If you follow a plant-based diet plan, you might be wondering how to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh for a long time. It is a really bad feeling to know that the cauliflower, kale, lettuce, carrots, or any other plant-based food items are damaged when you take them to prepare your favorite plant-based recipes. This can not only spoil our dinner plans, but we might also be upset as we have wasted perfectly good things. Besides, the money that we spent on the items has gone wasted.
It might seem to you that it is nigh impossible to keep fruits and vegetables fresh. Nevertheless, do not worry, you are not alone. Unless you organize properly, you might face this frustrating scenario. Between our hectic work and personal schedules, it might be really difficult to stay on top of all.
Tips To Keep Fruits And Vegetables Fresh
The below tips can help you increase the shelf life of fruits and vegetables to get the most out of them.
Practice Good Shopping Habits
Buying too much at a time can be a cause of wasted products. The sale items can be enticing, but you need to resist the urge to buy plant-based produce in mass quantities unless you are preparing for a party. Shopping more often is the best way to avoid wastage. You can find a specialty shop or a small grocery shop nearby for convenience. You might feel that the prices are higher, but you will end up saving more in the long run as you will be using more of what you buy. You can also keep a plant-based grocery list handy to keep you on track.
To ensure that you use the plant-based produce while it is still fresh, you need to remember that it is there. You can buy a mini magnetic dry erase board to help you keep track of what you have. You can make use of this exclusively for tracking produce. You can add the list of fruits and vegetables to the board together with the date by which you plan to use them. After using the products, you can just erase them from the list. You may also pull out the product from the crisper and put it on the shelves if you have room in your fridge. With this step, you can ensure more visibility of the fruits and vegetables.
You might feel that washing fruits before storing them in the refrigerator can be a good idea, but it is not. This is because washing or rinsing can add more moisture to the fruits which can speed up the decay process of fruits. Refrigerating citrus fruits can help increase their lifespan and peaches, melons, bananas, mangoes, and other fruits that ripen off the tree can be refrigerated once ripe. However, do not refrigerate them when they are in the process of ripening.
Precaution On Ethylene Gas Production
Some fruits and vegetables release ethylene gas as they ripen and this can make some other vegetables and fruits overripe. Therefore, you need to keep the ethylene-sensitive fruits and vegetables away from the ethylene producers. The famous ethylene producers that you need to be aware of are avocados, cantaloupes, apricots, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, nectarines, honeydew melons, plums, peaches, pears, and tomatoes. The ethylene-sensitive ones are broccoli, apples, cucumbers, asparagus, carrots, lettuce, eggplants, watermelon, green beans potatoes, and summer squash.
You can store potatoes, gourds, onions, and tomatoes in a cool and dry place. However, do not store them in the refrigerator. You can store the unused portion of tomatoes that are cut open, in the refrigerator, with the exposed portion covered. In the case of carrots, you can store them in plastic bags ensuring that the carrots are enclosed completely in the plastic, avoiding exposure to air. Likewise, broccoli can also be stored in plastic bags. Herbs and salad greens can also be stored in plastic bags with air inside to ensure more shelflife.
While storing lettuce, you need to cut the end and separate the leaves. After that, you can submerge it in a large bowl that is filled with cold water and then dry it off by shaking the excess water manually or drying it off in a salad spinner. You can then cover the damp leaves with paper towels and store them in the fridge. Make sure to rewet the paper towels when they dry out and ensure that the leaves are just damp and not soggy, as excess moisture can make the leaves rot.
We all wish to keep waste to a minimum in any type of diet plan and the tips shared above can help ensure minium wastage when following a plant-based diet plan.