There are two kinds of grocery shoppers: those who write out exactly what they need to make their pre-planned recipes for the week, and those who run through the store and grab whatever looks good or is on sale. Whichever kind you are, you’ve probably found yourself at least once staring at a fridge full of rotten fruit and wilted vegetables at the end of the week, frustrated that you weren’t able to use them all. Well, you’re not alone. Did you know that roughly 40 percent of food grown in the U.S. does not get eaten?
Not all fruits and vegetables freeze well, but one easy way to cut back on wasting them is simply to buy foods that will last you longer. Berries and bananas spoil very quickly, so buy them sparingly and eat or freeze them quickly.
When you don’t have a game plan but want to stock up on leafy greens, try buying cabbage instead of lettuce or kale. Cabbage can stay good for more than two weeks, so you should have enough time to make that slaw. We recommend storing cabbage in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. To maximize freshness, don’t cut or wash it until you’re ready to use it.
Onions and garlic add a much-needed savory punch to almost any entree, and they stay good for ages – up to a couple of months. Yellow onions last the longest. Here’s how to store them.
Potatoes are another versatile, vitamin-packed food that lasts forever. Well, ok, not forever, but you can get a good two to three months out of them. Not bad. Just keep them away from your onions – they age each other. Sweet potatoes are a different story -- the sugars will age them much faster, so keep an eye on them.
Whole, unwashed carrots and beets can last for up to three weeks in your fridge. Cut the green stems off to slow down water loss, and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Green peppers last for two to three weeks, since they are low in sugar. Opt for ones that feel heavy and have tight, unwrinkled skin. Keep them in a plastic bag in the crisper.
Winter squash lasts for more than a month outside of the refrigerator, while uncut watermelon can give you a good week or two in the fridge.