5 Things You're Doing Wrong with Your Produce

A Scripted Freelance Writer Writing Sample

Someone should start a campaign to rename the refrigerator's crisper the rotter. It's a much more accurate name for the bin of no return. Fresh, gorgeous vegetables go in, never to be seen again.

Oh, there are plenty of things you will see come out of the rotter: celery so limp you can wiggle it like a noodle, green onions that are an odd combination of crispy parts and slimy parts, and, of course, mushrooms. What's wrong with mushrooms? A lot is wrong when you never had mushrooms to begin with.

If you've lost so much produce in that dastardly bin, take a look at these five things you need to stop doing.

Things You're Doing Wrong When You Store Produce

#1) Washing your produce. Don't look so shocked. The Martha Stewarts among you probably think you're being efficient and organized when you scrub your fruits and vegetables as soon as you get home, so it's ready and waiting. The truth is, the water can contribute to bacterial growth and speed up the decaying process. Wash your produce right before you use it for the longest lifespan.

#2) Keeping bananas on the counter. A lot of people just plop their bananas on the countertop when they get home. Don't be so smug if you go as far as putting them in a fruit bowl or basket. Everybody knows bananas go bad quickly, but the best way to prevent spoilage is to hang them. You can splurge on a fancy banana hanger, or simply thread a piece of yarn through them and hang them on a peg or a cabinet handle.

#3) Refrigerating tomatoes. You may like a plate of cold sliced cukes and tomatoes, but it comes at a cost. Putting tomatoes in the fridge destroys the flavor, and no one wants a tasteless tomato. What would be the point of living in the South? Store them in a dry place, or even better: the windowsill.

#4) Keeping mushrooms in their plastic wrap. If you've spent more money on mushrooms that have gone slimy in two days than Joan Rivers has spent on plastic surgery, you need this trick. Remove mushrooms from store packaging, wrap them loosely in paper towels, and refrigerate. The circulating air keeps them in good shape for quite awhile.

#5) Storing celery dry. Celery works in the opposite way from mushrooms, and it thrives on moisture. Remember the tip about not washing your veggies? Forget that rule when it comes to celery. A quick dunk before you stick it in the rotter will keep it crisp much longer. Celery gone limp? Put it in a plastic container or bowl with some ice water. It will actually re-crisp.

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Kelly Robinson is a seasoned freelancer with bylines in major print magazines like Smithsonian, Curve, History, and Rue Morgue. As a copywriter, she's concocted clever campaigns for everything from whoopie cushions to high-end champagne.

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