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Dinner Diva: The Dinner Diva: Produce-keeping tips

Produce will only keep so long, so you absolutely have to have a plan to use it up. If all you do is buy it and let it sit in your fridge, you might as well start flushing $5 bills down the toilet!

But still, the question remains: How do you keep your produce fresh? That’s a great question, and for sure the answer varies according to what you have. Let’s tackle the most common fruits and veggies, shall we?

First up, some things you need to know: There is a chemical compound called ethylene that produce releases as it ripens. This ripening action builds up in a closed plastic bag so the gas makes your food break down quicker. What I do is keep the bags open to avoid that too-quick ripening factor. If you take it out of the bags, it will dry out, so opening the bag really helps to preserve it.

Check with the packaging you bought your produce in. Oftentimes, these bags have little holes in them to allow the ethylene to release without drying out the produce.

Secondly, there are things that should refrigerated and there are others that should not. Here is a list of stuff to store in your pantry:

Onions

Potatoes

Garlic

Shallots

Hard winter squashes

Sweet potatoes

Keeping these guys away from the light will help prolong their shelf life and stop your potatoes and onions from sprouting.

Here is a list of stuff to store in the fridge:

Apples

Cherries

Grapes

Melons (unless you’re trying to ripen up on the counter top)

Corn

Berries (don’t wash until ready to use)

Grapes

Peas

Any citrus

Artichokes

Asparagus (cut the ends off and place them in a glass of water, plastic over the top)

Lettuces

Spinach

Eggplant

Cucumbers

Mushrooms

Peppers

Leeks

Greens

Cauliflower and broccoli

Cabbage

Carrots

Beets

Any fresh herbs

Radishes

Green onions or scallions

Zucchini & summer squash

Turnips

Green beans

Celery

The thinner the skin on the fruit or vegetable, the sooner it needs to be used.

Here is a list of stuff that can start on your counter then can go into the fridge if necessary, but you need to be aware that it can get too cold and end up somewhat bruised or ruined by the fridge:

Avocados

Bananas

Tomatoes

Peaches

Papaya

Apricots

Plums

Pineapple

Pears

Nectarines

Mangos

Kiwi

There you go: everything you wanted to know about keeping produce, but were afraid to ask! This simple guide should help you start storing and using your produce wisely without the spoilage. Enjoy!