Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Steps for Keeping Produce Fresh

TreePeachRelianceIt’s now mid-spring, which means the season’s fruits and vegetables are finally in! Mid-May and early June are the peak season for wonderful produce like strawberries, asparagus, kale, and the first watermelons and peaches. But these foods can be fragile, and often spoil mere days after purchase.

To get the most out of your groceries, here are some tips to keep produce fresh longer without any equipment:

  • Place countertop fruits like apples and pears out of direct sunlight. Leave them in an open bowl rather than in bags, which speed the ripening process (conversely, if you want to ripen fruit, reverse these rules).
  • However, mushrooms last longer in a paper bag, so you get a green light there.
  • Separate fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, and place them in ventilated bags (not plastic, which harms the environment) But put berries in their own sealed container.
  • Especially keep tomatoes, avocados, and bananas separate form everything else.
  • Keep herbs and stalky vegetables like asparagus and celery upright in a glass of cold water, or even in a vase for a fragrant bouquet.
  • Buy local produce so you know that it is fresh off the farm
  • Prevent potatoes from sprouting by storing them in a dark, cold place away from other vegetables. Potatoes emit ethylene when they age, which spoils other produce (Except onions. They like each other for some reason). And keep potatoes away from places that are too dry to prevent them from wrinkling like an old man.

Author: Sara Kenning

Sustainability Assistant at Seattle Pacific University's Office of Facility and Project Management

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