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Here's Why You're Storing Your Food Wrong

You may be working really hard at eating healthier but, try as you might, you just can’t consume all your fruits and veggies before they go bad. For those of us who can’t fit in frequent trips to the grocery store or farm stand, it can be frustrating—and costly—to watch your fresh produce get soft or moldy at the end of every week. 

According to the editors at Real Simple, however, you might just be storing your fruits and vegetables the wrong way. Try the following strategies to help preserve your produce a little longer.

Citrus. For your oranges, lemons and limes, keep them in a bowl or fruit stand on your counter. However, as soon as they’re slightly past ripe, pop them in the fridge to preserve them longer. If your citrus is past the point of preserving, slice them up and freeze them…then add them to your water or mixed drinks.

Avocados and tomatoes. If avocados and tomatoes are very firm when you get them home from the store, leave them out on your counter. Check them often, and as soon as they’re soft, transfer them to the fridge so they’ll last longer. If you find yourself with overly ripe avocados, it’s time to make guacamole. Tomatoes past their prime? Whip up some fresh sauce for pasta or a serving of fresh salsa.

Lettuce and leafy greens. When you get home from the store, immediately wash lettuce and run it through the salad spinner. Let it air dry until all moisture is absorbed then wrap the leaves in a paper towel and place in a food storage container so that they don’t get soggy. This pre-washing strategy will make it quick and easy to whip up a salad at the end of the day or add a little lettuce to sandwiches and burgers.

Onions and potatoes. These products should be removed from the bags they’re purchased in and stored loose in a basket. Place the basket in a cool, dark place, such as a basement or garage. Never keep them in a plastic bag, which will encourage rotting. Once you slice onions, store them in a plastic container in the fridge—they’ll last about a week this way. Or keep them in the freezer to last longer.

Apples and bananas. Apples should be placed in a bowl on your counter and kept out of direct sunlight. Bananas ripen quickly so buy them on the green side. They also release a large amount of ethylene gas, which can make other fruits and vegetables go bad, so be sure to store them separately. Hanging them from a banana tree will help prevent them from bruising.