How to Keep Produce Fresh: 5 Tips You Need to Know
The start of summer means the return of a number of favorite vegetables and fruits at your favorite grocery store and farmers market. From luscious strawberries to tart tomatoes, sweet corn, and everything in between, summer is practically synonymous with bounties of fresh produce that can be used in an assortment of recipes, including refreshing salads, tasty side dishes, and even frothy smoothies.
What do you do if you have purchased more fresh vegetables and fruit than you could possibly eat? Don't let that food go to waste. By taking a look at How to Keep Produce Fresh: 5 Tips You Need to Know, you'll find information on how to make the most of the fresh fruits and vegetables headed your way this summer while also cutting down, if not eliminating, how much food is ultimately destined for disposal.
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When it comes to eating fresh salad, there's nothing quite like making a delicious salad! Whether you're looking for a side dish to bring to your next potluck or a hearty salad for lunch or dinner, the salad recipes in this collection will fit your needs. Get started by checking out these 20+ Easy Salad Recipes: Pasta Salad, Potato Salad, and More
Follow Best Practices for Food Safety
The first step in keeping produce fresh at home actually starts at the grocery store or farmers market. You should select produce that is free of blemishes and damages and is displayed under proper conditions at the store or market, as noted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. By selecting top-quality fruits and vegetables, you can reduce the likelihood of food spoiling before you use it.
Know Where to Store Your Produce
Whether you purchased fresh-cut pineapple at the grocery store or bags of spinach from your local farmers market, knowing where and how to store your finds is a big step in food preservation. According to the University of California-Davis, some fruits, including bananas and apples, can be left at room temperature for a limited period of time. Many additional fruits and vegetables can and should be stored in the refrigerator and must be eaten within a few days. In addition, make use of your vegetable and fruit drawers for storing fresh produce, and ensure each drawer is set at the correct temperatures to ensure freshness.
Learn How to Preserve Produce
Have you ever purchased more fresh produce than you could possibly eat? Lock in the flavor of fresh produce in a big way when you learn how to freeze some of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Select fresh vegetables that are free of blemishes and rot, then get set to preserve asparagus, carrots, okra, and even sweet potatoes according to these washing and freezing guidelines by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. The organization also has tips on how to freeze fruit so that you can enjoy strawberries, figs, pears, and so much more long after the harvest. Drying and pickling favorite vegetables and fruit are also options.
Clean Your Refrigerator
Does your refrigerator have a strange odor, or do you see a few spills and leaks on the shelves? Before stocking your refrigerator with the bounty of the harvest, spend some time cleaning it thoroughly of any messes. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cleaning up spills in your refrigerator as soon as you see them and regularly getting rid of food that has spoiled or can no longer be eaten safely can keep your fresh produce in good shape. While you’re at it, check that your refrigerator is operating at the correct temperature to ensure that food does not spoil. By cleaning out your refrigerator on a regular basis, you can also take note of how much food your household actually consumes in comparison to the amount of food you typically purchase.
Get Cooking with Recipes for Fresh Produce
Sometimes the best-laid plans can go awry. If your vegetables no longer look as pristine as they did when you first purchased them, then you might want to eat up that fresh produce, and fast. While you could simply wash and slice fruit and vegetables for a quick and healthy snack, you can also incorporate the fresh produce in a number of recipes, including juices, smoothies, stir-fry, and vegetarian lasagna, and even a quick batch of pickles. Take a look at these recipes for some last-minute inspiration.
If you'd like to incorporate even more healthy meals in your menu planning, then keep reading! This collection of healthy recipes includes fresh produce in new and creative ways. You'll love finding your next favorite healthy meal when you take a look at these 21+ Easy Healthy Recipes for Every Meal