Nutrition Blog

Food is expensive and organic food is even more weighty on the pocket book, which is why you need to maximize the life of your food by storing it properly.  A good place to start would be to notice how food is kept/stored at the grocery store.  However, keep in mind that grocery stores are temperature controlled and many homes are not, especially in the summer months, so room temperature is no longer applicable and heat tends to ripen or spoil foods more quickly. With this in mind, take a look at the basic methods for storing 12 common alkaline foods. 

1. Tomatoes
should be stored at room temperature (not the refrigerator) and not washed until ready to eat.  They should not be put or kept in plastic bags and must be kept out of direct sunlight.  Keep in a bowl lined with paper towel.

2. Mushrooms can be kept in a cool, dry place or a refrigerator. If they came prepackaged, leave them in the packaging until ready to use and only wash immediately before use.  Once prepackaged mushrooms are opened or if you bought them loose you’ll want to put them in a paper bag (not a plastic bag) which will absorb moisture. Mushrooms absorb odors easily so keep them away from fragrant foods.

3. Potatoes and other roots vegetables do best in a cool dry place with a lot of ventilation like a cellar.  If the temperature is too warm and not well ventilated, roots will grow from them.  Also avoid keeping them in the fridge since the natural starch in potatoes turns to sugar at cold temperatures. 

4. There are many ways to keep herbs fresh longer. My favorite way is to wash them first, dry, cut off the ends, and put them in a glass of water like a little bunch of flowers in the refrigerator.

5. Ripe peaches, pears, plums and mangos should then be refrigerated.  However, if they are not yet ripe they can be ripened at room temperature in a brown bag.  Once ripeness is achieved, place in the fridge.

6. Lemons and limes can be keep at room temperature or in the fridge.  However, keep in mind that they tend to absorb odors from other foods if keep in the refrigerator. 

7. Apples are hardy and can be stored in the refrigerator or a cool dark location for quite some time. Many people make the mistake of storing apples in a bowl with other fruit. Do not store apples near other produce unless you want to hasten their ripening.  A little trick to speed up ripening of foods like avocados, peaches, plums and bananas is to place them near or in a bag with an apple.

8. Bananas should be kept at room temperature.  Heat will hasten the ripening. This is problematic in the summer months if houses are warmer than usual.  Buy your bananas at varying levels of ripeness depending on they time you intend to consume them.  If a banana becomes ripe on the counter before you are ready to eat it, place it in the fridge. Even though the peel will turn dark brown, the inside will remain white for up to 4 days longer than if they were left on the counter.  

9. Store blueberries and raspberries at home in the original plastic storage container from the market in the refrigerator. Do not wash until you are ready to eat them. The same goes for strawberries.  Also do not remove the stems until ready to eat.  It is also a good idea to immediately remove any spoiled berries from the bunch to prevent the spreading of rot.

10. Grapes, like berries should be stores in the refrigerator in the plastic bag or container they came in and should not be washed until ready to eat.  Also remove any spoiled grapes from the bunch.

11. Store ripe avocados in the refrigerator. Store unripe ones at room temperature out of direct sunlight.  Buy avocados at various levels of ripeness according to when you plan on eating them.

12.  Spinach should be stored unwashed in original packaging in the refrigerator until ready to use. If it's loose spinach, put in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Keep in mind that organic produce has a shorter shelf life than conventionally grown produce.  Since organic food is even more expensive, don’t let any go to waste.  If any fruit or vegetables are not going to be eaten before they start spoiling, freeze it and use in the your green smoothies. 

There are many other tricks for storing fruits and vegetables to extend shelf life.  These are just some of the basics. Please share some of your ideas with us.

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