With these five effective methods, you can significantly extend the shelf life of your cut fruit and vegetables.
Cutting fruits and vegetables in advance can be a game-changer when it comes to meal prep, weeknight cooking and healthy snacking.
But there are some potential downsides to storing cut or prepped produce, including that they tend to spoil faster. So here are five effective ways to ensure they stay fresh so you can reap the benefits when it comes to pre-cut fruits and vegetables.
1. Store your fresh produce in water
One of the easiest and most effective methods to keep cut fruits and vegetables fresh is by storing them in water. Simply place your cut produce in a clean glass container, cover them with cold water and store in the fridge.
This method works exceptionally well for hardy items such as carrots, celery, onions, potatoes and even apples. The water prevents dehydration and helps maintain their crispness.
Fresh herbs can also be stored in water. Trim the stems of herbs like coriander, parsley or mint, and place them in a glass or jar filled with a small amount of water. Cover the herbs loosely with a plastic bag, secure it with a rubber band and store in the refrigerator. This helps maintain humidity and freshness, ensuring your herbs will stay crisp and flavourful for extended periods.
Pro tip: Change out the water every few days for even longer-term storage and added freshness!
2. Harness the power of acidity
Acidic ingredients, such as citrus fruits like lemons and limes, can work wonders in preventing browning. The acid acts as a barrier against oxidation, keeping your produce looking and tasting fresh.
A quick squeeze of citrus juice over cut fruits like apples, pears or avocados can help preserve their colour and flavour, keeping them fresher for longer.
3. Use paper towels
Paper towels can be your ally in the battle against excess moisture. For vegetables and herbs that tend to wilt or get slimy, such as lettuce, baby spinach, rocket or basil, store them in an airtight container and layer paper towels between the washed or cut produce.
This simple trick extends the life of your leafy greens and herbs by absorbing excess moisture, keeping them crisp and ready to use.
4. Embrace freezing
While it’s not always suitable for all types of fruits and vegetables, freezing pre-cut produce can be a handy preservation technique.
Frozen pre-cut fruits like banana, avocado, strawberries or mango can be used to make quick smoothies in a rush.
Pro tip: If you do plan to cut and freeze some of your favourite vegetables, ensure you blanch them before freezing to maintain their quality. Always remember to use airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn and maintain flavour.
5. Cook to extend freshness
Cooking may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of preserving fresh produce, but it can work wonders.
Preparing soups, stews or stir-fries with all your favourite cut vegetables can extend their life while transforming them into delicious meals. Plus, the heat from cooking helps kill off bacteria and enzymes that causes spoilage, keeping prepped meals fresher for longer.
ALSO READ: A basic guide to storing food in your fridge