We spend a lot of money on fruits and veggies. If you learn how to store them correctly you can make that money stretch a lot farther.
Renee Sweers, Nutrition & Health Program Specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach shared these tips for proper food storage and safety.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water before starting to prepare any food item. Use clean cutting boards, knives, and other equipment. If it is necessary to use the same equipment with raw meat, poultry, or fish, be sure to wash with hot, sudsy water before using for vegetable preparation.
It is best to wash most produce just before using.
Wash all produce, even if you plan to peel it. (Bacteria on the surface can be transferred to the edible portion inside.)
Wash produce under running water. Soap or produce rinses are not necessary. Use a scrub brush on firm vegetables. Lettuce, spinach, kale, and chard may need to be rinsed several times to remove soil or sand.
Dry vegetables with clean paper towels, or let air dry on a rack set over a pan.
Store washed salad greens in clean, clear plastic bags or clean containers.
Fresh fruits and vegetables require different storage methods and can be stored for various lengths of time. Some fresh produce (onions, potatoes, tomatoes) is of better quality when not refrigerated.
All storage areas should be clean and dry.
Fruits and vegetables stored at room temperature should be in a cool, dry, pest-free, well-ventilated area separate from
household chemicals. Keep your refrigerator at 40° F or less. If your refrigerator has a fruit and vegetable bin, use that,
but be sure to store fresh produce away from (above) raw meats, poultry or fish.
Even the experts disagree when giving advice on washing garden produce. Some tell you not to wash before storage and some will tell you to wash off any garden dirt before even bringing produce into the home. At issue is this: if you bring in garden dirt on your fresh produce, you may be introducing pathogenic microorganisms into your kitchen-while, if you wash your produce before storage, you run the risk of increasing the likelihood that your fresh produce will mold and rot more quickly.
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