Tired of making multiple trips to the grocery store to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet? Consider stocking up on the slowest perishable fruits and vegetables listed below.
Fruits and vegetables are a crucial component of every healthy diet. Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables tend to not keep as long as other processed and unhealthy foods, making it harder to work into your diet if you lead a busy life and find yourself unable to go to the grocery store multiple times a week. This can be especially true for students trying to tackle a busy learning schedule. The good news is, there are many fruits and vegetables that have a longer shelf life, which makes them the ideal option for those looking to work more fruits and vegetables into their diet, while only making weekly shopping excursions. Check out some of the longest-lasting fruits and vegetables to add to your shopping list and how to store them to maximize their longevity.
Fresh apples don't turn very quickly and can actually keep for almost four weeks without any special preparation. If you are looking to maximize the length of time you can keep your apples, consider putting them into the refrigerator. Refrigeration can allow apples to keep for up to two months. You can easily identify when an apple goes bad as it will become soft on the inside, and the skin will begin to wrinkle.
A vegetable with an amazing shelf life is cabbage. When kept refrigerator, cabbage can last up to two months as long as it does not become bruised. You should avoid washing or cutting your cabbage until you are ready to consume it, as this can cause bruising, which can shorten its longevity.
A fun to eat fruit with a unique flavor, pomegranates, can last for anywhere from one to three weeks. If preparing your pomegranates fo eating by removing and storing the seeds, they can keep for up to a week if stored in an airtight container. The whole fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. You can also freeze the seeds in an airtight container, which can help them last for months. You will know when your pomegranate fruit and seeds go bad as they will begin to turn brown.
A popular and versatile staple in most kitchens, potatoes, are another root vegetable with an impressive lifespan. Most potatoes varieties can last from two to four weeks when stored in the pantry and almost four months when kept refrigerated. To make them last longer, keep them uncut and stored in a cooler location if possible. If you have prepared potatoes, then you can freeze them to store them for up to six months.
Lemons and Limes
Small citrus fruits like lemons and limes can last two weeks when left out and up to a few months when kept refrigerated. The best way to store them in the refrigerator is in a crisper drawer whole. Do not store them in a container as it can make them go bad more quickly. If you have cut into them, they will only last in the refrigerator for a couple of days, so avoid cutting them until you are ready to use them. It is also easy to tell when they go bad as they will begin to mold.
The best way to keep carrots for longer is by choosing fresh, whole carrots. When in this state, carrots can be kept in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for four to five weeks. Once they are peeled or cut, they are likely to only last between two and three weeks. You can make your carrots last even longer, by blanching them and then freezing them. You may notice after a couple of weeks that your carrots develop white spots. This is perfectly normal, and they have simply begun to dry out, but once they become mushy, they have gone bad and should be thrown out.
Onions are another root vegetable that can last anywhere from a month to six weeks when properly stored. Ideally, you will want to keep them whole and unpeeled in a dry place with proper ventilation and little light. If you need to keep them on the counter, you can help them last longer by placing them in a brown lunch bag or a mesh vegetable bag. You can also extend their life by keeping them in the refrigerator, which can give you almost two additional weeks of freshness.
Another member of the cabbage family, Brussel sprouts, are a good option for those who are looking for a long-lasting vegetable. Without proper storage, you will only be able to keep Brussel sprouts for a week, but can help them last up to five weeks by keeping them cold. Refrigerating them at around 32 degrees Fahrenheit will achieve this goal. Ideally, you will want to store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator drawer as dry as possible. Don't wash them until you are ready to use them, or it could make them spoil more quickly. You will know they have begun to turn when you notice they have begun to get soft, and the leaves show brown spots.
As a citrus fruit, oranges also keep well though maybe not as long as small citrus options. When left out on the counter, your orange will last up to two weeks, but when kept in the fruit drawer in your refrigerator, you can enjoy them for up to two months. Always make sure to keep them intact before eating and keep an eye out for discoloration or mold spots, which can be an indication that they have spoiled.
Cauliflower is a hearty vegetable and can be kept at the peak of freshness for up to four weeks when it is stored properly. Start by removing the excess leaves and then wrap the whole head of cauliflower in a damp towel inside a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Do not wash before storing. Once you have washed and broken the cauliflower apart, it can still stay fresh for two weeks as long as it is kept cold in the refrigerator.
As with other root vegetables, squash has a quite impressive shelf life. Always be sure to keep it whole, especially for butternut and winter varieties. They will last the same amount of time on the counter and refrigerator if left uncut, lasting anywhere from one to three months. It is important to note that if you do choose to refrigerate the squash, it can slightly alter the texture and flavor of it. You can keep your squash even longer by storing your squash in the freezer. When stored this way, the squash will last up to eight months. You will know when your squash goes bad as it will get soft and begin to show mold.
Celery is a versatile vegetable used in a number of recipes from potato salads to soups and also is a great snack on its own or with peanut butter. While it can last for a while it can become limp if not stored properly. To keep it crisp and fresh, be sure to wrap it in aluminum foil. When secured in plastic it will actually build up gas, which can lead to it becoming spoiled more quickly. When stored in foil, celery will stay good in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Even though beets are not a popular vegetable eaten on their own, they can be tasty when cooked and incorporated into a wide variety of recipes. They also come with the added benefit of lasting for a significantly long time when stored in the refrigerator. To start, you will want to remove the green tops immediately as they will quickly cause them to soften if not removed. Then store them unwashed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer, and they will stay firm and flavorful for up to three months. You can choose to store them for up to a year by pickling and canning them.
By adding some of the fruits and vegetables from the list above to your shopping list, you can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables with your meals without having to make daily trips to the grocery store.