You’re super excited to get some fresh, great looking produce, you get home and throw everything in the fridge. A couple of days go by, and bummer… some things have mold on them. Don’t you hate wasting food? We do. So we thought it might come in handy to share what works for us in terms of storing produce.
As soon as I get my produce, I wash everything except mushrooms (they get slimy) and onions/garlic. I remove everything from the bags and cut ties/rubber bands. I like soaking everything in the sink with cold water and white vinegar, it’s a cheap disinfectant and it’s non-toxic. I let it soak for about 15 minutes, rinse everything out, scrubbing any root vegetables to remove dirt, and lay everything on kitchen towels on the counter and just leave them there for 2-3 hours until they seem dry enough.
I like storing everything already washed. Some people might argue against this since produce lasts a bit longer when it’s unwashed, but honestly, I’ve found that having fresh produce ready to eat helps my family consume more of it.
Once everything is dry, separate fruits and veggies since fruits release ethylene and can spoil veggies. I line my fridge drawers with old kitchen rags that I throw in the washer every week. This keeps the drawers clean and it absorbs some of the moisture. Veggies go in the crisp drawer and fruits go in the humidity-controlled drawer.
I’ve found that always having some chopped fruit and veggies in the fridge makes a huge difference to the snack patterns of my family. It takes just a few more minutes of prepping but you’ll see that if you have them available, the family will get used to snacking on them. I was hesitant when I started doing this because I thought we might end up wasting tons of food, but if the cut carrots/peppers/cucumbers have been in the fridge for a few days and haven’t been eaten or used for cooking, just throw them in a salad, and you’ll cut your losses. If cut fruit is starting to look old, make a smoothie. Overripe berries can be tossed in a Ziploc bag and stored in the freezer for later use in smoothies or even blueberry muffins. Once you get into a good routine, you won’t be wasting food and your family will be eating more of the good stuff! Another suggestion: store lettuce and spinach loosely in a covered Tupperware. It’s easy to throw a salad together if you have the ingredients all ready to go.
Nowadays, kids like convenience (well, who doesn’t?) If they’re hungry, they’re going to grab whatever they find first that doesn’t require prepping. We like having a bowl of apples and pears (or whatever fruits are in season) on the counter / kitchen table. They last a while outside of the fridge and they are so easy to take if you need a snack on the go.
Try an experiment this week: Have a tupperware in the fridge with cut fresh fruit, veggies, or berries (stems off of strawberries) and, as soon as your kids get home from school, open it up and leave it on the counter. Don’t say anything if you’ve got picky kids. Just leave it in the spot where they tend to gather as soon as they walk in. Before you can say “apples and cucumbers”, they’ll probably be snacking on more of the good stuff. Let us know how it goes!
Last unsolicited piece of advice for the day: Have you ever tried kale chips? I didn’t think they sounded appealing until I tried them (and watched my kids devour them too). I think they like the crunchiness.
1-2 bunches of kale
Remove the leaves from the stems and chop the leaves in chip-size pieces
Toss the kale in a bowl and add enough oil and salt to cover it, mix well
Spread the leaves in a cookie sheet
Bake at 300F for about 5 minutes, it’s easy to burn them so keep an eye on them, they
should be crips but not browned