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How to store your fruits and veggies so they last longer

Parents: Don't pressure your picky eaters
Posted at 5:32 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 09:42:53-04

(WXYZ) — Residents are being told to limit the amount of time spent in public – that includes in the grocery store – amid the coronavirus outbreak.

For many of us, that means stocking up on produce. But as we know, produce can easily spoil.

You want to limit trips to a packed grocery store. But you also want your produce! So how do you maximize your shopping to pick the fruits and veggies that will last?

"It really comes down to buying produce and storing it properly," said Dianne Cress.

7 Action News reporter Ameera David spoke to registered dietitian Dianne Cress who says you’ve got to know both what to buy and where it should go.

"Some things like to be stored in the refrigerator, some things like the counter top and some things like dark dry cool places," Cress said.

For example, apples and pears are a great buy, but they only last a few days on the counter top so put them in the fridge, where they can last three to four weeks.

Same thing goes for citrus produce: oranges, lemons and limes are okay to stock up if stored whole.

"The wholer your food and the less it’s been chopped up or processed the longer it will last," said Cress.

What about bananas you ask? Well, those only last two to five days on the counter top.

But here’s something you can do keep them fresh for longer: Wrap the stems in plastic wrap, it traps in the ethylene gas and stops the ripening process.

You can also buy more time by sticking them in the fridge.

Other veggies known to last? Beets, cabbage and carrots.

"Carrots can last forever, if you can buy them not partially processed, greens on the end, the they last longer," said Cress.

Potatoes are also one to stock up on. But the key is to avoid direct sunlight. Consider putting them into a bag and leaving them in a cool, dark place.

As for the produce that may not last you?

Avocados. Cress says they can be tricky as they go from being hard to mushy before you can blink. And also be careful with...

"Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries. But you can definitely freeze them and then pull those out to make smoothies," said Cress.

If you do like to eat blueberries fresh, consider giving them a vinegar rinse, experts say that will delay how quickly they spoil.

Vinegar is actually a good way to remove potential bacteria on all your fruits and veggies.

Just use about three parts water to one part vinegar. But don’t wash until right before you eat it because bacteria can grow while you store your produce and washing it too early on can hasten the ripening process.