5 Habits To Help Keep Food Fresh

published Feb 22, 2013
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We’re starting to round a corner where maybe, just maybe, we can sense spring in the air. We’ve had a few hopeful days here in Seattle, and I’m eagerly awaiting spring produce at the farmers’ market. So now is a great time to start thinking and planning for things you can do around the house to keep your food fresher for longer.

I find there’s a delicate balance between being realistic about how much time I have in the kitchen to really prepare, rinse, and store ingredients when I bring them home and what it’s common sense to increase shelf-life. Here are a few things I do at home that you may already do, or you may find helpful.

5 Habits to Keep Food Fresh

1. Keep Fruits and Veggies Separate: Some fruits give off high levels of ethylene and can speed up the ripening (and spoiling) of nearby vegetables. If you have the refrigerator space, you can designate one crisper drawer for veggies and one for fruits.
2. Store Fresh Herbs Smarter: Place your fresh herbs in a little glass of water (as though they were a bouquet) and use them as you need them.
3. Snip Those Leafy Stems: Cutting the leafy stems off of beets and carrots when you bring them home increases their shelf-life exponentially. I generally leave about 1 1/2 inches to ensure the vegetable won’t dry out. If you use the stems, great! But snip them and store them separately.
4. Consider Refrigerating or Freezing Breads: Depending on how quickly you go through sliced breads, baguettes or bakery items, it may make sense to store them in the refrigerator to increase shelf-life. Or even the freezer. I love having a baguette around to make sandwiches and have with soup, but there’s only two of us and we can’t usually eat an entire baguette before it goes bad so I buy one, pre-slice it and throw it in the freezer and we just thaw a few pieces as we need them.
5. Grind Your Coffee Per Pot: I don’t always adhere to this rule. There are weeks when we buy pre-ground coffee to make life easier. But I do notice that when we grind our beans fresh each morning, the coffee tastes better. Sure, it’s not going to go “bad” if you don’t, but you’ll likely be able to tell a difference with your morning cup of joe.

Do you have any great tips for keeping food fresher and tastier as we slowly creep towards spring?

Related: Are There Any Foods that Should Never Be Stored in the Fridge?