7 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Grocery Store Fruit + Veggies

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New Jersey restrictions are beginning to be lifted and with it, restaurants are beginning to reopen for outdoor dining in Hudson County. But the lines at the grocery stores are certainly not getting any shorter. And all the rules we learned about where and when to shop are still unpredictable. That’s why we’ve rounded up some tips for extending the life of your groceries so you can spend less time at the store and more time enjoying your summer.

Use Your Crisper

A crisper drawer is best used to keep the moisture in your produce to maintain its freshness longer. But why are there two crisper drawers in your fridge? This is so you can store your fruits and vegetables separately, as some fruits release ethylene gas that can spoil vegetables. A general rule of thumb is to use the high-humidity drawer for your leafy veggies or anything that can wilt, while the low-humidity drawer is best used for fruits and avocados {yes, avocados are a fruit}. And while it’s tempting to stuff your entire haul into the crisper drawers, try to leave a little room to let the vegetables breathe.

Read More: 10 Vegetables You Can Grow Indoors {+ Where to Get them} in Hoboken + Jersey City

Store Some Produce At Room Temperature

While it won’t harm throwing these items in the fridge, garlic, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes should be kept at room temperature in a well-ventilated area to preserve them the longest. Whether it’s on your counter or in your pantry, make sure you separate onions away from other vegetables, as they also release ethylene gas which could spoil other products {and can even cause the potatoes to sprout}. Another surprising vegetable that is sensitive to the cold is the cucumber – this will actually last longer kept at room temperature.

Add A Paper Towel

All it takes are a few quilts of your precious paper towels, but it is well worth it to extend the life of your fruits and vegetables. After washing and drying your lettuce, add a paper towel to the bag to soak up the moisture and keep it fresh. Similarly, many fruits come in bags or plastic containers with holes so that the moisture can be released. This is a good indicator that you should add a paper towel here too. And make sure to change out the paper towel every few days.

Re-Grow Your Green Onions

Many of your vegetables can be re-grown when kept in a jar or glass of water. Green onions {also known as scallions or spring onions} are one of these vegetables. Just cover the leftover green onion roots in a glass of water and make sure the roots are pointing down. The water should be changed out every few days, and within about a week you’ll have a brand-new set of green onions. This same process can be used on fennel, leaks, and even romaine lettuce.

See more: How to Introduce + Keep Indoor Plants in Your Home

Give Your Carrots And Celery A Bath

When buying pre-cut celery sticks and baby carrots, you will notice they often appear moist. This is by design, submerge them in water in a tightly covered container and change the water frequently to make them last longer.

Make Your Own Italian Seasoning

While many grocery store aisles have regrown themselves since the beginning of the pandemic, the spice aisle remains pretty sparse. When in a pinch {pun intended} try mixing a few of the following – basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and sage – to create your own Italian seasoning.

Check If Your Fruit Is Ripe

If you’ve been dreaming of fresh fruit for days, nothing is more of a bummer than coming home from the store and biting into an unripe piece of fruit. For watermelons, cantaloupes, and even pumpkins, give them a tap or a slap. A hollow sound will indicate the melon is ripe. You can test if a pineapple is ripe by trying to pluck out one of the leaves near the center. If it comes out fairly easily, then the pineapple is good to go. And for most fruits, the old squeeze test will work, just make sure to squeeze the part of the fruit farthest from the stem. Trying to speed up the ripening process? For many fruits, such as avocados, bananas, apples, and pears, throwing them into a paper bag or in rice will trap the ethylene inside and ripen them faster. Pairing with a banana will also speed up the process.

What grocery store tips do you have? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by:

Born and raised in Madison, this authentic Jersey tomato has ripened in Hudson County for the last seven years. As a graduate of Northeastern University’s D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Chloe’s been nerding out over Excel spreadsheets {and stalking you on the internet} since she took her first internship at Efficient Frontier in NYC. Don’t let her college choice fool you, she is a diehard Met’s fan and has the weathered scorebook to prove it. When she’s not dodging armpits and elbows on the PATH, she can usually be found watching Jurassic Park {the original, obviously} for the billionth time, talking to every Jersey City dog she passes, or finishing the last slice of pizza.