9 hacks for keeping your produce fresh

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 21 Apr, 2022

We're well aware of the need to make changes to protect our planet – a great place to start is by reducing food waste. And with the cost of many foods increasing, that gives us a double incentive to make sure we use up what we buy. But fresh produce can go off quickly if it isn't stored correctly, particularly in warm weather, so follow my great tips to keep your fruit and veg fresher for longer so you don't end up wasting it - and your money.

The first step is to make sure the storage area is clean. Whether that be your fridge salad drawer or a fruit bowl, ensure it is free from dust and moisture. Also think about the temperature, humidity, and air flow – for example don’t store fruit or veg near a cooker or toaster as any heat source will speed up the ripening process.

Second step is to plan ahead. If you can see that fruits or veg will go soft before you get to eat them, use in a delicious smoothie or consider freezing. You can also freeze fresh herbs if you're not going to use them quickly. A tip is to chop the herbs, add water and put into an ice cube tray – then just pop out a few cubes when cooking to flavour your dish.

That's the basics, now here are a few more tips to extend the shelf life of fresh produce.

9 hacks to keep your fruit and veg fresh

  1. Always dry fruit and veg before putting it away (even from moisture produced by being packaged), as too much moisture for most fruit and veg can lead to spoiling.
  2. Save your avocado from going brown by squeezing some lemon juice on the half you don’t use, and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
  3. Even if the fruit or veg you purchased came packaged in plastic – for example bananas, potatoes, or onions – they will last longer if you take them out as air circulation is required to let them breathe.
  4. Read the packaging for recommended storage instructions, for example a dry dark place at room temperature for onions and garlic, away from moisture.
  5. To protect green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, or lettuce thoroughly wash and pat dry, then store in the fridge wrapped in a paper towel to absorb any remaining water. The same applies to storing herbs – wrap in a paper towel to keep them fresh.
  6. You can also store fresh herbs like a little mini bouquet of flowers in your fridge by trimming off an inch or so of the stems and sticking in a jar of water with a plastic bag loosely covering the bunch.
  7. If you need just a squeeze of citrus juice for your recipe or drink, puncture a whole lemon with a fork or skewer to avoid cutting it in half. This way, you can squeeze out what you need without drying out the entire lemon.
  8. Don't wash mushrooms until ready for use as humidity can ruin them. The same applies to strawberries and raspberries – avoid washing until eating, as water can make them soft and cause premature spoilage. Do pick out any strawberries or raspberries that have any signs of mould to prevent it spreading and spoiling the rest.
  9. A great method for storing carrots, asparagus, celery, parsley, or basil to keep them fresh for longer is by pop them in a glass/jar of water.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.