The Best Ways to Organize Your Veggies So You Can Finally Stop Wasting Food

published Jul 27, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

When it comes to beautiful peak-season produce, we hate to see a good thing go to waste. Does this happen to you, too? You get a little too ambitious and buy piles of veggies — and then, somehow, some of them rot before you use them. And you end up throwing them in the compost bin (or the garbage disposal!).

Well, you’re not alone. In fact, the average American family discards about $1,600 worth of produce annually, according to The Atlantic.

One way to reduce food waste (and save some serious money!) is to pay attention to how we organize and store our veggies. Smart storage can prolong the life of veggies and make it more likely that we’ll use them before they have to be dumped. We’ve pulled together six smart vegetable storage tips you need to know to help your cucumbers, squash, and other greens last just a bit longer.

Credit: Kitchn Video

1. Prep your veggies before storing them.

Getting your produce ready to eat or cook before you stash it in the fridge makes it far more likely that you’ll use it up before it’s no longer good. For instance, peel, wash, and cut the ends off of your carrots, or chop your bell peppers into slices for snacking on.

Washed and ready-to-eat lettuce is so much easier to toss in a bowl with other veggies than a whole head of romaine. By having your veggies ready to consume or cook, you can easily grab them out of the crisper drawer, increasing the likelihood that they’ll actually get eaten. 

2. Remove excess moisture.

Removing excess moisture is another way to extend the longevity of your produce. There are a few ways to do this. One is to pat dry any veggies that are still wet from in-store sprayers or from your own washing.

Another way to absorb excess moisture is to wrap produce (especially greens) in a paper towel before enclosing it in a zip-top bag or a food storage container

3. Separate stalks and leafy tops.

Whenever applicable, cut off leafy tops from their more fibrous stems or roots before putting them away in the fridge. Tops pull moisture from the roots, causing vegetables, such as radishes, turnips, or beets, to shrivel sooner than if the leaves were removed. 

4. Keep them in water.

This feels counterintuitive, especially with the tip above to remove excess moisture. But some hardy vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and potatoes, can actually last longer when stored submerged in water.

Make sure to do this after they’ve been cleaned and cut, and change the water every few days. Another way to store veggies in water is to put them in a glass jar of water, the same way you’d put flowers in a vase. This works well for leafy greens with long stems, such as kale, Swiss chard, or herbs. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

5. Consider specialty storage containers.

Consider finding a storage container in which water can drain through a slatted bottom. These ones from Progressive let you adjust the airflow, depending on what’s best for what you’re storing. Plus, they stack well, and they’re sturdy!

Credit: Lauren Manaker

6. Make them visible.

No matter which veggies you’re storing or how you’re storing them, out of sight is out of mind. Keep your produce at eye level in your fridge and also make it a habit to look over which veggies need to be used up within the next couple of days. 

Need veggie inspiration? We’ve got plenty of recipes! Check out these delicious ideas.

How do you store your veggies? Tell us in the comments below.