The following post was written by our University of Utah dietetic intern, Miley Nguyen.
Canned and frozen items have greater shelf-life than fresh produce, making them ideal to stock up. However, appropriate produce storage can help retain flavor and prolong the shelf-life of fresh produce for several days and even up to several weeks for some items. Take advantage of in-season fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer when prices are low and flavors are high! Properly store them and you will be able to indulge in their deliciousness long after peak season ends.
- Leafy greens. Rinse or wash them as soon as you get them home. Wrap them in a paper towel and refrigerate in a closed container or a sealed plastic bag to extend the freshness.
- Asparagus. Leave rubber band in place until you’re ready to cook the asparagus. Trim half an inch or so if the stalks are tough or woody. Fill a mason jar with an inch of water and store the asparagus upright covered with a plastic bag. Change the water every few days or when the water gets cloudy.
- Berries. Manage mold spores by combining a 3:1 ratio of cold water to white vinegar in a large bowl. Immerse and swish berries around for about a minute. Drain berries then rinse with clean, cold water to get rid of vinegar aroma. Store in a fridge in a clean, lid-ajar container lined with a paper towel. Leave the lid partially open or consider reusing the ventilated clamshell package they came in. (But don’t forget to wash it first!)
- Cucumbers. Wash, dry, and wrap with a paper towel to prevent sogginess and mold.
- Tomatoes. Stored differently depending on how ripe they are. Keep unripe green tomatoes stem side down in a single layer in a cool area until they turn red. Perfectly ripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature, away from sunlight not touching one another with stem side up. Overripe tomatoes are soft to touch and must be kept refrigerated.
- Zucchini and other squashes. Keep refrigerated and wash just before using.
- Plums. Store at room temperature away from sunlight until they are soft to the touch. Once ripe, refrigeration is necessary to prevent spoiling.