Food Waste Series #2: Change the way you store your produce at home
I'm not the most organized person when it comes to physical spaces. I'm literally writing this blog post on a desk that is loaded with random product samples, receipts, and a shipment of glassware (hint, hint, nudge, nudge something is coming in 2023), but I do very much see the value of being organized in the kitchen.
This blog post is dedicated to produce storage and kitchen organization :) Here we go!
1) Increase the visibility of your produce. Often, we put a produce bag (or paper bag) in the fridge, and then we forget about what's in it or it gets shoved to the back. If this is a problem for you, consider transferring items to see-through containers.
2) If you are shopping with zero-waste intentions, there will be some challenges with produce dehydrating in your fridge. I have some suggestions!
- Vented plastic containers may be your new BFF. For some produce, you want to reduce air exposure (which dehydrates), but you also want a bit of ventilation so that things don't get slimy. It's a happy balance. Grab that cordless drill, and drill some holes in a plastic container. Or drop by Legacy Greens sometime that I'm working, and I'll do this for you! It's fun!
- What loves a vented environment? Apples, root veggies, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, zucchini.
- What veggies prefer air tight containers? Greens and herbs (too much ventilation will dehydrate).
- Your crisper is designed to be a large vented container, but honestly, I never have much success in keeping naked veggies crisp in there. If there are any crisper whisperers out there, send your knowledge my way!
- Herbs - I like to store these dry (shake off any water and let them air dry first) and in an air tight container with a dish cloth on the bottom. The dish cloth absorbs any excess moisture. You can also apply this method to greens, toss them into an air tight container with a dish cloth on the bottom to soak up any excess moisture.
- For more information, we wrote a blog post entirely on storing veggies. You can check that out at: Produce Storage Tips.
3) Get out the Sharpie and create a label that says "Use in the next 48 hours!". Stick this label on a bin and start triaging produce into that bin twice a week. Store this bin in a highly visible area (eye level) and it will motivate you into last minute side salads, soups, or a big veggie stir fry.
4) The night before you do a produce shop, make a habit of using the produce you've accumulating from the week before. I stole this idea from our customer Marko, from Probably Worth Sharing. He makes a habit of cooking up veggies every Tuesday night in anticipation of picking up his produce box from Legacy Greens on Wednesdays. More info on our produce box subscriptions.
5) Lastly, for things that are going to be eaten very soon (or produce that doesn't require as much refrigeration), consider a dedicated space on your counter and bring those beautiful colours out of the fridge! Some produce is better stored at room temperature (ex. garlic, tomatoes) and you can usually get away with potatoes, onions, and squash. If you have a fruit bowl, or create an aesthetically pleasing display of produce in your kitchen, you'll be reminded it exists and your brain will be triggered on ways to eat it!
Hope these tips were helpful in you journey to reduce produce waste at home. Happy eating!