(ModernSurvival.org) – Wasted food is a massive problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of the US food supply is wasted each year. In 2010, roughly $161 billion worth of food was wasted.
While these statistics are taken from every stage of the food supply chain from production to the consumer, they still ring true in the average home. For instance, how often do fresh fruits and vegetables spoil in the refrigerator and have to be tossed in the garbage? While produce does tend to spoil rather quickly, storing it in the wrong conditions can accelerate the rate at which it goes bad.
So how can a person store their produce to ensure it achieves its maximum shelf life? Read on to find out.
Don’t Refrigerate These
Refrigeration has changed the lives of millions of people around the globe. It has opened the doors to allow the storage of food for much greater lengths of time. However, there are some fruits and vegetables that do better without it.
The following produce should be stored on a countertop:
- Onions (not scallions)
- Sweet potatoes
- Citrus Fruits
- Bell peppers
- Winter squash (butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash)
As an added tip, make sure not to store potatoes and onions near one another. Onions release gases which will cause the potatoes to sprout. Additionally, don’t store potatoes in plastic bags. Potatoes will accumulate moisture in the bag and begin to mold.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to store fruits and vegetables together in the same container. Much as onions will cause potatoes to sprout, many fruits will cause vegetables to spoil faster when in close proximity to each other.
Put These in the Fridge
On the other end of the spectrum, some fruits and vegetables do better in the fridge than on the counter. Most leafy greens will last much longer in the fridge. Here are some other fruits and vegetables that need refrigeration:
- Broccoli and broccolini
- Brussels sprouts
- Summer squash
- Most berries
Unfortunately, regardless of storage method, fruits and vegetables will go bad eventually. Even when produce has outlived its usefulness in the kitchen, it can still be put to work. To prevent rotten produce from becoming a total loss, toss it in a compost pile instead of the garbage can.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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