Prevent rotting. Banish browning. Mitigate mold. See how to make your food stay fresh and last longer with these 11 food storage hacks for fruits and vegetables.
I used to cringe when I saw fruit or veggies that I bought just a few days ago already starting to spoil. But some super simple storage hacks are all it took to make them last. Not only do they extend the shelf life of food, they also save money — which is the best of both worlds.
- Keep apples from browning
- Prevent strawberries from spoiling
- Keep bananas from ripening too quickly
- Make avocados last longer
- The right way to store mangoes
- Make leafy herbs last longer
- Turn your tomatoes upside down
- Keep cucumbers from becoming mushy
- Keep celery fresh and crunchy
- Keep mushrooms from spoiling
- Be good to your ginger
- Related posts
Keep apples from browning
Squeeze some lemon juice over apples after you cut them to keep them from browning. When you slice apples, those slices become exposed to air and oxidize. But lemon juice contains citric acid, a natural antioxidant. The result is apple slices that won’t brown for several hours. Simply rinse off the lemon juice after 5 minutes to limit its tartness and store the apples in an airtight container in the fridge.
👉🏼 Related: How Long Does Applesauce Last?
Prevent strawberries from spoiling
Giving your fresh strawberries a quick rinse in water and vinegar will help prevent them from shriveling and growing mold. The berries harbor tiny mold spores that can grow and spread rapidly. Vinegar kills those spores and bacteria, extending the shelf life of your strawberries for up to 1 week!
Just combine 1 cup of white vinegar with 3 cups of cold water, add the berries, and gently stir for a minute. Then drain in a colander and rinse the berries with cold water. Finally, dry them thoroughly with paper towels and store them back in their original clamshell plastic container.
Keep bananas from ripening too quickly
The main reason bananas go brown is exposure to ethylene gas. This substance is released by fruits as a signal to start ripening, but bananas are more sensitive to it than a lot of other fruits. So it can cause them to brown more quickly.
In bananas, it’s released through the stems. So, one of the best ways to limit bananas’ exposure to ethylene is to wrap the stems in plastic wrap or foil. This stalls the release of the gas and keeps your bananas yellow for longer. For extra protection, you can separate and wrap each banana individually.
Make avocados last longer
Avocados can ripen — and overripen — quickly, leaving you with mushy, unusable produce. To prevent this from happening, simply store your nearly ripe avocados in the fridge in an airtight container. This will help keep them fresh for several extra days.
Avoid submerging avocados in water and refrigerating them. While this hack is popular on social media, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it can actually produce the growth of harmful bacteria in your avocados.
The right way to store mangoes
Mangoes are notoriously fickle. One day they’re not ripe enough, the next they’re too ripe. So how should you store them? The best way to keep unripe mangoes is at room temperature in a fruit bowl. You’ll know it’s ripe when the exterior turns from green to an orange/red.
According to Real Simple, if you’re not ready to eat it yet, you can make your mangoes last a bit longer by storing them in the fridge. They’ll still continue to ripen, just more slowly. This should keep them fresh for another 5 days or so.
Make leafy herbs last longer
Next time you buy fresh parsley or basil at the store, don’t throw away the plastic bag. Wrapping it around the top of them can stop them wilting for up to 2 weeks, thanks to this tip from Food & Wine.
Just trim the ends of the stalks and set the herbs in a glass of cold water. Then place the bag gently over the top and secure it with a rubber band or a twist tie. The combination of the water and the bag will keep the herbs hydrated and fresh. Store parsley and cilantro in the fridge and fresh basil at room temperature near a window.
Turn your tomatoes upside down
Two key steps can make your tomatoes last longer: store them at room temperature and place them stem-side down. Why upside down? The stem is where air and moisture can get in and affect your tomatoes. By covering up the stem, air can’t get in and the moisture in the tomatoes won’t escape.
One note: if your tomatoes are fully ripe, then store them in the fridge, This can help prevent them from breaking down and rotting and buy you an extra couple of days of freshness.
Keep cucumbers from becoming mushy
Fresh, crisp cucumbers are great in salads and on their own, but they can also turn mushy if not stored properly. To keep them firm and fresh, first wash and dry them thoroughly, then wrap them in plastic wrap or a paper towel. Be sure to remove any excess moisture first so it isn’t trapped in the plastic.
Then store them in the fridge in a ziploc bag or airtight container. This will retain the cucumbers’ original moisture but also slow down ripening, so they stay crisper for longer.
Keep celery fresh and crunchy
Wrapping celery in foil rather than the plastic bag it comes in before refrigerating can keep it crisper for longer. That’s because the loose plastic can trap ethylene gas and cause the celery to ripen more quickly.
Wrapping the celery in foil instead lets the gas escape — but keeps moisture in — which can extend the celery’s shelf life for up to 2 weeks. It’s best not to separate the stalks with this method, rather you should wrap the whole celery head.
Keep mushrooms from spoiling
It’s true that you should store mushrooms in the fridge, but the trick is to keep them dry so they don’t become soggy and go bad.
How do you do it? Simply place them in a brown paper bag before you refrigerate them. This will help keep moisture away and extend the shelf life of your mushrooms.
Avoid leaving them in the plastic-wrapped container they may have come in from the store. They will trap moisture. The same goes for your fridge’s vegetable drawer, which is designed to keep veggies moist.
👉🏼 Related: How to Freeze Oyster Mushrooms
Be good to your ginger
Most fresh ginger is kept at room temperature at the store. But to make it last up to several weeks longer, pop it in the fridge. You don’t even need to peel it first. Simply place the root in a plastic bag then place it in your fridge’s crisper drawer. But if you have already peeled it, this same storage method still works!