Here are some suggestions for how to use produce before it goes bad!
Obviously, my biggest tip is: EAT IT.
Great post. See ya next time.
But I actually have a few other tips too, simply because I realized that as I regularly buy my big family such a large amount of fresh produce, I also have a system for how we eat it all up to avoid anything going bad. If only everything could be turned into banana bread like over-ripe bananas!
First, a look at my produce selections
I frequently buy a large quantity of fresh fruits and veggies each time I go to the store. My hauls look something like:
Typically, I load my carts with:
- Mixed Greens
- Whatever is in season and for sale at a good price
How to Use Produce Before it Goes Bad
We usually go through what you see in each of those pictures in about a week or a week and a half. Here’s my system to eat it before it goes bad:
- We eat the berries first. These are the most sensitive and tend to go bad quickly. We try to eat all of our berries within just two days, and usually, it’s not a problem because we love berries! If they do begin to go bad, I freeze them for smoothies so that they don’t go to waste.
- We start on the grapes next. They’ve stayed good in the fridge while we’ve worked our way through the berries. If they begin to get squishy, I freeze them for smoothies.
- Mixed greens get eaten within a week, otherwise they get slimy. We go through two pounds every week by eating them in these smoothies and these. So they almost never have a chance to go bad at our house.
- We’ve been eating on the bananas all along, but we never feel urgency to eat them quickly because we love over-ripe bananas in smoothies and muffins. Sometimes I buy extras just so we’ll have enough to use in these recipes. ;)
- Clementines are also being served all throughout the week after the berries are finished off. We find that they taste best if eaten within one week, but sometimes they last longer. If they start to get hard (or mushy), I peel and freeze them for smoothies like this.
- Meanwhile, the pears, kiwi, and nectarines have ripened and are ready to eat. We start slicing these to put on our plates at every meal. If we can’t get through all the nectarines before they turn mushy, I slice and freeze them for smoothies.
- The potatoes, broccoli, carrots, onions, and cucumbers have kept just fine, so we just use these as needed without much worry.
- The apples are usually just fine too, although we have found that if we haven’t eaten them in a few days, they stay crispier if we refrigerate them. If we do happen to have any grainy apples, I blend them and make Applesauce Bread.
What do we do when the produce has run out and we haven’t made it back to the store?
We open cans of fruit (in 100% juice) like pears, peaches, and pineapple. This gets us through until we can make a run to the store.
What about other veggies?
We keep frozen green beans and peas in the freezer at all times. That way, if I’m out of fresh vegetables, I can quickly steam something from the freezer.
What do you do to keep produce from going bad?
Lisa Bishop says
Mandarin oranges keep a few weeks in the refrigerator but may mold after a few days at room temperature.
Vickie H says
We shop about every two weeks. We wash all produce with soapy water and give them a good rinse as soon as we get home, except cabbage and mushrooms. Things like celery and cauliflower are cut up and lettuce is separated and spun out. Some produce is stored in baggies; zucchini, snow peas, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, and celery. Other items are stored in open plastic containers with a paper towel on the bottom; grapes, berries, and cherry tomatoes. Mushrooms are brushed off and stored in a baggie in the freezer. The only items not in the fridge/freezer are apples, potatoes, onion, and any unripe fruit. We have baskets in a cooler shady spot on the floor for these items. We eat a lot of produce between the two of us, servings at every meal and for snacks. Most everything we bring home keeps for 1-3 weeks as stored, depending on the level of ripeness when purchased. We don’t drink smoothies, but will consume some items quicker than others to prevent waste. Occasionally stuff will be frozen or used in baking.