It is said that one of the easiest ways to eat healthy is to prepare foods ahead of time and store them away for the next day. When the morning rush arrives, that day’s meals are already there in your fridge, ready to go. However, this tends to seem better in theory than in practice, particularly when dealing with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruit browns; Lunch boxes get tossed about; Meals are forgotten in cars. Suddenly, your afternoon banana does not look as palatable as it did that morning. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid the preceding scenario. Here are eight pointers to get you started.
1.) Containers with airtight lids
It’s a fact of nature: the longer produce is left exposed to air and its agents, the quicker it will age. Glad-style containers are not only helpful to your fruit, but eco-friendly and inexpensive, as well.
You’ve heard of antioxidants for human health, but have you heard of them for fruits? To keep sliced bananas, apples, and other sweet produce from turning that dreaded brown color, dab a few drops of lemon or orange juice onto them after cutting. There are also several commercial anti-oxidants available on the market as well, under the names Ever-Fresh and Fruit-Fresh
3.) Leave in juices or water
A common way to extend the life of fruits and vegetables is to place them in water upon refrigeration. This works particularly well with celery and broccoli. In addition, if you’re willing to consume the extra calories, fruits fare particularly well in a solution of sugar or liquor.
4.) Remove pineapple stems
By removing the pineapple stem, you not only save valuable shelf space, but trick the fruit into aging slower as well.
5.) Pitting strawberries
The process sounds more complex than it is in actuality. Take a straw, and gently press it through the center of the fruit, from base to the leaves. This will add an additional 2-3 days to the fruit’s shelf life.
6.) Go for fruits with hearty membranes.
If you are having doubts about a fruit’s shelf life, citrus fruits like tangerines and lemons are the way to go. The internal membrane is segmented, and, if peeled properly, will serve as a second skin for the fruit for at least two weeks.
7.) Smaller alternatives
Rather than chopping a tomato for a salad or coring apples, consider purchasing smaller versions with edible skins, such as grapes, grape tomatoes, and cherries.
8.) Prepare meals upon arrival
If you are transporting fresh foods from point A to point B and spoilage is an issue, weigh the option of bringing produce with you and prepare the meal at the location where it is to be consumed.
When buying fresh fruits and vegetables, there are limited options when it comes to storage and life span, aside from canning or freezing. However, while these processes do extend the life of produce, they also cause certain chemical changes to take place in turn decreasing their overall nutritional value. Fortunately, there are tricks that both extend the life of your favorite leafy greens, along with their healthy properties.