Stretch Life Of Produce By Learning To Store Them Better

The American Heart Association recommends four to five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. And this is the best time of year to make this happen for your good health.

Farmer’s Markets are open and brimming with fresh produce and so be sure to get to a local stand and enjoy the fresh, homegrown goodness of fruits and vegetables. Once we get the goods home it is important to store produce properly to cut down on spoilage. Certain foods should not be stored together, while others that we may commonly store in the refrigerator should actually be left on the countertop. I have a produce storage list right on the door to my refrigerator so that when I get home from the market I can check it as I put things away

Countertop: keep out of direct sunlight: bananas, tomatoes, kiwi. Move the following to fridge when they start becoming over ripe: grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, peaches, avocados and mangos

Pantry: Pack away in a cool, dry, dark place away from each other: onions, garlic, winter squash and potatoes.

Refrigerator: Make sure your refrigerator temperature is at 40 degrees or below for safe cooling. Store the following items in plastic bags with holes in your produce drawer: Asparagus, Apples, Pears, Berries, Cherries, Grapes, Carrots, Broccoli, Cabbage, Leafy Vegetables, Corn, Green Beans, Celery, Cucumbers, Peppers, Eggplant, Melons, Mushrooms, Peas, Zucchini and Summer Squash. Do not wash, cut or peel produce until you are ready to eat it. Always refrigerate cut or peeled produce. When storing Herbs and Asparagus snip off the stem ends and store upright in a glass of water (like flowers in a vase) and cover with a plastic bag. Always keep fresh produce that will be eaten raw away from raw meats being stored in your fridge..

Fruits like apples, bananas, and pears give off ethylene gas which can make other produce ripen and rot faster so keep these separate. You really should store all vegetables and fruits separately, but especially keep broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, pears, potatoes, and watermelon away from other produce. We should be aware of what produce ripen after they are picked which include Apricots, Bananas, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Peaches, Pears, Plums and Tomatoes. You can hasten ripening by putting them in a paper bag on the counter. Fruits you should be sure are ripe when you buy them include: Apples, Cherries, Grapefruit, Grapes, Oranges, Pineapple, Strawberries, Tangerines, and Watermelon.

Senior Farmer’s Market Coupons were distributed so if you received them be sure to use your coupons before the end of the season. The OFA offices do have a few left if you have not gotten yours yet, but call first to make sure they have some.