If you’re like me, getting dinner on the table before 7 pm can be quite a challenge. And since we’ve switched to “clean” eating (i.e. mainly fresh foods) sorting through all the produce to see what we have, and what needs to be cooked first, has just added one more thing to deal with while trying cook.
What I needed was something that made produce storage easier. A way to actually see what I have, and be able to date it as well, so the produce doesn’t spoil before it’s used. Besides, the piled up mess that was most of the shelves in my refrigerator was really making me a little nuts. It sounds like a small thing, but little stuff adds up.
So I headed out one day to find something that would be helpful in storing produce and organizing my produce shelves. Thus helping all those good-for-you veggies to last long enough to be eaten. For me, that’s about a week or so; I don’t enjoy shopping so much that I want to do it two or three times a week. So…veggies need to last.
Products for Storing Produce
Because I didn’t want to pay a fortune for whatever handy-dandy produce saving product I was going to find, I started at Walmart. And I found “Prep Solutions Produce Keepers.” Sounded like a winner. So I got two of them since that’s all they had. I spent less than $40.00 for all three, which I felt was pretty reasonable. Then I swung by and picked up some semi-disposable containers as well. So far, the Produce keepers are great! There are a couple of nifty features that help these actually work. First, they come with a built in vent so veggies that need air can get it, and veggies that don’t do well with air are protected from it. It also has a divider, so you can store veggies with the same storage requirements in one container. If you don’t want to use the divider, it stores in the detachable water tray. The water tray is for produce that needs water to stay fresh. The whole assembly is dishwasher safe, too. However, possibly the most helpful thing I got with the Produce Keeper was the Freshness Guide. It shows which veggies need to be stored with water, without water, with the vent open, and with the vent closed. Hmmmm. Veggies that don’t need water or air won’t really need to be stored in a Produce Keeper, would they? “No water, Vent Closed” sounds like a semi-disposable storage container to me! But it was great to have a reference for how to store various vegetables to make them last longer. Since I now had options, I decided to use the Produce Keepers for vegetables that need to have water to stay fresh longer.
There’s More Than One Way to Save a Veggie
The first thing I discovered when I tried to use these is that a full head of cauliflower will not fit in a Produce Keeper. Nor will a few heads of broccoli. So I really had no choice but to go ahead and prep these vegetables so they would fit in my nifty new containers. Since I was prepping cauliflower and broccoli, I went ahead and prepped ALL the produce and stored it as suggested by the Freshness Guide. For the most part, this plan has worked out really well. All the vegetables seem to be holding up better, now that they are stored as they should be. I also dated the containers with a grease pencil so I can see which vegetables have been on the shelf the longest. The best thing is that I can SEE everything. No more digging through piles of plastic bags to discover what is buried at the bottom of the pile. The added bonus of using these is that having everything prepped ahead of time. This has been a huge time saver during the week. Dinner gets done faster because the biggest part of the job is already done. No, peeling, chopping, dicing, etc. because I did it before I ever put the produce in the fridge. This is something I am going to keep doing because it’s made such a difference! And the nice, neat, easy-to-see and easy-to-get-to shelves make me happy.