Proper storage can extend life of produce


At the Rawfully Organic Co-Op in West University, it's abuzz with co-op members picking up their shares.

"We are a food community that basically distributes all organic, fresh, ripe and as much as local as possible produce," Rawfully Organic's founder Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram said.

For some members, it's a lot of produce.

"Sometimes it's hard to get through the whole box. But if we didn't have the box and we didn't have the fruits and vegetables available, we wouldn't be eating the way I am eating," co-op customer Jennifer Besmehn said.

Other members have figured out how to get their produce to go the distance.

"I found that if you refrigerate your produce, it will last a lot longer," co-op customer Angie Hamann said.

So to find out how to keep produce fresh longer, we turn to Carrillo-Bucaram. For eight years, her diet has consisted of only raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

"I have become, I like to say, a master at storing my produce, using my produce and making sure I get the most for my dollar and that's making sure I use every morsel," she said.

Tip number one: Bag your greens. Keep them in plastic bags and seal them up for maximum freshness.

"You can spritz it with water and put it in a Ziploc bag. That'll keep it fresh for twice as a long," Carrillo-Bucaram said.

Tip No. 2: Rotate your produce.

"Learn how to organize your vegetable so you have all your ripe produce in the front and the all the non-ripe produce in the back," Carrillo-Bucaram said.

Tip No. 3: Store all your fruit outside of the fridge and all your vegetables in the fridge.

"The few exceptions would be berries, which I always put on top of the fridge because that's where it ventilates the most; it keeps the berries from getting moldy. Cucumbers go in the fridge," Carrillo-Bucaram said.

And don't block those air vents.

One more item to keep out of the fridge is tomatoes.

"Tomatoes taste the best and they ripen the best when you just let them sit out on your counter," Carrillo-Bucaram said.

Tip No. 4: Be creative with your produce. That means creating cucumber noodles to mimic pasta or make a kale, banana and mango smoothie.

"Three simple ingredients is all you need to use a few things in your fridge, have a nutritious meal," Carrillo-Bucaram said. "It's low in fat, high in nutrients and it will help you feel amazing."

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