All that rot: how to select and store produce to prolong its freshness
Does this sound familiar? You just got home from the grocery store and are about to put away a week's worth of carefully selected fresh fruits and vegetables. Sure, these perishable products cost more than your first car, but your family's health is worth the expense, right? The trouble is, before you can stash today's groceries, you have to throw out all the rotten fruits and veggies from last week!
If the produce in your refrigerator's crisper bin is starting to grow mold, you are not alone. "It's common for clients to buy produce in excess because they know they are supposed to eat more fruits and vegetables," says Cathy Leman, RD, LD, owner of NutriFit, a nutrition counseling/consulting and personal training business in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. "But they don't know what to do with it once they get it home, where it rots away in the fridge."
Leman says clients can avoid this situation if they learn proper storage techniques for the perishable items they buy most often. Ultimately, she says, this knowledge may even lead to healthier eating habits.
"I think clients would be more likely to eat more fresh produce if they knew how to shop for it and store it properly," adds Leman. "Knowing which fruits and veggies they should store in the fridge versus which should go on the counter will help delay spoilage."
To the Victors Go No Spoils
While different kinds of produce require different storage and handling techniques, some general rules apply. Both you and your clients may find these helpful.
To avoid spoilage, purchase only the exact amount of produce you can really eat within a short time. "Only buy what you need," advises Leman. "You'll feel guilty about wasting food and money if the excess ends up in the garbage disposal."
When selecting fruits and vegetables, experts say, pick the cream of the crop. "Buy produce in season, and avoid any that is bruised, wilted or otherwise damaged," says Leman. "Discolored patches, spots, bleached areas, cuts and tears can lead to more rapid decay." She also advises sorting through prepackaged fruits, like strawberries, before storing them, so that any spoilage doesn't contaminate the rest of...