There is nothing more frustrating than produce going bad before you get a chance to eat it. Fresh fruit and vegetables are essential for healthy eating, but they’re more expensive than frozen goods and are not always widely available in every community. This makes proper storage even more important.
Most of us think about temperature and moisture when putting away our groceries, but the phrase „ethylene production” might be new. Ethylene is a gas released by certain fruits and vegetables as they start to ripen. It can also speed up the ripening process of surrounding produce. Nicole Richard, a food safety specialist from the University of Rhode Island, says high ethylene producers, like bananas, apples, and avocados, will cause ethylene-sensitive crops, like leafy greens, to wilt and become yellowed unless your produce is protected.
Save your spinach from an untimely wilting, and try out some of these 9 products to keep fruit and vegetables fresh.
Chef’n Bramble Berry Basket and Colander, available at Amazon and Crate and Barrel
Sweet enough for storage and serving, the Bramble Berry Basket Two holds 16 ounces of berries while maintaining air circulation. The plastic external container holds the colander (available in red or green), which you can also use for rinsing. The Bramble Basket is top-rack dishwasher safe and BPA-free.
A multi-purpose, resuable bag
Stasher Silicone Reusable Bag, available at Amazon and Stasher Bag
Sometimes a good seal is sometimes all you need to prevent wilting or keep away excess moisture. Stasher bags not only eliminate single-use plastic, but also help food stay fresh with a pinch lock seal and leakproof construction. The bags are freezer and microwave safe, so you have plenty of options to use them for produce storage, heating, and serving.
Hope for your day-old guac
Crate and Barrel
Casabella Gauclock Guacamole Storage Container, available at Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel
Guacamole can go from green to brown in the blink of an eye; when avocado flesh is exposed to oxygen, like when it’s cut or mashed into guacamole, it starts to brown. This Guaclock Storage Container extends the fresh look and taste of guacamole with an air release lid. You can release the air trapped in the container before sealing it: less air, less browning.
A container to keep your herbs hydrated
Tender herbs, like basil or parsley, should be refrigerated standing in water like flowers, said Richard. The OXO Greensaver Herb Keeper plastic container has room for water in the bottom and holds a perforated basket that keeps the herbs away from the sides. The whole thing is narrow enough to tuck in your fridge doors.
A sculptural fruit bowl
Just Ripe Fruit Bowl, available at Uncommon Goods, $65
This bamboo and glass structure turns your ripening fruit into a display piece. Bananas can hang from the top hook to ripen evenly, while other produce can be tucked in the bottom half, protecting them from the bananas’ ethylene production.
The Just Ripe Fruit Bowl is also a great storage option for cold-sensitive produce. Tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, and onions lose flavor when refrigerated, said Richard. Stash them in the glass bowl with a vented lid to keep them fresh.
A natural remedy for bacteria growth
Freshpaper Food Saver Sheets, available at Amazon
It may not look like much, but this slip of paper has the power to slow down the wilting, ripening, and rotting of your produce. The paper is infused with natural spices and oils that limit the growth of bacteria that can rot your fruit and vegetables. Toss a whole sheet or a cut-out section into any storage container.
A bag that goes from market to fridge
Five Two Organic Cotton Reusable Produce Bags, available at Food52
Open weave, cotton bags, like the ones in this set from FiveTwo, allow just enough air and moisture in to keep produce crisp, not moldy. You can even mist the bags with water. Bring these bags the next time you go shopping and transfer your purchases straight to the fridge without unpacking. Richard said to be sure you wash and dry the bags thoroughly between uses to prevent cross-contamination or bacterial build-up in the fabric.
An extra crisper drawer
OXO Good Grips GreenSaver Produce Keeper, available at Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond, $20
Crisper refrigerator drawers are meant to control humidity and keep produce fresh. The OXO Produce Keeper acts as an extra crisper drawer that you can move around from shelf to shelf. The lid holds a carbon filter that absorbs and traps ethylene, and it must be replaced after 90 days.
The Produce Keeper definitely extended the life of my broccoli. There still was some yellowing around the top edge, but after a week, the broccoli stem was crunchy and the florets were dry.
A reusable storage lid
Food Huggers Reusable Silicone Lids, available at Amazon and Anthropologie, $14
When all you need is a lemon wedge or half a tomato, you want to preserve the leftover produce. Skip the hard-to-manage plastic wrap and go for a Food Hugger — these silicone lids are airtight and stretch to fit whatever you need to save. They’re dishwasher safe and fit inside each other for storage.