Strawberry jam in a glass jar, bread, strawberry with leaves, napkin, knife on background wooden plank

How To Preserve Fresh Produce

There’s nothing better than biting into a juicy peach or perfectly ripe apple. Fresh produce really has the best flavor — but preserving fresh fruit and vegetables can be a challenge.

After purchasing produce from your local grocery store or farmer’s market (or picking it from your backyard), it’s only a matter of days before it starts to spoil. Here are a few tips on how to preserve fresh produce, so you can enjoy that peak flavor longer and reduce waste.

5-15-20 RTA2-Fruit BowlMany rustic kitchen ideas include displaying fresh produce, but not all fruits and vegetables should be left out.

Your kitchen island looks lovely with that colorful fruit bowl, but not all produce should be left out on the countertop. Produce that can be stored at room temperature include bananas, kiwis, mangos, oranges, apples, pears, avocados, and tomatoes. These fruits are all fine to display on your kitchen island or countertop, because they can handle the temperature of your home and exposure to light.

However, most vegetables and berries will last longest in the refrigerator. Lemons, limes, grapes and peaches should also be kept in refrigeration. Otherwise, they can become overly ripe or even start to mold pretty quickly.

Produce that is better kept in a kitchen pantry cabinet includes onions, potatoes, and garlic. Cabinets are cool, dry, and dark, which is why these items fare better in a kitchen pantry cabinet than out in the sunlight or in the refrigerator.

Don’t wash or cut produce until you’re ready to eat it to avoid spoilage.

Food prepping can make mealtime much easier, but avoid washing and cutting more fruits and vegetables than you can eat in a day. Otherwise, your produce can become soggy, dried out, or even start to brown.

Produce that has been washed or cut should be stored in your refrigerator’s crisper or a produce keeper to avoid spoilage. Food saver storage can extend the life of produce by a few extra days. These produce keepers, like the OXO GreenSaver, offer improved ventilation and a basket-like construction to control humidity and absorb ethylene gas.

Bags with frozen vegetables in refrigerator, closeupFreeze what you won’t use right away.

If you get a great deal on grapes or end up growing way more produce than you can consume, freeze what you won’t use. Freezing fruits and vegetables can help extend their life while also locking in that fresh flavor.

Certain types of produce can also benefit from blanching before freezing. Blanching refers to the process of plunging produce into boiling water for a minute or so (depending on the fruit or vegetable) and then quickly transferring into an ice bath to halt the cooking. After the ice bath, you’ll drain the water into your kitchen sink using a colander, and then freeze your produce.

This process can help maintain the color, flavor and texture that is often lost in the freezer over time. Blanching is also used in some recipes as a step before grilling or to prep produce for another method of preservation, such as canning. We’ll talk about that next!

Spicy Homemade Pickled GiardinieraCan produce to preserve its shelf life and create delicious homemade spreads.

You can stock your kitchen pantry cabinet with delicious canned goods and homemade sauces by putting your produce to good use. Tomatoes, corn, green beans, and beets are just a few of the items that can be canned.

Home-canned produce can be used to quickly add nutritious ingredients to recipes without relying on store-bought canned or frozen goods. You can also transform produce into delicious sauces, relishes, and jams — or even make your own pickled vegetables!

To can your own fruit and vegetables, all you need are glass jars with rings and new sealable lids. Canning is an easy process that allows you to preserve fresh produce and add some new flavors to your favorite recipes.

 

 

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