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Freezing raw veggies

Freezing raw veggies
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Before vegetables make it into the frozen food aisle, they’re actually blanched – meaning they’re scalded in boiling water or steamed for a few minutes, then submerged in ice water to halt the cooking process in its tracks, Owens says. If you want to prolong the life of your fresh vegetables by freezing them, it’s recommended that you blanch them first, she says.

Storing vegetables in plastic bags

Storing vegetables in plastic bags
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Although plastic bags are ubiquitous in the produce aisle, they’re actually the worst way to store your  fruit and veggies, Portnoy says. All produce needs room to breathe, so those little plastic bags are tantamount to suffocation. Instead, opt for reusable produce bags; at the very least, free your produce from plastic when you bring it home.

Buying produce out of season – or from out of town

Buying produce out of season – or from out of town
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“Produce that is grown out of season in regions not local to your area require longer transportation times that can take up to a week or more to arrive at your local grocery store,” says Owens. She explains that extended travel times can result in greater nutrient losses, not to mention the negative impact the transportation has on the environment and your wallet.

Skipping a shopping list

Skipping a shopping list
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Those juicy red peppers, enticing avocados and layers of luscious leafy greens may all be calling your name, but be honest – will you be able to eat them before they spoil? Food waste is a huge issue around the world. “A lot of the time people have good intentions to eat the produce they buy, but things come up and food gets thrown out,” says Owens. By writing a shopping list before you leave home, you’ll buy only what you need. If you do buy extra, blanch it and freeze it.

Chopping before storing

Chopping before storing
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Cutting up produce too far ahead of time is a no-no, says Owens. “The longer the chopped produce is exposed to light and air, the more susceptible it is to nutrient losses.”

Misusing your crisper drawer

Misusing your crisper drawer
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Owens advises against cramming all your produce in the fridge. But when you do put it in there, be sure to use the crisper. This drawer can control humidity and temperature, creating an optimal environment for prolonging the life of certain foods. Close the vents and the humidity goes up, which is ideal for leafy greens, asparagus, berries, broccoli and beans. Low humidity (open vents) is optimal for ethylene-producing produce like avocados, tree fruits (apples, peaches, plums, etc.), and melons.

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Buying all your produce at the supermarket

Buying all your produce at the supermarket
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Many fruit and veggies are simply riper and juicier at local farmers’ markets than at the supermarkets. Buying your tomatoes and summer squash in the same place you buy your cereal and meat may sound convenient, but opting for smaller markets can be worth the extra effort, Taub-Dix says.

Storing hot veggies in the fridge

Storing hot veggies in the fridge
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If you cooked an abundance of farmers’ market fare and want to store leftovers for lunch tomorrow, wait until the veggies cool before placing them in plastic containers in the refrigerator, Portnoy says. Hot food can actually become contaminated in the fridge, so wait for it to drop to room temperature first. That said, don’t let it sit at room temperature for more than two hours or contamination can kick in.

Cutting produce and meat on the same surface

Cutting produce and meat on the same surface
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Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, which can easily contaminate other, ready-to-eat foods. Chopping up fruit and veggies on the same cutting board as chicken and beef will most likely give you food poisoning, Portnoy says. Use separate cutting boards for meat and produce, wash all cutting boards thoroughly with soap and hot water, and toss a cutting board when it has too many cuts and crevices that could trap live bacteria, she says.

 

Passing up fruit and veggies with spots

Passing up fruit and veggies with spots
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Speckles or spots on produce doesn’t necessarily mean it’s rotten or even bruised, Taub-Dix says. These blemishes are usually just cosmetic, and the fruit and veggies are perfectly safe to eat. Imperfect and ‘ugly’ produce is just as nutritious as cosmetically perfect produce. Buying ugly produce can often be nabbed at a discount and helps reduce the amount of food going to landfill.

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Source: RD.com

 

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