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TOPIC: Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 11 May 2006 01:24 #8955

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Let me be the first to say, I HATE TO WASTE FOOD! It's literally like throwing money away or pouring it down the drain.

Especially when it comes to fresh produce like fresh fruits and vegetables. It seems one of the drawback I hear from women trying to make the necessary change from preservative laden processed and convenience food to fabulously fresh is the fact that it frequently spoils faster.

Yes, unfortunately this is true, but with a few helpful hints and heavy duty storage bags on hand, you can reduce fresh produce spoiling before you get a chance to eat it. Repacking some of your fresh produce will help it stay fresher in your refrigerator.

1) Instead of buying the largest size fruit or vegetables buy smaller sizes. As an example:
Instead of regular large size tomatoes, buy cherry or small tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes don't spoil as fast as half of a large tomato cut in half.

Instead of buying the largest green, red, or yellow bell peppers, look for the new "mini" sized bells. They're NEW and very tasty. You get all the benefits from the regular size but the convenience of just the right size for a salad or stir fry. Look for them in bulk at Costco or Sam's club.

Instead of big russet potatoes, buy the little red potatoes, they're less starchy and cook even faster in the microwave. Be sure to eat the skin too for more minerals.

Small apples, oranges, bananas and pears are eaten without leftovers. Oranges can be sectioned with the skins left intact. Hint: vitamin C breaks down as soon as it comes in contact with oxygen.

2) Store Lettuce/spinach/romaine or any leafy green with a couple paper towls inside a gallon size zip lock bag. This helps decrease the excess moisture that accumulates and keeps oxygen down.

3) If you don't like plastic bags, use resuseable tupperware that burp seals.

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 11 May 2006 16:36 #8956

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Hi Deb. There is much to be said about the Italian way of life. In Italy, many people still stop by the local produce shop, butcher, fish shop, etc every day to make their dinners for that day. Even though they eat later, they stay relatively healthier than Americans. A) because they walk everywhere, and B) because they eat many natural, fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of fish - all purchased the day of consumption.

I find it difficult to shop that way here. We, as Americans, are programed to go to the "SuperMarket" once a week, or bi-weekly. What choice do you have when you do that, but to buy things laden with preservatives. Althought Wegman's Food Stores carry a huge assorment of organic items, they are quite expensive. It takes a lot of thought to get the balance just right, and still find things that the whole family will eat.

I'm still struggling with finding that "balance". Even after all this time though - I refuse to give up. I may take undesired "breaks" from the cycle diet, but I want you to know that I am still trying.

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 11 May 2006 17:55 #8957

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Hi Lynn,

I do understand, it's a constant battle. Living the lifestyle would be easier and more wonderful if we could all live in Italy. We Americans are always in a rush...we did invent Fast Food ugh.

You should be very proud of yourself just making the changes you have. I know how difficult it can be to monitor everything you put in your mouth. Just making a few permanent changes can make a huge difference. Getting all the bad fats out and replacing them with healthier ones, cutting down on excessive sugar. Eating more fruits and vegetables.

Believe me, I know. One positive note: Fresh farmers produce will be upon us very soon. I love this time of year when we can eat out of our own gardens for the freshest foods possible.

Do you have room for a garden?

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 20 May 2008 11:40 #8958

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I constantly get complaints about the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables so in this time of rising food prices I will be gathering more helpful information on "How to keep fresh fruits and vegetables fresh"

I found this helpful article with links intack to some very helpful articles. Please let me know if any of these tips are helpful in keeping your produce fresher.

The Shelf-Life of A Strawberry
Posted by Su Avasthi on July 13, 2007 - 9:00am.

It's such a great time of year. Farmer's markets are overflowing with picture-perfect strawberries, cherries, peaches, chard, basil, and tomatoes.

Here's what normally happens on my trips to the farmer's market: I stroll around, oohing and ahhing over the pristine produce. I decide that the five-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables aren't nearly enough in the face of such bounty. And then I load up, usually toting home far more super-fresh fruits and veggies than I can eat.

The problem is that all my amazing produce doesn't stay super-fresh for super long. After a few days, it goes from amazing to sad-looking to downright unappetizing. Then I end up—guiltily—tossing my once-fantastic fruits and veggies into the trash.

Seems that I'm not the only one. (Whew!) According to the Vegetarian Times, letting produce spoil in the fridge is common for many American families. They estimated that American families toss out an average of 470 pounds of food per year, which costs us about $600 per year.

I came by this information while poking around Epicurious.com for a recipe for a bunch of incredible chanterelle mushrooms. Instead of a recipe, I found a possible solution. The editor singled out the Healthy Harvest Freshness Extender at New York's Fancy Foods Show.

The egg-shaped gadget is billed as a safe, organic, and completely recyclable product that can extend the shelf-life of produce by two to three times. It absorbs ethylene, which slows produce ripening and spoilage.

I've seen similar items—or at least items that claim to extend freshness—near the produce departments at grocery stores, but I've never investigated them. One Lime writer likes Evert-Fresh produce bags and if you can recommend a product, please do.

Meanwhile, I picked up a few pointers as I read the article . For instance, peaches, plums, pears shouldn't be refrigerated. Apples, apricots, and melons should be stored in the fridge. I usually do just the opposite, and keep apples in a bowl and melons on the counter. Veggies generally shouldn't be stored with fruits, because it hastens the ripening process.

The article also features a helpful chart (scroll down to the bottom of the page) on which types of produce keep the longest. For instance, plums and tomatoes will stay fresher than broccoli, mushrooms, or cherries. In fact, I think I'll print up their list and tack to my fridge.

And how about strawberries? It won't surprise you to learn that the best way to savor them is to eat them right away.  

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 20 May 2008 11:54 #8959

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Can't access the links because of pop up blocker?

Here's the link to an excellent Vegetarian Times article...worth the read,

How to Store produce

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/resources/produce_storage_guide/

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 20 May 2008 18:30 #8960

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I'm doing better with my balance here...but I agree it is hard to figure out!  I also just got a countertop compost holder to store peelings. egg shells, etc...that kind of makes me feel better if something should spoil...at least it's going to make compost!

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 22 May 2008 14:07 #8961

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Hey all,

What a timely topic. I got this today in an e-mail and thought I'd share it here, they talk about the ethylene gas that fruits and vegetables give off causing ripening and spoilage. I'm going to print it off and keep on my refrigerator. :D

_______________________________________________

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away nearly 31.6 million tons of food every year. And a recent University of Arizona study found that the average family tosses 1.28 pounds of food a day, for a total of 470 pounds a year! That's like throwing away $600!

Storing fresh produce is a little more complicated than you might think. If you want to prevent spoilage, certain foods shouldn't be stored together at all, while others that we commonly keep in the fridge should actually be left on the countertop. To keep your produce optimally fresh (and cut down on food waste), use this handy guide.

Countertop Storage Tips
There’s nothing as inviting as a big bowl of crisp apples on the kitchen counter. To keep those apples crisp and all countertop-stored produce fresh, store them out of direct sunlight, either directly on the countertop, in an uncovered bowl, or inside a perforated plastic bag.

Refrigerator Storage Tips
For produce that is best stored in the refrigerator, remember the following guidelines.
  • Keep produce in perforated plastic bags in the produce drawer of the refrigerator. (To perforate bags, punch holes in the bag with a sharp object, spacing them about as far apart as the holes you see in supermarket apple bags.)
  • Keep fruits and vegetables separate, in different drawers, because ethylene can build up in the fridge, causing spoilage.
  • When storing herbs (and interestingly, asparagus, too), snip off the ends, store upright in a glass of water (like flowers in a vase) and cover with a plastic bag.
*More about Ethylene: Fruits and vegetables give off an odorless, harmless and tasteless gas called ethylene after they're picked. All fruits and vegetables produce it, but some foods produce it in greater quantities. When ethylene-producing foods are kept in close proximity with ethylene-sensitive foods, especially in a confined space (like a bag or drawer), the gas will speed up the ripening process of the other produce. Use this to your advantage if you want to speed up the ripening process of an unripe fruit, for example, by putting an apple in a bag with an unripe avocado. But if you want your already-ripe foods to last longer, remember to keep them away from ethylene-producing foods, as designated in the chart above.

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 22 May 2008 14:22 #8962

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I'm sorry the list of fruits and vegetables didn't come out, I'll have to figure something else out on how to paste it in here.

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 22 May 2008 19:03 #8963

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Traci,

Can you just post the link?

If your e-mail message contains HTML coding this message board won't accept it. You need to copy and paste into MS Word or another program that will accept HTML and then hit the button to match to current document, that takes the HTML code out and then becomes easier to copy and paste in this forum.

Fresh Produce, What to Buy To keep spoilage down 28 May 2008 16:40 #8964

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Okay, I forgot, I'll see if I still have the e-mail, I think I do.
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