Nobody likes throwing away expired produce. You hang your head shamefully as you place those soft, mold-speckled apricots in the compost or disposal – but don’t be too hard on yourself, we’ve all done it. It’s especially easy to do when there are such bountiful offerings at the farmer’s market this time of year.
It’s a scene I’m certain many are familiar with: you set out to browse for just a few moments at the open air stalls, and suddenly you’re walking home with more produce than can feed you and your fifteen closest friends in a month. Naturally, and regrettably, some of those fruits and veggies go to waste.
Aside from practicing better self-control, the Berkeley-based Ecology Center has published a series of tips for better preserving your produce. The Ecology Center is a 43-year-old nonprofit organization that focuses on the environmental impacts of urban residents, paying particular attention to sustainable living, waste and consumerism, and of course, food and urban farming. The Center’s Farmers’ Market Tips for Storing Fruits and Vegetables is an incredible resource for all of your produce-preservation needs. Here are some of their quick tips on how to keep some fruits and veggies fresher for longer:
Apples: Store on a cool counter shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage, place in a cardboard box in the fridge.
Carrots: Cut greens off and place root in a closed container with plenty of moisture by either wrapping in a damp towel or dunking in cold water every couple of days.
Corn: Leave un-husked in an open container in the fridge. Corn tastes best the day it’s picked.
Greens: Remove any bands or twist ties. Most greens must be kept in an airtight container with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.
Tomatoes: Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.
These are just a handful of tips from the Ecology Center’s list of how to preserve artichokes, herbs, citruses, and everything in between. The more informed we all are about proper food storage, the better we can contribute to a sustainable urban lifestyle.