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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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organic living journey how to properly store produce part 3

The following is part of an Organic Journey guest post series written by Amy, a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.

This was a small shopping week. I spent around $60, half of which was spent on the last batch of fresh peaches this summer.  I just bought a new toy, an amazing dehydrator.  After watching this video I was inspired.  We have been making peach fruit leathers and all sorts of other treats, but more about that later.  For now we need to finish learning how to store our fruits (at least the ones that haven’t gotten dehydrated!)

Fruit

Apples
Sorting is huge when you want your apples to last a long time.  The old cliche about “one bad apple ruining the bunch” is there for a reason.  I just got a bushel of apples and immediately pulled out the apples that had bruises.  The bruised apples got put on a shelf in the fridge to be eaten first.  Apparently, the bruises give off more ethylene gas and will cause all of the apples to ripen faster (and thus rot faster).  Apples are best stored at 30-35º.  Have you ever left apples on the counter for a few days?  They start to get pretty mealy.  So, put them in the fridge in the crisper drawer, and they will last for weeks.

Citrus (Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruits, etc.)
All of your citrus fruits will last about a week on your counter, but they will last much longer in the crisper drawer of your fridge.  I have had oranges that lasted well over a month.

Pears
Pears are rather tricky fruits as they are supposed to be picked before they are fully ripened.  If you are picking pears fresh off of the tree, I recommend reading Oregon State University’s article on When to Pick and How to Ripen Pears to Perfection.  If you buy your pears from the grocery store, they recommend letting the pears ripen in temperatures ranging from 65-75º for 4-10 days depending on the type of pear you have purchased.  Put them in the fridge after that if you aren’t ready to eat them, but you want to eat them soon to get the full goodness that the pear has to offer!

Bananas
Store them on the counter and allow them to continue to ripen.  If you have uber ripe bananas and aren’t ready to eat them yet, you can pop them into the freezer whole.  When you are ready to use them (for smoothies or mashed up in some yummy banana bread!), you can remove them from the freezer and either let them thaw or run them under warm water and the peel will be easily removed.  Another fun trick for storing bananas is that you can buy a cheap hook from home depot and screw it underneath your cabinets for an easy way to store bananas so they don’t get bruises where they have been resting on your counter.

Grapes
Don’t wash grapes when you get them home, in fact, leave them in the plastic perforated bag and put them in your fridge.  They will last 3-5 days.  I like to have my girls pull all of the grapes off of the stems, then I will wash them and put them in a bowl in the fridge with a cloth napkin or paper towel at the bottom of the bowl to absorb the extra water.  This way when somebody has the munchies in my house, they can open the fridge and grab a handful of grapes.

Peaches (and other soft flesh fruit)
With as many peaches as we have been buying lately, I feel like I should be an expert on this one!  Let peaches ripen on the countertop, but once they are ripe, put them in the fridge in a plastic bag to prolong their life.  They still won’t last long, 3-5 days, at most in the fridge.
Don’t put them in the fridge if they aren’t ripe because they won’t ever ripen and will taste blah!

Berries
Several of my friends used a vinegar rinse on their berries this summer and saw a tremendous difference in how long they lasted.  Just make sure that if you use a rinse, you thoroughly dry your berries before you put them back in the fridge because excess moisture causes decay (notice a theme?)  Berries won’t continue to ripen after they have been picked, so make sure you choose ones that look beautiful.  The packaging that berries come in are great for storing in the fridge, and remember that berries don’t last long, just a few days, so eat them fast!

Pineapple
We love getting pineapples from the farmer’s market, and last time that I was there, a fellow shopper taught me that you can tell if a pineapple is ripe by pulling on one of the leaves.  If it comes out easily, it is ripe.  I like just smelling the pineapple.  You can tell a lot about a pineapple by how it smells.  You can store pineapples in the fridge or on the counter (if you haven’t cut them) for a few days.

Kiwi
Did you know that there are multiple kinds of kiwi?  I didn’t.  Most of the time, we have the fuzzy kind in our grocery stores.  Those are best stored in the fridge in perforated plastic bags away from other ripening fruits per Oregon State University.

Cantaloupe
If your cantaloupe is not ripe when you buy it (you can tell by smelling the stem scar), leave it on the counter, but watch it carefully!  Cantaloupes ripen quickly and can go from amazing to mush in a day.  You can store ripened cantaloupes in the crisper drawer of your fridge for about 5 days.  (and thanks to UC Davis for teaching me that the soft spot is called a stem scar!)

There are other bags, containers and even blu apples that do everything from absorbing the ethylene gases released to draining off excess water and controlling the humidity (much like your drawers in your fridge, only in a foolproof form)!  All of these things claim that your produce will last longer if you use them, but to be honest, I haven’t used any of them and don’t know how well they work.  I’ve seen a number of comments on these posts talking about significant differences.  The logic behind it makes enough sense to me that several of these products have made it onto my Christmas wishlist.  Also, if you want to learn more about ethylene, here is a detailed article explaining what it is and how it works.

I’d love to know any tricks that you have found that work wonders, or are you a big fan of a certain type of container for storing your produce?  Please share and we will all be the wiser for it!

    • I didn’t know that about unripe peaches. I always throw them in the fridge – no wonder they often taste like kaka. Thanks for the tip!

      • amysanders

        me either!  it makes SUCH a difference.  :)

    • I didn’t know that about unripe peaches. I always throw them in the fridge – no wonder they often taste like kaka. Thanks for the tip!

    • Dawn

      I usually wash produce right before using it. Just seems to last longer in the fridge if I don’t rinse it and then store it. But I do the same as you with grapes. So easy to eat a healthy snack if they are ready to pop into your mouth!
      Thanks for the info.

    • Jan

      Any tips or tricks for keeping apples from turning after slicing – I like to put them in a container for lunches.

      • amysanders

        i’ve heard you can put lemon juice on them, but i don’t like the way that tastes.  maybe somebody else has a better idea.  :)

      • Hayley

        I have placed them in apple cider vinegar/ice water solution for 10 minutes or so while slicing all my apples for a party.  Then I dried them and placed them in a ziploc to carry them to the party.  The apples were gone before they turned brown, so I’d say it worked.

      • Jmanley521

        I do an ascorbic acid rinse.  Get some plain vitamin C tablets, grind them into a powder and mix with water.  I do 1-2 tablets per gallon of water.  Slice them, then soak in the water for about 2-3 minutes, then blot dry.  Prevents the browning and is tasteless (and the extra vitamin C is a bonus!)

      • Rkopcha

         I’ve been soaking apples and pears in ginger ale or pineapple juice for a few minutes before putting them in my daughter’s lunchbox.  They sit in the fridge overnight and she says they are white and crisp the next day.  Plus, these liquids are sweet and don’t leave that aftertaste that lemon juice does.

      • Jan

        Thanks everyone for your ideas- I’ll give them a try!

    • Majestab

      Grapes also last longer if you rinse with vinegar (or apple cider vinegar).  This kills any mold/fungi spores picked up from the grocery store. 

    • Lyddiejay

       We are watermelon lovers here and all summer we purchase as many as possible.  To make them an easy treat to grab we immediately cut the whole thing up and remove from the rind and store in containers in the fridge.  All summer dh takes some in a container for snack at work and we eat all the time at home.  This doesn’t help it last but it helps us eat it up fast and makes sure we go a healthy snack instead of junk.  Now we have moved on to apples and grapes and pears. 

    • Minniel0ve

      Blueberries are great if you freeze them. They last forever and I just stock them in there original plastic container. When I want a snack, just pull a handfull out and rinse then in cool water. They thaw really quick and still taste amazing

      • amysanders

        do you get freezer burn when you leave them in the original container?

    • TheChapLeigh

      I just spent the past few days canning pear sauce from the abundance of pears my neighbor had on her trees. I had NO IDEA that pear sauce was even a “thing”, until I googled around & then found my way to the Ball Blue Book where it’s the same process as making applesauce. No added sugar, only cinnamon! Nice to add to the homemade yogurt, to cook with instead of oil, or to top the homemade waffles instead of syrup! Last year I made the same amount of applesauce (roughly 30 quarts) and it didn’t last our family 8 months! So, this is SUCH an added blessing since we will likely have access to all those free apples again this year & soon I’ll be canning that up. Last week I canned a ton of grape jam from the muscadine grapes in our backyard — It is really an awesome thing if you can find a farmer who has excess.
      Thanks for all these topics, I am tuning in now JUST for these posts (well, this and my weekly check for the Harris Teeter list — speaking of which, I second the comment I’d read last week or two ago about Jenny listing the organic/natural items as a “need now” list… that’s all I’m checking for anymore, and often times these items are left off the weekly lists as they may not appear to be sales compared to their conventional counterparts).
      Bless you bless you bless you!!