How many times have you purchased fresh, whole, fruits and vegetables and before you know it have become all mushed up and moldy? If you’re anything like I was years ago, then the times are countless! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought fresh fruits and veggies only to see them go to waste.
If you’re going to work hard at developing healthy eating habits, then you will probably want to give it your best shot at keeping your fruits and veggies alive and well for optimal nutrition.
Not doing so, is just a complete waste of shopping time and money. I’m sure you can agree.
Personally, I like to get to the store at least 3 times a week, sometimes four, for top pick of the freshest, ready to eat fruits and veggies. I purchase my fruits and vegetables when they are just about ripened so that I have food that is ready to eat daily.
Tip: Get to know your grocer’s produce manager and learn when the freshest fruits and veggies will be ready for the taking. You can also make arrangements to take the “ready to eat” produce off their hands at a discounted cost. Most of the time their definition of “ripe” is really more like, “almost” ripe.
Because fruit is generally pulled from the tree before they’ve had a chance to ripen even the slightest, they don’t always get around to ripening at all. I’ve purchased green, unripe fruit in the past where this has happened, with the intention of having them last longer, only to see them end up spoiling instead. Sometimes they just never reach their full ripened state.
For best results, I would suggest making at least 2-3 produce runs during the week to get the best out of your raw fruits and veggies. If you have a hard time getting your produce runs in more consecutively, then the following tips will help with getting the most out of those living, nourishing foods your body so needs!
The following fruits and veggies are best kept out of the fridge and in a cool, dry space such as your countertop, pantry, or wire racks.
- Potatoes of all kinds
- Winter squashes
- Bananas tend to ripen faster when bunched up or around other fruit. If they ripen faster than you anticipate eating them, slice them up, put them in a Ziploc bag and store them in the freezer. They’ll make great “ice cream” treats later!
- Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries
- Berries also ripen pretty quickly so consume them sooner than later. Otherwise, move them on into the refrigerator to preserve them a bit longer.
- Whole pineapples and melons
- Apples can be moved into the fridge if they are ripening too fast. Otherwise, leave them out.
- Citrus fruit. Including oranges, grapefruits, lemon, and lime. Store in the fridge to slow down ripening.
- Avocados will ripen rather quickly; especially when around other fruit. If you want to slow down the ripening process, move them into the refrigerator.
Follow the guidelines below for storing raw foods in the fridge.
- Ripened fruits. To make your ripe fruit last a bit longer, store them in the fridge and keep them separate from each other.
- Chopped fruits and veggies. Store in a glass container.
- Leafy greens and herbs. I like to store these in plastic containers as I have found they last much longer that way or you can use re-usable produce bags. Be sure to store each green type in their own container. Bonus tip: If you purchase some greens in a container, save the container!
- Root veggies. These include carrots, beets, radishes, parsnips, and turnips. Store these in plastic bags. If they have their greens attached, remove them first and store them in plastic containers.
- Berries and mushrooms. These can be stored in their store bought containers.
- All other veggies. Vegetables such as broccoli, eggplant, fennel, scallions, cauliflower, celery, Brussel sprouts, and squashes can be stored in plastic bags or in the vegetable/crisper drawer of your fridge. Bell peppers and cucumbers can be stored loose. Cucumbers ripen pretty quickly so be sure to keep them separated.
- Corn. This very popular veggie is best purchased organic and fresh upon harvesting; preferably local. Eating the corn right after your purchase will reap its fresh, natural flavor. If you’re not ready to eat them yet, store in the refrigerator with husks intact no longer than two days or just purchase corn when you are ready to eat for maximum nourishment.
Additional tips to slow down ripening and to prevent spoiling:
- Fruit that sit together will ripen together. Whether you sit them on the counter, pantry, or wire rack, keep your fruit separated. In other words, don’t bunch them up. Keeping them close together or bunched up will lead to fast track ripening.
- Consume fruits that are bruised or damaged first as they will ripen much faster than the rest. These are perfect for smoothies.
- Fruits stored outside of the fridge should not be covered or stored in plastic as this will lead them to ripen much faster. Keep them loose.
- Whether storing in or out of the fridge, be sure to rotate your fruits and veggies daily. This will help preserve them longer.
Remember to eat your fruits and veggies daily, don’t just buy them and let them sit. I know it happens because I used to do it too. Your body needs the nourishment in order for it to thrive and feel alive.
Make it a daily practice to increase your raw food intake. Before you know it, your body will crave these nourishing, living foods making it a habit you won’t be able to live without.
Raw living foods are the body’s biological makeup.
Your Turn: What is your favorite fruit and veggie storing tip? Share it in the comments below!