The green bags I recycle or reuse about three times before tossing them.

I will also store prepared dishes in only glass. I don't like the plastic.



LKG9999
Posts: 1,375
11/5/12 4:48 P

A number of years ago I investing in some of the Tupperware FridgeSmart containers. They've been wonderful at helping to extend the refrigerator life of fruits and veggies. Not cheap, but I've found them well worth the investment.





BALANCE-4-ME
SparkPoints: (1,969)
Fitness Minutes: (1,408)
Posts: 35
11/5/12 2:22 P

I go grocery shopping every other week, so I have some strategies for making veggies and fruit last. I realize that this is not ideal for nutrition purposes, but I have a hectic schedule, and this way, I actually get fruits and veggies every day instead of ordering pizza!

1) I try to buy seasonal fruits and veggies (and if possible local) so that I know I'm getting the freshest possible items
2) I shop on Friday PM or Saturday AM, because I know that our local store stocks fresh veggies starting Thursday nights.
3) I buy fruit in a range of ripeness - from items that can be eaten day of/next day, to downright raw - those will last at least a week. (I keep some in the fridge and some out depending on ripeness/amount that will be consumed, etc.)
4) I consume the leafy greens, beans and other thin-skinned, quickly perishable items first, and save the sweet potato, cauliflower, squashes, and other more hardy veggies towards the end of the two week cycle.
5) I keep the veggies/fruit/dairy that I know I will use later in the second fridge or at the back of the main fridge so that it stays consistently cool.
6) When veggies or greens start to wilt, I make a soup and throw everything in (with lentils)

Someday, I will start shopping every week for the freshest items. But for now, this usually prevents me from spending too much (because I have to plan my meal/fruit consumption), throwing too much spoiled food away and most importantly, I have a weekend in between to catch up with housework, or spend with my family.



RIET69
SparkPoints: (47,025)
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
Posts: 3,116
11/5/12 1:59 P

I think that after two weeks most veggies and fruits are no longer fresh. Frozen is good option.



SOCKKNITTER
SparkPoints: (45,201)
Fitness Minutes: (598)
Posts: 3,596
11/5/12 12:20 P

Boy, have you got it right!! Doesn't matter what you bring home any more, it's too wet or the fridge makes it sweat! I do the same - everything into a bag with paper towels or a magic cloth. I've tried to find those vented food saver bags but they've mysteriously disappeared from the grocery shelves here in Canada.



STITCH4EVER
SparkPoints: (23,246)
Fitness Minutes: (30,423)
Posts: 2,992
11/5/12 11:52 A

I ALWAYS WASH MY VEGGIES AND HERBS WHEN I GET HOME FROM MY MAIN SHOPPING. THEN I WRAP THEM IN PAPER TOWEL TO KEEP THEM FRESH AND ALSO TO ABSORB ANY MOISTURE THAT MAY MAKE THEM SPOIL EASILY. YOU CAN THEN CHANGE THE PAPER TOWEL IF IT GETS MOIST AND KEEP THINGS FRESH LONGER. IF YOU USE LOTS OF HERBS (LIKE ME), AFTER YOU WASH THEM, JUST STAND THEM UP IN THE FRIDGE IN A GLASS OF WATER.



SOCDIRECTOR
SparkPoints: (69,911)
Fitness Minutes: (73,170)
Posts: 773
11/5/12 11:50 A

One thing we started doing recently is placing old newspaper in the bottom of the fruit and vegetable drawers of our refrigerator. (Learned this trick from a recycling blogger.) That simple trick seems to keep these items lasting a couple days longer. Who knew!



ANNE007
Posts: 153
11/5/12 9:24 A

Use the search feature on spark to review the articles they have written on this topic. I learned a lot here! Here is one example: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrit
ion_articles.asp?id=1103

Good luck!



NOTTOOLATEJUDY
Posts: 349
11/5/12 8:29 A

I too buy fruits and veggies every couple of days. If I plan out my menu for the week, then I know what day to buy certain veggies. I buy a variety of fresh fruit... apples, bananas, pears... they tend to go fast around my house. Berries I buy frozen to add to oatmeal, yogurt and smoothies.



N16351D
Posts: 2,349
11/5/12 7:16 A

Two weeks is too long to attempt to keep fruits and vegetables fresh. They can go a few days, but not weeks. I get fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmer's market every couple of days. Some vegetables can go a month (squash, potatoes, carrots) in storage, but you asked about berries. Fresh berries do not keep well at all more than a couple of days.

I eat fresh, canned, or frozen fruit on my cereal each morning, and with yogurt for snacks. We love frozen blueberries right out of the bag! I eat them like popcorn or candy!

The fresh or canned ones are better for salads than frozen then thawed berries.

During berry season (June - early September) we buy or pick our own berries in the Pacific NW. Now that won't work in the Arizona desert!! We put them up for winter. Some are frozen or canned. I will easily go through about 24 flats or more of berries per summer, and eat them all winter. They go in muffins, breads, cobbler, and crisps with minimal sugar. I have my own picked berries and apples for pies during the holidays. I have never counted the days that I spend gathering berries in summer for the other three seasons of the year, but it is a lot! I like picking, hate the canning or freezing, and love the results.



SUNSHINE6442
Posts: 1,749
11/5/12 5:39 A

Berries can be washed and frozen in little baggies....I keep Granny Apples in the crisper...they last a long time

Trader Joe's has a nice assortment of frozen Wild Berries, mixed berries, etc.

Consider adding fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, apples, or a few grapes to your salad. Mixing in blue, feta, or goat cheese is a great way to add flavor & protein, or turn any salad into a main meal. Try Peaches, mandarin oranges with lettuce and cottage cheese...Salad greens are very low in calories (maybe 10 calories a cup) The darker green, the better...add Avocados, olives, and nuts (Pinenuts, almonds, walnuts,) are good and Flaxseeds for more protein



YOJULEZ
SparkPoints: (15,605)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
11/5/12 12:40 A

I agree w/ buying frozen if you want it to keep for more than a couple weeks. A few fruits will last a bit longer if kept in the fridge, like apples and citrus... and things like potatoes (both regular and sweet) will last a good amount of time if kept in a dark cool place (like a pantry, but NOT a fridge). Carrots, especially the baby cut ones, will last awhile in the fridge too.

If you are buying fresh, look at where the fruit/veggie is coming from. Local stuff tends to last longer as it gets from the field to the store much faster than stuff that comes from elsewhere. Since it gets there faster, it lasts longer. I've also noticed that the organic salad mixes that come in plastic containers (not bags) last considerably longer than the salads sold in bags.



SCANNERS181
SparkPoints: (19,879)
Fitness Minutes: (21,178)
Posts: 9
11/5/12 12:38 A

Hi there, I have "flash froze" ( quick freeze of fruits or veggies on a wax paper lined cookie sheet) for about an hour then either packed them in ziploc or used a food saver- vacuum sealer. The grapes are great right out of the freezer like a quick treat and raspberries if frozen at their sweet peak can be added to smoothies like another member mentioned. I hope this tidbit can help you. emoticon



ACKWARDATTIMES
Posts: 140
11/4/12 11:54 P

We go shopping for fresh fruit and veggies a few times a week..they dont keep long and I read somewhere the longer they sit they lose some of their nutrients. If you want to purchase fruits and veggies to last 2 wks or more purchase frozen, you can use in soup stir frys, fruit in cereal oatmeal smoothies and tons more.

Somethings I do to keep things fresher longer, dont wash any produce before you plan to eat/prep it. Wrap your lettuce. spinach , herbs in paper towels in a dry plastic bag to keep the moisture out, it will keep a few days longer anyway. Cabbage, carrots, apples last a long time in the fridge. Squash and yams last a long time too.

Check out *The Shelf Life of Fruits and Vegetables a good reference on SP.



SUZIEAJ
Posts: 167
11/4/12 11:42 P

I am trying to get more fruits and veggies in my diet, as you can probably tell from my nutrition tracker, I don't eat a lot.
I was thinking about making fruit salads, and at best I only go to the grocery store once a month, or maybe every two weeks. Can I get some advice on how to keep my fruits and veggies fresh up to two weeks? I was considering making fruit salads as well, prepping them beforehand (ie. the day of grocery shopping) so it'll be quick to put together or already have them ready for use.

I was just never really taught on how to put fruits and veggies into my diet so I don't really know what I'm doing. Any help would be much appreciated!



 
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