How to Stop Your Fresh Produce from Quickly Going Bad
Some might call me cheap. I like to think of myself as thrifty! I'm discerning with my money! And the ONLY thing that irritates me more than money going into the trash is for food to go in the trash. It absolutely breaks my heart that there are people around the world who have nothing to eat, so wasting food isn't something I take lightly. Here at Townsquare Media, we are lucky enough to enjoy fresh produce every week from Cecil Farms in Owensboro.
Okay, tangent -
Let me just brag on Cecil Farms for a moment. I'm definitely not knocking grocery store produce. I am thankful I have access to it. But there is something about locally-grown fresh produce that is so good. One of life's greatest treasures is cutting into a tomato that has been grown in real dirt under the sun.
It smells different. It looks different. It tastes different.
But here's the problem. Usually, produce from grocery stores has been cleaned and is sometimes coated in preservatives to help keep it fresher longer. I loved getting Cecil Farms strawberries but I was so sad when I got about halfway through my first quart and then overnight the mold took over.
Remember how I said I HATE wasting food. Well, I composted those strawberries and from them have made it a point to wash all my produce (both local and grocery) in a specific way to help keep it fresher longer.
Keep Produce Naturally Fresher Longer with a Common Household Product
All you have to do is soak your produce 1 part vinegar to 4 parts room temperature water. I soak mine for about 15 minutes and try to gently agitate it to get the dirt off. I leave the produce in the soak for at least five minutes because you wouldn't believe the number of bugs that come crawling out of farm-fresh produce! Yuckkkkk. Then, I pull the fresh fruits and veggies out of the vinegar water and lay them on a towel to fully dry before storing them. I never re-rinse. Now, if you pop a berry in your mouth with the vinegar water still on it, you'll taste the vinegar. But once it dries, it's pretty hard to detect.
Vinegar has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Household vinegar isn't super strong so it won't kill the really bad bacteria that can make us sick but it's still helpful to ward off what can make your product turn quickly.
Oh, also make sure you properly wash your hands before handling your produce. Bacteria from your hands contribute to it going bad so quickly.
Finally, make sure you properly store your produce. This article has a quick rundown of how to properly store all produce.