How many times have you filled your fridge with healthy fruit and veg at the start of the week, smugly pre-empting all the salads you’re going to make, only to return a week later to find your carrots are brown and your spinach is watery?
Properly washing and storing your fresh produce makes it last days, if not weeks, longer. Next time you finish your food shopping, give these tricks a go to save both time and money.
HOW TO WASH YOUR FRUIT & VEG
After doing a big shopping haul, the first thing you need to do is wash everything.
All fruit and vegetables, even organic, should be washed to remove as many nasties (pesticides, insects and dirt) as possible. Anything from the farmers’ markets needs a good going over too – more than once I’ve found a cute little critter in my vegies!
You can buy fruit and vegetable washes from most health stores or you can simply use good quality apple cider vinegar (I like the organic Braggs stuff).
SImply fill up your sink, add a few drops of cleaning product or half a cup (125ml) ACV, then leave to soak for half an hour. Drain the sink, rinse everything and leave it to dry on a clean tea towel. Done!
Now that’s out of the way, here’s some great ways to store you fresh produce and pantry items.
HOW TO STORE YOUR FRESH PRODUCE
Peel fruit and cut into small portions. Store in individual portions in ziplock bags in the freezer for smoothies.
Celery: Fill a container with a few centimetres of water. Store chopped celery standing up in the fridge.
Greens: Green leafy vegetables such kale, silverbeet, spinach and rocket are the only things not so great to wash before storing – it’s hard to dry them properly and they can become slimy. Just store them in large plastic containers with paper towel at the bottom to absorb any moisture, and wash immediately before use (then I dry them with a salad spinner – mine was cheap, about $9 from Ikea I think). Also when I buy my greens that I will be using for juices or smoothies, I like to divide them into portions (in the pic below I have 1/3 bunch kale and 1/3 bunch silverbeet for each container) so that it’s easy to grab quickly from the fridge in the morning.
Parsley, mint and coriander: These herbs are always thirsty! Place in a glass jar filled with a few centimetres of water. Cover completely with a small plastic bag (or glad wrap) and secure with an elastic band. Store in the fridge.
Dill and thyme: These herbs do well with some surrounding moisture. Wrap in damp paper towel, and store in a ziplock bag or airtight container in the fridge.
Basil: Basil doesn’t like getting wet – moisture will turn the leaves black and limp. Store in a sealed plastic bag or a container lined with paper towel in the fridge.
Leftover herbs: If you have any leftover fresh herbs, don’t throw them out or leave them to go off – just freeze them for later. Firstly, chop the herbs into small pieces and divide them into ice cube trays. Secondly, fill each cube with olive oil and freeze overnight. After they’re frozen, just pop them out and store in a ziplock bags. Then when any recipe calls for olive oil, just heat up as many cubes as you need in a pan and you have beautiful herbs to flavour the dish.
OTHER STORAGE TIPS
Pantry items: Store such as nuts, seeds, flours and coconut products in old glass jars. At the rate I go through almond butter (a jar a week…?!) and coconut oil, my collection of jars is growing rapidly!
Salads and parfaits: If you need to take your breakfast or lunch on the go, glass jars can also be used to store your salads and yoghurt/muesli/fruit concoctions.
To use all this delicious produce, visit my How to Meal Prep page.
Apart from fresh produce, see my post How To Stock a Paleo Pantry for how to stock up your fridge, freezer and pantry with paleo food.