If you’ve been paying attention, you’re probably aware that we generally have a lot of produce in our apartment. Between our weekly CSA pick ups and any other vegetables I buy, we keep our fridge pretty full of fresh food.
There’s nothing worse than having to throw out produce, especially when you paid good money for it. It’s taken us a while to figure out the best ways to keep the food fresh, but we’re finally meeting with regular success. How do we do it?
Have a plan
The best way to avoid throwing away produce, especially if you have a CSA share is to plan to use it. The farm emails us a list a few days before pick up, so I plan my menu around what I know I can get. I even go to the farm with a list. I very rarely pick up food that I don’t have a use for, because history has shown that it just sits in the fridge until it spoils.
Let your vegetables dry
I’m not sure how much of it had to do with our refrigerator, but our produce kept getting frozen. Lettuce that’s been frozen does not taste good. After throwing out several items that got ruined, it occurred to Brian that the food we bring home from the farm is pretty damp because they rinse it. So, we started leaving our vegetables out to dry for a few hours before placing them in the fridge. No freezing since!
Wrap leafy greens in towels
How do you make lettuce last? Generally, we just wrap ours in a kitchen towel and stick it in the produce drawer of our fridge. The towel lets the produce breathe, but keeps it dry and fresh. Plus, if you roll tightly, it makes a big head of lettuce a little more manageable.
Use produce saver bags
A few weeks ago, the folks at Clearly Fresh sent me some of their new fruit and vegetable zip bags. We tested them out and, as you can see in the picture above, scallions kept in the bag (left) held up much better than scallions left unpackaged; they’re really only bent because they needed to fit into the bag. We’ve been using the bags for scallions and lettuce and we’re pretty happy with them. I was hoping when I got the bags that they’d be washable and reusable (which is what we do with most of our zip top bags), but the special breathable section of the bag is paper and not washable. Still, we manage to get a few uses out of each bag and they really do work.
disclaimer: Clearly Fresh sent me a package of bags to try for free, but my opinions are my own.
Water your plants
I think this works best because our farm vegetables are super fresh, but you could give this a shot with supermarket vegetables as well. Put the stems of your food into a vase or a large glass of water (it sometimes helps to trim off the ends of your stems first). We’ve done this with basil and different kinds of kale. The basil especially drank up the water, stayed fresh and repeatedly produced new flowers for days. We were able to eat it for a week.