We’ve all been there—we buy that carton of fresh strawberries, we daydream of the smoothies we’ll make, the salads, maybe we’ll even dip them in chocolate. Then when we finally get around to following through on our berry daydreams they’re already…spoiled. Into the compost or the trash can they go.
In fact this is the fate of 31.9% of food in US households. It ends up in the landfill where, contrary to popular belief, it won’t break down and will actually contribute to the worsening climate crisis.
It doesn’t always have to be that way though. All of our produce dreams can come true with just a few food storage hacks that will help keep your favorite fruits and veggies fresh for weeks longer than you may have ever imagined.
10 Food Storage Hacks
1. Store your asparagus in water
Simply cut off the ends and stand your bundle of asparagus upright in a cup or bowl of water. I find that a wide mug works best for this food storage hack.
2. Store your strawberries in a glass jar.
Just make sure not to rinse them first! Minimizing moisture is key to keeping your strawberries fresh as long as possible (plus it’s a great way to upcycle an old jar!)
3. Add a paper towel or piece of cloth to your container of leafy greens
Whether it’s spinach, kale, arugula or pretty much anything that puts the “green” in green smoothie, you can help prevent it from going bad by adding a cloth. It’ll absorb excess moisture and prevent wilting.
4. Make smoothies
Another option for leafy greens—turn them into pre-made smoothie cubes. Simply blend them up with any other leftover produce you have (bananas or avocados work great). Pour them into an ice cube tray, freeze, and then voila! A pre-made blend of vitamins ready to be dropped into your next smoothie.
5. Freeze your herbs
Keep basil, parsley, or any of those other flavorful greens fresh by chopping them up, mixing with oil, and freezing (if you haven’t noticed, we love some good frozen food storage hacks here). Just like with the smoothie cubes, you can simply add them to an ice cube tray, and then you’ll have flavored oil ready for sautéing at a moment’s notice (like for when you’re whipping up one of these delicious vegan recipes).
6. Be careful about where you store your apples
You may already know that storing your apples by other fruit is a no-no. But did you know they actually should be stored near potatoes? Apples release a gas called ethylene that causes most produce to ripen a little too quickly. Potatoes though, they love ethylene because it keeps them from sprouting. Looks like your apples just found their new BFFs—Best Food Friends.
7. Submerge your carrots in water
Yes, completely. You can place them in a sealed bag or container, and refresh the water every four to five days. Carrots thrive in a moist environment, so by submerging they can stay fresh for up to four weeks.
8. Freeze your tomato paste
I’ve never once used a whole jar of tomato paste for a recipe and it always feels like such a waste when I inevitably throw it out. To avoid this you can spoon a few dollops of your leftover paste onto a baking sheet, freeze, and then transfer to an airtight container until ready to use.
9. Store your tomatoes at room temperature
While you may be inclined to think tomatoes should be stored in the fridge (after all we did just get done freezing them in paste form) they should actually be stored on the counter. The frigid temperatures negatively impact their taste and texture.
10. Keep your citrus on the counter
Store your citrus at room temperature until it reaches peak ripeness. Then you can transfer to the fridge to maintain freshness. If you don’t think you’ll get around to enjoying them before they go bad, try slicing them up and then storing in your freezer. Break them out when you want to add a splash of citrus flavor to your cocktail—simply drop it in your cup like you would an ice cube.