Some of the top complaints I get when encouraging my clients to eat more fruits and vegetable are ‘They are too expensive’, and ‘I end up wasting them’. This is no surprise. Roughly one third of all food produced globally gets wasted. Yes, you read that right, one THIRD. This is bad news for our wallets, our health, and the environment. But, there are ways to cut down on how much food we toss, and enjoy what we buy more.
First, make sure to store fruits and vegetables correctly. Storing them incorrectly can impact taste, texture, and speed up the ripening process (i.e. cause them to spoil faster). The following produce should always be stored at room temperature:
- Tomatoes: Cold temperatures result in a mealy texture and bland flavor
- Melons (prior to cutting them open): Transfer to the fridge once sliced
- Potatoes: Cold temperatures make them gritty and off-flavor
- Onions: Too much humidity from the fridge can cause moldiness
- Garlic: Loses its strong flavor in cold temperatures
- Nuts: Can get dried out, and absorb off-flavors when stored in the fridge
- Stone Fruits (apricots, peaches, plums), and bananas: Will not ripen well in cold temperatures, so store on the counter to achieve peak sweetness
Also, be cautious of the company your produce keeps. Certain fruits and veggies give off something called ethylene gas as they ripen. Examples include:
Storing these items alongside ethylene-sensitive produce can cause premature spoilage. Keep the above plants separate from susceptible plants like potatoes, apples, cucumbers, berries, leafy greens, and peppers.
Lastly, make sure to have a plan for the produce you buy, and aim to use it up before purchasing more. This is very helpful in preventing food from getting lost in the back of your produce drawer, and rotting away. Meal planning can be as simple as picking a few meals to make during the week, and making a shopping list and only buying what you need. For more tips on meal planning and sample meal plans, visit our media library. Until then, enjoy fresher, and tastier fruits and vegetables!