How to Keep Your Produce Fresh

How to Keep Your Produce Fresh

by Admin, May 23, 2016

We all have the best of intentions when it comes to feeding our families. We strive to provide healthy food, carefully budget, and safely prepare fresh fruits and vegetables. But nothing is more frustrating than opening the refrigerator to find that your best intentions have, quite literally, spoiled!

What are best practices when it comes to purchasing and storing fruits and vegetables? How can you make sure your hard-earned money isn’t wasted on produce that ends up in the trash while preventing foodborne illness in your household?

Consider these important guidelines when selecting and preparing fresh produce.

At the store:

  • Plan ahead so that you only buy what you know you can use. If possible, purchase produce frequently. At the store or farmer’s market, avoid choosing produce that is bruised, smelly, moldy, slimy, or shriveled. Check prepackaged items carefully.
  • Keep produce separate from uncooked meat, poultry or seafood to prevent cross-contamination. Bag all produce at the grocery store.

At home:

  • Store produce separately from uncooked meat, poultry or seafood in the refrigerator, and use separate cutting surfaces or clean and sanitize between uses.
  • All produce should be rinsed of visible dirt, even items with a peel.
  • Precut produce should be kept cold.
  • It is not necessary to rinse bagged, pre-washed produce.
  • Rinse produce by either spraying or immersing in a sink of cold water. Allow it to air dry on a towel or pat dry with a paper towel before putting it away.
  • Storing fruits and vegetables in plain sight may motivate you to eat them more often. You may choose to rinse all of your produce at once so that it is ready to eat or cook, or even pre-cut certain items and store them in airtight containers.
  • Discard any rotten produce immediately, before it starts to spoil other produce.
  • As long as cross-contamination is avoided and “best by” dates on pre-packaged items are adhered to, the only limit to the longevity of produce is its taste and visual appeal. When in doubt, throw it out!

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