Rarely a dinner goes by where we don’t eat salad, whether it’s before or as the entrée. The problem is that, though I’m very grateful all my food needs are met, I loathe grocery shopping. Michael is awesome and has helped to alleviate this issue. Once a week on our way home from school, we stop for groceries. I divide the list: I get the produce and hit the natural foods section, while he treks (literally, since it’s like logging a mile long, I swear) through the rest of the store for everything else.
The problem with trying to get by going to the store just once a week, when we depend so much on produce, is that it’s a lot harder to keep it fresh–especially if the ‘buy by’ date is close to when we shopped. The answer? Over the years, I’ve discovered a few tricks to making produce last longer. I already covered how to extend the life of fresh herbs. But sometimes keeping the moisture out is objective.
Keep the Moisture Out
The best discovery was how to keep Spring Mix longer. Michael actually came across this one when I was traveling. Picking through wilted or mushy salad mix is the worst. It’s so time consuming and messy!
The solution? Keep a few of the used clam shells on hand. Use enough paper towels to line the shell and fold over the salad mix, then loosely fill the container. For a large, 16 ounce Spring Mix container, I fill two containers. By far, this is the best solution to preservation. Unless I end up with a particularly wet batch, I rarely end up having to sort through expired leaves within a week of opening the container. The same works for other leafy greens, like baby kale and spinach.
Other veggies will keep better, too, by minimizing direct moisture contact. Wrap romaine lettuce in a tea towel and loosely wrap in the plastic produce bag. It’ll last about three-times longer. Roll zucchini and eggplant is tea towels, and loosely wrap in the plastic produce bag. The towel will trap the moisture so the skin doesn’t get wet. In my experience, depending on how fresh it is, it’ll last 2-2 ½ weeks.
Green beans are notorious for browning almost immediately. To keep the spots at bay a bit longer (maybe 3-5 days, tops), loosely store them in the plastic produce bag. Every day, move the beans into a dry bag, or, if you only have a handful, just flip the bag inside-out.
With these great tips on how to make veggies last longer, you have even one less excuse to not eat more veggies!