With so many beautiful and delicious summer vegetables in season, it can be hard to hold back during your trips to the farmer’s market and grocery store. Unfortunately, not storing that produce properly can lead to spoilage and waste—and no one wants that. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you get more life out of your fruits and vegetables this summer.
1. Store Watermelon on the Counter Until Cutting
You’d be hard-pressed to find a fruit that screams “summer!” more than watermelon. Uncut watermelons should be stored at room temperature to help them last longer and keep their nutrient-levels intact. However, once you slice it up, any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.
2. Keep Asparagus and Herbs in Water
The shelf life of asparagus can be increased significantly if you trim the ends and store the bunch upright in a glass or jar with a few inches of water in the bottom. This trick also works well for fresh herbs, like bunches of cilantro or parsley. If your fridge space is limited, you can also get a similar effect by keeping the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel.
3. Sort Out Spoiled Berries
After purchasing a container of berries, make sure to sort through and pick out any spoiled ones before storing. Keeping the rotten fruit in with the “healthy” fruit will only cause your other berries to go bad faster. It also helps to allow your freshly washed berries to air-dry fully before putting them back in the refrigerator.
4. Use a Paper Towel to Draw Out Moisture
Moisture is the enemy when it comes to keeping your produce fresh. Put a dry paper towel in containers of greens or at the base of your berry containers to draw out excess moisture away from your produce. If you notice the paper towel is damp, change it out every day or so until all of your produce is eaten.
5. Don’t Refrigerate Tomatoes Unless Cut
Putting tomatoes in the fridge is a common food storage mistake; however, keeping uncut tomatoes on the counter will keep them from getting mealy. Once they’re cut, store them in a container or a plastic bag in the fridge.
6. Embrace Fruit and Vegetable Drawers
There’s a reason your refrigerator has specific drawers for fruits and vegetables—they help regulate humidity and temperature, so store your fridge-friendly produce in the proper drawer, if possible.
7. Put Unripe Avocados in a Paper Bag
If your avocados are hard when you buy them, you can store them on the counter in a brown paper bag to help speed up the ripening process. Just be sure to check on them each day to make sure they haven’t gotten too ripe. (Bonus tip: If you have half an avocado leftover, store the remaining half—with the pit still in—in the fridge and make sure it is wrapped tightly or place in an airtight container. You can also put a little lemon juice on the surface to ward off brownness.)