Ten tips for extending the life of your produce

None of us want to be pitching out food that was perfectly good when it was purchased but we just didn’t get to use it up in time.

Good quality, fresh produce is a large part of the grocery budget. None of us want to be pitching out food that was perfectly good when it was purchased but we just didn’t get to use it up in time. With the distance a lot of our food travels to get to our tables and the money it takes to buy them, it’s helpful to be aware of some tricks for stretching your food dollar.

We are all guilty of purchasing more produce than we can feasibly use before it starts to go past its prime. It used to be that people went to the grocery store or market more frequently than we do now and would only buy enough food for a few days. This is how it is still done in other parts of the world but with today’s busy Canadian lifestyles, we need to plan for longer gaps between shopping trips.

Tip One: To keep berries for longer than a day or two, home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse and pop in the fridge. The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit.

Tip Two: To extend the life of dill, basil, parsley, and other fresh herbs trim a little off the end and stand them upright in a glass or jar of water in the fridge. You can also freeze what you won’t use right away in ice cube trays after blending into olive or another vegetable oil.

Tip Three: Lettuce lasts much longer if it is washed and stored in a bag with some paper towel. The paper towel absorbs the excess humidity that causes rotting.

Tip Four: Celery is best stored in a little bit of water, upright in the fridge such as a bunch of flowers. Cover loosely with a plastic bag to keep the tops from drying out.

Tip Five: Apples should be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag. Any soft or damaged ones should be remove as it can spoil any others it is touching.

Tip Six: Tomatoes should be eaten as fresh and ripe as possible. To this end, storing them at room temperature preserves the delicate flavours much better than refrigerating them.

Tip Seven: Whole mushrooms fare well when stored in a paper bag with a damp paper towel on the bottom. Sliced mushrooms can be placed in a container with a dry paper towel to absorb the moisture that makes them slimy.

Tip Eight: Avocado is better left to ripe on the counter as putting them in the fridge slows down the ripening process and makes them less enjoyable.

Tip Nine: Onions should be stored in a cool, dry place with any soft or damaged ones removed.

Tip Ten: Potatoes are great in a cool, dry ventilated space and not in the refrigerator.

Hopefully these tips will help you to store and use your produce in a more efficient way so that you are getting your money’s worth as produce prices don’t seem to be coming down.

For more information about the Vegibox, please visit Local Fare Nakusp on Facebook or call 250-265-2065.