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How to store produce without plastic

As I eliminate single use plastics from my life, I’ve noticed that it can be hard to keep produce fresh in the fridge without the plastic it normally comes in. So today I’ll talk about how to store produce without plastic in the fridge.

 

I made a video to share the ones I encounter most – kale (or other leafy greens), celery, carrots and the dreaded basil! You can find a number of other items listed below the video too.

So to recap:

Kale – This one is my favourite. Wash it right when you get home (I know it’s a pain, but just think – all week you will just be able to grab it and go) Wrap it in a tea towel like a bouquet of flowers and place it in your crisper. Make sure the towel isn’t wrapped too tightly.

Carrots – Cut off the stems and place them in an airtight container with a damp reusable paper tower.

Celery – Cut off the bottom and place them in a jar of water in your fridge. I’m on week 3 of my celery and it’s still just as crisp as when I purchased it.

Basil – DO NOT wash it before storing. Place it loosely in a sealed jar with a slightly damp paper towel on the counter. This one will not last weeks but it will last longer than the one night when left in the fridge. My best advice is to grow your own.

Tomatoes – Do not put tomatoes in the fridge. They lose their flavour. Place them in a bowl on your counter and don’t wash them until it’s time to use them.

 

Other produce to store without plastic:

Asparagus – Keep them standing in a jar of water out of the fridge.

Avocado – Leave them on the counter if you want them to ripen. Put them in the fridge to stop ripening. To speed up ripening put them in a paper bag with a banana. If you only eat half the avocado, keep the half with the pit in it. It will last longer.

Berries – Do not wash these until you are going to eat them. Place them in the fridge in their carton or in a paper bag.

Broccoli – Wrap broccoli in a damp towel and place in the fridge.

Cauliflower – This is best to purchase shortly before you plan to use it, but will do alright in a closed container in the fridge.

Cherries – Do not wash these until you are going to eat them. Store them in a dry airtight container in the fridge.

Chives, thyme, rosemary, sage – These herbs like to stay dry so don’t wash them and store them in a dry cloth in an airtight container.

Cucumber – Wrap cucumbers in a damp towel in the fridge (unfortunately it’s almost impossible to find them without being wrapped in plastic except for their very short summer season).

Eggplant & Sweet Peppers – Do not wash them until right before eating. Place them dry in your crisper.

Mixed Greens – These need to get eaten relatively quickly so they don’t get slimy but the best way to keep them fresh is to soak them when you bring them home from the grocery store to rehydrate them. Without drying them, place them in a damp cotton produce bag (could also use a pillowcase for this) and stick them in the fridge. You may have to rewet the produce bag after a couple of days to keep the crispness.

Onion, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes & Garlic – store these in a cool dry place like your pantry.

Parsley & Cilantro – These herbs like a little bit of moisture. You can store them on your counter in a jar of water but make sure none of the leaves are submerged and change the water daily.

Snap Peas – Place these in an open container in the fridge.

Stone Fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines) – Store these on the counter until they are ripe. Then put them in the fridge to halt ripening. They taste best at room temperature though .

Zucchini – Wrap zucchini in a cloth and refrigerate.

 

When I only use half of a vegetable or fruit, I use beeswax wraps to cover it up and save it. Beeswax wraps act as  a skin on fruits and vegetables and are breathable so actually keep produce fresher than plastic wrap would have. Just make sure to care for them properly – using gentle soap and cool water to clean them. Try these ones, made right here in Hamilton out of scrap linen that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

 

There you have it – my guide on how to store produce without plastic. I of course did not make these up but have tested out most of these from other guides and have adapted them with some trial and error.

 

 

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