How To Preserve Produce

Don’t you just hate spending money on vegetables and fruits only to find that half of it rots before you can eat it?  If you look at a banana wrong, it’ll start to brown.  Below I’ve listed some tips on how I preserve produce and have less waste.
1) Buy to Eat
Produce is one thing that you don’t want to buy in bulk unless you plan to use it all immediately.  Onions and garlic tend to last for quite awhile, but other produce will spoil in the course of a few days if unused-especially peppers and squash.  It may be wise to buy what you plan to eat immediately or within a day or two.
2) Un-bagging
 Salad lettuce in particular, but other vegetables as well,  keep well when they are removed from the plastic bags in which they came.  Wash the vegetables, towel dry them, and wrap them in paper towels before putting them in the refrigerator.  I’ve found that they last so much longer with this method.  
3)  Juices and Smoothies
 If you don’t own a juice maker, smoothies are another great way to use extra produce.  Juices and smoothies are things that I consume weekly.  Sometimes I only make them to get rid of extra produce.  Start with this yummy Apple Jack Smoothie by Happy Herbivore.
4)  Dried Herbs
If you ever have extra herbs laying around that need to be used here’s what you can do.  Wash the herbs and towel dry them.  Tie the ends/stems of the herbs with a rubber band or twist tie.  Place them in a paper bag, end-side up.  Tie another band around the opening of the bag to close it.  Hang the bags in a cool, dry place for 1-2 weeks.  Remove the herbs from the bag and process them or break them into small pieces.  Place them in a plastic or glass jar.  They will last for up to one year.
5)  Canning and Freezing
Canning vegetables and fruits may be foreign concept to many people.  I’m still learning this process myself (because I can’t bear to buy pasta sauce in a jar anymore).  There are tons of books that explain the process of canning and jarring produce.  Here is a popular one.  Produce can last for years with this technique!  Most fruits can be frozen for long periods of time.  This is something I do often with bananas since they brown quickly.  Browned/ripe bananas are actually better for baking than yellow ones.  I frequently make faux soft serve ice cream with frozen bananas as well.  If you haven’t tried frozen banana soft serve than you absolutely should as soon as possible, it’s amazing!
I hope these tips save you some cash and frustration! 😉

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