Friday, May 22, 2020

How to Make Produce Last Longer

Since our nation's lockdown began, has anyone else gotten really good at making food last? I mean, I think I've mastered the art of grocery shopping once, no more than twice, a month! I will admit, I actually have years of experience when it comes to this practice, but let me explain! 

During my former years in Mississippi as a trainee with Ballet Magnificat, I didn't own a car. Not being a car owner was no problem in the days I lived on Miami Beach where everything was walking distance, but let me tell you, in the city suburbs of Jackson Mississippi, that was not the case. But of course, ya girl had to get groceries and eat, so thanks to my servant-hearted housemates I often was able to hitch rides to the store with them. It is within my nature to hate being an inconvenience to others and often times I felt like begging people for rides was a nuisance so I did my best to limit my "begging" to once or twice a month trying to catch my housemates in an instance when they already were planning on making a grocery trip for themselves anyway. I had to do this for two years and got pretty good at it!

To pull it off, I first made sure to stock up on a good number of non-perishable food items. Pasta and rice, saltine crackers, canned fruit and vegetables, frozen meats, peanut butter, cereal, and poptarts were among some of my regular purchases. My housemates could testify to it! My blog post, Grocery Haul- Quarantine Edition, features other nonperishable items that are easy to stretch and tend to be staples in my diet. But fresh foods have always been a must too which is what I will be covering in this blog post. I would like to share with you the tips and tricks I have on how to make produce last a long time. I wouldn't have been about to get through the quarantine without them!

#1 Make strawberries last longer by: 

After washing your strawberries, increase their shelf life by two times longer by placing them in an egg carton to keep them from touching each other! I first saw this online and was skeptical about it. Then I saw a friend on Facebook vouching for this method so I had to try it for myself and now I'm a believer. I never used to buy strawberries because living alone and single, it had always been a struggle to eat my produce fast enough before spoiling, especially strawberries, but now this new hack changes everything! You have to try it for yourself!

#2 Prevent bananas from turning brown: 

Bananas emit chemicals into the air turning themselves brown and often accelerating the ripening process in other fruits too. One hack I learned to mitigate the emission of these chemicals is to wrap the stem of your bananas in cling wrap! 

#3 Prevent apples from turning brown: 

Squeezing some lemon juice onto your cut apple slices will help them not to brown. Hardly affecting the taste of your apple, the thing I noticed most was the delicious freshness.

#4 How to keep celery crisp: 

Upon cutting up your stalk of celery into smaller pieces, keep them stored in a Tupperware or other container submerged in water to aid with keeping them crisp. This practice is often done with carrots too! Fact: It is said that glass containers are better for storing food but don't worry! I have yet to make the upgrade to glass myself (It's on my wish list!) I want to reassure you that if you don't have any Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glassware, fear not, plastic will do just fine. 

#5 What to do to keep spinach fresh longer: 

To help make your spinach and other greens for that matter last longer, include a couple paper towel squares in their storage containers to soak up extra moisture. keep the paper towel squares fresh and replace when necessary.

My paper towel is pretty ratchet looking. Must be time to replace, but with pandemic ya know...


#6 Avocados not ripe yet? Do this to speed up the ripening process: 

Did you know if you store avocados in a brown paper bag and leave them on the counter for a couple days they will ripen faster! Try it!

#7 Prevent water from boiling over: 

I discovered this magic trick from one of my housemates years ago and it has revolutionized the way I make pasta! Put a wooden spoon across the pot you are cooking pasta in to prevent it from overflowing, then sit back and relax!

#8 How to open a difficult jar lid: 

I learned this trick at the ice cream shop I worked at in my early 20's. It was always so hard to open up that big air-tight sealed jar of cherries. My fingers could barely grasp around the circumference of the metal lid. My boss taught me if you bang the edge of the jar's lid against the edge of a counter and ding it just right then enough air would be released out the side of the jar allowing the lid to pop right off! Truth! Another way to release air from the jar is to simply stab a hole into the lid using a knife (kids don't try this at home 😋) but only if you plan on using all the contents of the jar, otherwise the lid will no longer be effective in keeping the contents fresh.

You learn new things everyday!
Do you know of any other kitchen tricks of the trade?
 Complete this blog post by sharing them with us in the comment section below!


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