How to Keep Produce Fresh For Longer
Wondering how to store your produce for longer-lasting freshness while also avoiding food waste? Here are some helpful tips that will make your herbs, fruits and veggies stay fresher for longer.
One of the biggest challenges in a kitchen is to use all your fresh herbs before they wilt.
The first step is to wash them as soon as you get home from doing your groceries. Rinse them in cold water and dry them on a clean towel, in a colander or even in a salad spinner.
Dry herbs such as rosemary, laurel leaf and thyme can simply be rolled up in a clean paper or cotton towel to keep them from drying out. You can also just put them in a bottle with some oil, dried chilis and peppercorns for a nice spiced oil. This will keep fine for a few days on the counter, and will last weeks in the fridge. Just take it out a little while before using it to allow the oil to settle to room temperature.
More fragile herbs such as coriander, mint, basil and tarragon can be put into a jar of water and covered with a plastic bag and refrigerated. The only exception is basil, which should be left at room temperature. Just remember to change the water every day!
If your herbs are beginning to wilt, you can roll them in a paper towel and freeze them. These will be excellent to toss into a soup, pasta dish or pizza, like our spicy margherita cauliflower pizza and seafood lasagna roll-ups recipes.
If you have too many herbs to begin with, some can be tied upside down and dried (such as thyme and rosemary). Others can be quickly blanched in hot water, dried and blended with a bit of olive oil and kept in the fridge.
FUN TIP: Blend a few different herbs together (such as mint, dill and basil) to use in vinaigrettes or as a savoury herbed drizzle on fish, on some fresh cut tomatoes with Feta cheese, or simply tossed with some pasta and Parmesan cheese for a super easy and tasty side dish.
Fruits & Vegetables
When buying lettuce, wash as soon as possible and store in a clean paper or cotton towel, this will help keep it fresh and out of the light.
If you are buying baby spinach or arugula, place in trays and eat these types first. “Baby” lettuces are delicate and will have been picked much earlier than regular lettuce. Not to be saved for a rainy day!
As for types such as Iceberg, Boston, and Romaine, these will last much longer than any frizzy lettuce, even if washed and properly stored.
Cucumbers do not tend to last very long. Cut them for a nice salad, like our chicken shawarma salad recipe, while you can! TIP: you can always pickle them!
Peppers, Zucchini & Eggplant
These incredibly versatile vegetables have a similar shelf life. Combine them together in easy pasta dishes, pizzas, minestrone or even ratatouille! Need inspiration? Try our eggplant parmigiana with Saputo Mozzarellissima recipe!
Potatoes should not be refrigerated, but should be kept in a cool and dark place. Sweet potatoes fare better in a fridge, but can also be kept as you would regular potatoes.
Carrots, turnips, parsnip, celery root and beets will last up to a month in a fridge. TIP: buy them in fairy large quantities and use them slowly in soups and stews or even as roasted or glazed. Sounds tasty? Give our two celery bisque recipe a try!
Squash can last for a month easily, just make sure they are firm when you buy them!
Eat the ripe ones first, but, it is a good idea to buy some that are under-ripe to let them ripen slowly to enjoy a week or two later! Do not refrigerate tomatoes, as just like basil, they do not like the cold. It is best to keep them cool so that they do not ripen too quickly.
Eat them fresh while you can. If not, simply freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Once frozen, store them in a bag. Great for smoothies and desserts, like our following recipes: grilled angel food cake with whipped Mascarpone and raspberry coulis, berry smoothie with Ricotta and our infamous strawberry shortcake dip!
Just like tomatoes, buy them green and wait until they are perfectly ripe. However, if you buy this fruit in larger quantities, cube and sprinkle with lime (or lemon) juice and freeze on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once frozen, place into a bag for future use in a smoothie or some delicious guacamole!
Once again, buy them firm. Buy more than you need (they can always be juiced) and keep them in a cool place, but not in the fridge!
Beans, Seeds & Nuts
As intended, canned foods are meant to last, try to use dry beans whenever possible. It means that you must plan ahead, but if you only hydrate what you need, you never have to waste any! That said, a great idea to use those leftover beans are to incorporate into a soup or a pasta dish, such as our creamy butternut squash and white bean soup recipe.
Seeds & Nuts
Nuts can go rancid due to their high fat content. The easiest way to avoid this is to keep fresh nuts in a sealed bag in the fridge. They will stay fresh much longer (for months), which allows you to buy them in bulk (& it’s more economical!). The taste of fresh roasted nuts is far superior to anything you will find on the shelves of your grocery store.