Sometimes when you go to buy groceries, you get too excited and throw a little bit of everything in your cart. Fruits and vegetables continue to mature and, unfortunately, you end up throwing away a lot of what you bought because it’s no longer able to be consumed.
Proper food storage can save you money and prevent your fruits and vegetables from decaying quickly. It’s important that you take into account the climate of the place where you live, because this can also affect the maturation of food. The more humid and hot the place is, the more risky it is for some vegetables.
1. Wrap the stems of bananas with plastic or aluminum foil
Bananas produce ethylene gas over their maturation period. By covering the stems with plastic or aluminum foil, you can prevent it from spreading to other parts of the fruit, preventing the pulp from softening too quickly.
- It will keep them fresh for 4-5 days.
2. Place the onions in nylon stockings, twisting or tying knots between each of them so that they are separated.
Too much moisture could make onions rot in a short amount of time. It’s best to keep them in a cool place with little light. You can put them in nylon stockings or in tights that have holes and hang them to keep them better.
- Their storage period can be extended by up to 6-8 months.
3. Garlic likes dark places with low humidity.
The ideal way to store garlic is to keep it in a container or a paper bag that is in a dark and dry place.
- If you keep the garlic bulbs intact they can last up to 2 months. If you separate the cloves, their storage time is shortened to 3 to 10 days.
4. Parsley, cilantro, basil, and asparagus: place the stems in a container with water and leave them at room temperature (without washing them).
If you don’t want to put them in the refrigerator, it’s important to keep them in water, just as you’d do with flowers.
- In good condition, they can last from 4 to 5 days.
5. Keep potatoes in a dark and cool place.
Avoid placing them in plastic bags. It is better to put them in paper or mesh bags instead. Another option to preserve them may be a box with grids that is covered with newspaper or absorbent paper on the bottom. The ideal storage temperature ranges from 44ºF to 51ºF.
- Properly stored, raw potatoes will last for 1 to 2 weeks.
6. If the avocados are not ripe, cover them with newspaper and put them in a paper bag.
If the avocados are green, placing them in the refrigerator will stop the ripening process. You should wrap them with newspaper and place them inside a paper bag. If you want them to mature even faster, place a banana inside the bag.
- With bag: they take 3 to 5 days to mature
- Without a bag: they take up to 7 days
- Bag and banana: 2-3 days
7. Tomatoes should be stored at a temperature higher than 50ºF to better preserve their flavor.
The more mature the tomatoes are, the more concentrated their flavors are. When they come into contact with the freezer and remain at that temperature, they lose their flavor. The best thing to do is to keep them at a temperature above 50ºF.
- Their storage time can vary from 3 weeks to 2 months, depending on how ripe they are when they are purchased.
1. Place mushrooms (unwashed) in a paper bag with parsley.
It’s important that you don’t wash mushrooms until you are ready to consume them. By putting them in contact with water, we can generate humidity because they do not dry completely. It is recommended to store them in a paper bag and to add some branches of parsley. It works as an antioxidant and prevents the appearance of spots. Afterward, you should put them in the refrigerator.
- Storage time: 3 to 5 days
2. Disinfect your strawberries with white vinegar without removing the stem.
It’s better to wash strawberries right before eating them, otherwise they will absorb water and begin to soften, accelerating the maturation process. To disinfect them you can use 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water. It’s important that you make sure that there are no strawberries with mold because they could ruin the rest. Remove the stem and place them in an airtight bag only if you’re going to freeze them. If they are going to stay in the fridge, put them in a colander.
- In the refrigerator: they can last from 5 to 6 days
- In the freezer: from 2 to 4 months
3. Wrap lettuce, spinach, or collards (after disinfecting) to keep them fresh.
Wash the leaves in a large amount of cold water. Make sure they are completely dry before storing in the refrigerator. You can place them in a plastic container or in an airtight bag. It’s important that you wrap them well with absorbent paper because this will eliminate the remaining water.
- If you store them properly, they will last from 1 to 2 weeks in good condition.
4. If you already cut a lemon, don’t let the other half go to waste. Wrap it in aluminum foil or sprinkle it with salt.
Sometimes we use only one half of the lemon and we end up throwing the other half of it in the trash. The best thing to do is wrap it in aluminum foil. Another alternative is to put salt on the pulp and store in the refrigerator. Before using it, you just have to rinse it well.
- Whole: up to 2 weeks
- Half: up to 3 days, without changing its color or taste
5. Don’t let the avocado oxidize after splitting it
To prevent it from losing its green color and turning black, put a few drops of lemon on it until all the pulp is covered or brush the avocado half with a little bit of edible oil. Another alternative is to line the bottom of a container with chunks of onion, then place the avocado, cut side up, on top.
- It will retain its color for 1 to 2 days.
6. To preserve peeled potatoes, put them in a container with water and white vinegar.
Freshly peeled potatoes will quickly start to turn gray. To prevent this, place them in a container, cover them with water, add a few drops of white vinegar, and store them in the refrigerator.
- Storage time: 3 to 4 days
7. If bananas are already very ripe, you can put them in the freezer to use them in smoothies
To keep ripe bananas in good condition, remove the peel, cut them in half, and place them in an airtight bag. Then put them in the freezer.
- They can last for 2 to 3 months.
8. Make cubes full of flavor with cilantro, parsley, basil, or any other herb or edible plant.
This is a great way to use your freezer to preserve herbs. Finely chop the herbs or plants you want to use and pack the wells of ice cube trays with them. Add melted butter (let it cool before freezing) or extra virgin olive oil.
- Storage time: from 2 weeks to one month
Bonus: The importance of color
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that we consume about 400g of fruits and vegetables daily. It’s important that the consumption of these foods be varied because they provide the body with nutrients that help prevent diseases.
The colors of the fruits and vegetables indicate specific properties:
- Green: provides vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and chlorophyll. Thanks to its nutrients it improves the functioning of the liver, accelerates our metabolism, and promotes digestion, preventing constipation.
- Red and purple: prevents cardiovascular diseases and has lycopene, which reduces the risk of cancer and diabetes, in addition to strengthening the immune system. They have a high content of antioxidants and fight memory loss.
- Orange and yellow: contains a lot of vitamin C. They improve the skin, prevent eyesight problems, and prevent some diseases like the flu and cancer.
- White: contains minerals like selenium and improves the immune system. Prevents fluid retention and protects the muscles.
How do you preserve your fruits and vegetables? What tip would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments.