How To Store Fruits and Vegetables For Optimal Nutrition
You have the best intentions at the start of the week, filling the fridge and pantry with all the ingredients you’re going to need for a week’s worth of healthy, nutritious meals. Then somewhere along the way, you get off track as the lettuce quietly goes limp in the back of the fridge. Well, no longer! Check out all the tips below on how to store fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrition.
Start with buying fresh produce. Richly coloured greens without any wilted or yellow spots. Fruit that is firm and ripe, without any soft spots. You want all the deliciousness to last and make the most of your dollar by purchasing fresh food.
Here’s the best way to store your fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrition, freshness, and longevity:
Kale, lettuce and other leafy greens
Have you ever bought a bunch of kale, only to have it go soggy in the fridge after a few days? To keep your greens crisp and fresh, chop them and then wash and spin using a salad spinner. Store the greens in the spinner, in the fridge keeping the drained water in the bottom. Voilà – fresh greens for a week or two!
Parsley, cilantro and other herbs
Fill a glass partially with water. Trim the ends of your herb bunch and then stand it upright in the glass, like an herb bouquet. Cover the herbs with a plastic produce bag, and they will stay fresh for weeks.
Bananas, pineapple, avocados, peaches and other stone fruits
These fruits can be stored on the counter until they are ripe and ready to be eaten. If you can, get a banana hanger to help them ripen and keep from getting bruised sitting on the counter. If you’re really looking forward to that avocado toast or guacamole, place avocados and bananas next to each other to speed up the ripening process. If you aren’t quite ready to eat your avocado, but it’s ripe, pop it in the fridge to slow down the ripening process.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes
Store these items loose in the crisper.
Cucumber, peppers, eggplant and cauliflower
Store loose in the crisper.
Radish, carrots and celery
Store in a dish covered with water to keep them firm, crisp and fresh for weeks.
Store in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or drawer.
Nuts and seeds, including flaxseed
Nuts and seeds have higher amounts of unsaturated fats, making them prone to going rancid. To maintain optimal nutrition for these healthy fats, store them in the fridge or freezer if you want them to last even longer. Store in an air-tight container like a plastic freezer bag or glass jar. You can even write the date on your freezer bags, so you’ll know which ones to eat first. It’s best to buy whole flaxseed and ground as needed. If you grind a batch to use for the week, definitely keep it in the freezer and then scoop out what you need each day.
What to do with wilted vegetables
If you’ve accidentally let vegetables sit in the fridge too long and they’re unable to be fully revived, don’t fret! They still have nutrient value. Using wilted veggies to make a complete meal is still way more nutritious than take-out. Add greens and softened fruits to smoothies. Saute greens and top with salt and lemon juice. Roast your root vegetables. Blend vegetables into a soup or stew or chop and add to an omelette. Take note of what is going to waste and revise next week’s grocery list.
Pro tip: Anything that has to be eaten in the next day or so, move it to the front of the fridge. Place in an open bowl instead of a sealed container, so it’s easy to spot. Have it be the first item you go to when opening the fridge door looking for that 3 pm snack.
Storing food the right way can make all the difference. Ensure your items are cleaned and stored correctly to obtain peak nutritional benefits.
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