You're probably storing these foods wrong and it may be costing you money

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We've all been there. You go to the local Farmer's Market or the grocery store and stock up on all those beautifully-colored fruits and vegetables that you just can't wait to dive into. But you've bought so much that you can't possibly eat it all within the next day or two and on that third day, you open your fridge up to a bunch of wilted and moldy vegetables. It's frustrating. Not only can you now not eat all that nutritious and delicious food you were looking forward to, but you've also wasted a ton of money.
So what are you to do? Well, it might be too late for all the wasted food in your fridge, but you can definitely prevent it from happening again. Most likely, that food spoiled not because it was bad in the first place, but because it just wasn't stored properly. And having a few storage tips on hand can make sure that the next time you open your fridge, you're just as excited as you were when you bought all those goodies. Read on, and start storing those fruits and vegetables properly so you can enjoy them for much, much longer!
1. Bananas
Bananas are notorious for spoiling just days after they've been purchased - and sometimes they don't even have that long before going bad. The answer? Simple plastic wrap. When bananas are brought home, the stems of them should be wrapped in plastic wrap promptly. Some even suggest separating the bananas first so that each individual banana can have its stem wrapped. The reasoning behind this trick? Once bananas are removed from the tree, they immediately begin to emit gases that ripen them faster. But it's those same gases that cause them to brown as they ripen. When the stems are wrapped, the gases cannot be emitted and so, they stay fresher for longer.
2. Salad mixes
Salad mixes are very convenient as all the ingredients are already mixed for you and you don't have to spend half an hour chopping all the ingredients. But those mixes also wilt faster than lettuce on its own will, and very quickly turn slimy. Once one leaf goes, it takes no time at all to spread to the others. So here's how to keep it from happening.
When you get that salad mix home, wash it all in a salad spinner and then spin rapidly to get rid of all the moisture. After it has been dried to the best of your ability, place the entire mix in a large resealable plastic freezer bag. Lastly, fold up some paper towels just so they'll fit inside the plastic bag and tuck one paper towel inside each side of the bag. The paper towel will absorb any moisture, which is what causes salad mix to go bad so quickly. It will keep for days and if you see that the paper towel starts to get too wet, just take it out and replace it with another one.
Want a bonus tip? You can buy all the ingredients separately and spend the time chopping them up and store it the exact same way. Just don't include tomatoes. The acid in them will leach out onto the other ingredients and quickly turn them brown and slimy, too.
3. Berries
Just like moisture is an enemy of salad, it's also an enemy of fresh berries. As we all know, berries take no time at all to turn to mush in the fridge. But that too, can be prevented by simply placing them onto paper towels and leaving them in an open container in the fridge. Giving the berries a quick rinse before placing them onto the paper towel will get rid of any mold spores that might be forming, and placing them onto a paper towel will absorb the moisture. An open container is important here though, as it will allow the air to circulate, also preventing mold from forming.
A quick note: this tip should only be used on firm berries such as strawberries or blackberries. Soft berries like raspberries should only be washed just before eating as they already contain a lot of moisture and it will be impossible to get it all out of them before they turn.
4. Grapes
Grapes need to be stored in a similar way as berries, and for the same reasons. Moisture can do a lot of damage to grapes in a very short period of time, and that mesh bag you buy them in will do little to help. Instead, wash the grapes to get rid of mold spores and bacteria and then dry them as best you can in a salad spinner (or by using a couple of paper towels). When they are dry, place a fresh paper towel along the bottom of an open container, place the grapes on top, and store them like that in the fridge. The paper towel will absorb the moisture, and the open container will let the air circulate.
5. Celery
Celery is a firm vegetable so it's often not one that many people think of turning bad before it can be eaten. But while it may not rot in your fridge, it will get very soft and limp, and retaining its freshness can sometimes seem like an impossible task. So what's the answer?
First, trim the tops and bottoms and discard them (or put them in your freezer to be used for stock later - stock won't care if limp celery is included.) Wash the celery thoroughly and then pat it dry. Then place a paper towel under cold water very briefly, just for a few seconds. Wring out the excess moisture and lay it flat on your counter. Place your celery in the middle and wrap it up. Then, use a large piece of aluminum foil to wrap the paper towel and celery together. The moist paper towel will keep it fresh, while the aluminum foil will allow the ethylene gas - the same gas bananas emit - to escape. Try placing wrapped celery in a plastic or glass container and that container will only trap those gases and keep them attacking the celery, making it go limp even faster.
6. Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a great addition to just about any dish, but that doesn't mean you have to eat them with every meal immediately after bringing them home. While it's true that if you keep them in the container you bought them in they'll spoil quickly, there is a way to get around it.
Start by not washing the mushrooms until you absolutely need them. Mushrooms are little sponges that will absorb any liquid they come in contact with, including water. And if you wash them too soon, the mushrooms will sit in all that water when you put them back in the fridge. Instead, just place them in a brown paper bag which will actually work to keep moisture at bay, and keep your mushrooms fresher much longer. When it comes time to saute them or add them to a salad, don't plunge them under water, either. Again, they're a sponge and you'll get rubbery and watery mushrooms. Instead, just dampen a paper towel and use that to wipe any dirt off the mushrooms.
7. Fresh herbs
Who doesn't love adding fresh herbs to salads and other dishes? They can add so much flavor, but only if you use them immediately, right? Wrong! There are a couple of ways to keep herbs fresh.
One is to fill a vase or other long glass or plastic container about halfway with fresh water. Trim the ends of the herbs, just as you would fresh flowers and place them into the water. Then place the entire thing into the fridge. This will work for sturdy herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and parsley. They'll drink the moisture just as they would as if they were still attached to the plant, keeping their leaves fresh and crisp.
If you're not interested in having the inside of your fridge look like the inside of a florist's fridge, you can instead moisten a paper towel with cold fresh water and then wrap the herbs in this, just as you would celery (but steer clear of aluminum foil in this case). For delicate herbs such as cilantro, this is the only way they should be stored, as the water inside a vase will prove to be too much for them.
8. Onions
Many people store onions in the fridge and this can be useful if the gas they emit while cutting them is just too much for your eyes. But the fridge is also far too cold for onions and will greatly shorten their life. Instead, place them in a single row in an old (but clean) pair of pantyhose. Tie the pantyhose in the spaces between the onions and then hang them from the ceiling in your kitchen or pantry. They'll greatly benefit from the air circulation, the pantyhose will keep them tied together nicely, and they'll be stored at a temperature perfectly suitable for onions. When you want one, just cut the end of the pantyhose, remove what you need, and then tie it back up.
9. Tomatoes
Just like people store their onions in the fridge, many also use the fridge to store their tomatoes - but it's a big mistake. Knowing this, some store their tomatoes on the counter - also a big mistake. Tomatoes do need to be stored at room temperature, but the bright light from the sun and the kitchen lights can ripen them quicker, just as they would if they were on the plant under the sun. Instead, keep them in a cupboard or the pantry where light can't get to them regularly but will still be at the right temperature to keep them from going bad.
10. Pineapples
Unlike other fruits, pineapples won't ripen any further once they're removed from the tree. But the natural sugars within them will sink to the bottom of the fruit, taking away from the juiciness and ripeness of the fruit. To prevent this from happening, remove the spiky greens from the top of the pineapple by simply cutting the top off the entire thing. Turn it upside down on a plate, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. All those sugars will be redistributed throughout the fruit, and you'll be able to sink your teeth into soft and juicy pineapple whenever you're ready for it.
Do your family members or friends have the same problem keeping their fruits and vegetables fresh? Share this page on Facebook so they can learn all the secrets, too!
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