Save a Bag and Still Save Your Produce

This topic concerns an important issue that I have personally struggled with. Many of us, myself included, realize that the plastic produce bags we put our veggies in aren’t great for the environment. And if like me, you have tried to forgo them, only to discover that your greens have wilted and your carrots have gone limp in the fridge, take heart. There is a solution!

First, a little background. Plastic bags are made with non-renewable resources. They don’t break down in landfills, they’re difficult to recycle, and they are causing the senseless death of birds, sea life, and other animals on a catastrophic level. What makes this situation even more unfortunate is that these very damaging plastics are often intended for one-time use and are discarded as soon as they serve our purpose.

In fact, nearly 60,000 plastic bags are being consumed in the United States every 5 seconds. That is a staggering statistic, and even though many stores have ceased to offer plastic bags for groceries, we are still filling our reusable canvas bags with fruits and produce wrapped in plastic produce bags.

Such a practice doesn’t make much sense considering the deservedly bad reputation plastic has received over the last decade or so. Most items found in the produce section can easily be put in your cart without the bag, but often we use the bag anyway. This is because without the bag, we would end up with wilted vegetables in the refrigerator just a few days later.

Well, not necessarily. There are several newer companies out there selling reusable bags for produce, but you can also store fruits and veggies without the need for bags if you know how to best store them..

Here are some bag-free storage tips for some commonly purchased fruits and vegetables:

Beets
Leaving any top on root vegetable will draw moisture from the root, causing them to lose flavor and firmness. Be sure to cut off the tops before washing them and storing them in an open container with a wet towel over the top.

Carrots
Cutting the tops off keeps them fresher longer. Wrap carrots in a damp towel and store in a closed container in the fridge

Cucumber
Wrap in a moist towel and store in the fridge.

Greens
Keep in an airtight container covered with a damp cloth in the fridge.

Spinach
Store loose in an open container in the crisper. Keep cool and use soon as possible.

Strawberries
Store in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week.

Citrus
Store in a cool place, but not in an airtight container.

Of course, remember to bring your reusable canvas bags with you whenever you go shopping. My husband jokingly calls me a bag lady since I always keep several in the trunk of our car. Hey, you never know when you’ll need them.

With love,

 

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