Nothing puts a dent in your day like discovering moldy, wrinkled fruits and veggies in your kitchen. Here are four natural tricks to keep your produce fresher, longer! Are you Chipper for fresh food?
Case #1: Moldy Berries
The tragic tale of berries gone bad too soon (but they were so new!) doesn’t have to plague your kitchen any longer. All you have to do is take your berries, soak them in a bowl of vinegar and water, dry in a salad spinner, and put in a partially sealed, towel-lined bowl and voila! — they will be mold-free for up to seven days! Hopefully by that time you’ll have already used them in a delicious berry smoothie! Add some to your family’s morning cereal or in some yogurt as a tasty yet healthy snack!
Case #2: Browning Avocados
Avocados make for great party guacamole, but nobody wants to dip their chips in a bowl full of browned mush (besides, it tastes funny). Avocados turn brown when they contact oxygen. So, simple solution: don’t let air near your avocados. Many try to do this with plastic wrap or sealed containers. But let’s face it — that never works very well. (Plus, food doesn’t like plastic!) Instead, put the cut avocado in a bowl on top of some onion slices. Th e sulfur in onion’s will slow down the browning process! Plus, they’ll taste extra good when your make that guac!
Case #3: Ailing Apples
Avoiding ailing apples can be somewhat tricky. While uneaten apples are generally resilient to molding or bruising for about a week or even two, the moment you slice them open, they remain white for only a few minutes before they begin to turn yellow and brown…then your little ones probably won’t like to eat them when they open their school lunch! This doesn’t mean your apples are no longer fresh — really, they are! But the immediate browning can make it appear that those slices have been sitting out for a while. The reason for this? Apples, similar to potatoes, have a special enzyme in them that reacts when exposed to oxygen. The reaction forms a type of rust on the surface of the apple that we see as the browning effect, and it actually does cause the apple to spoil at a slow rate.
But there is hope! In order to keep your apples looking fresh, simply do the following:
After you cut your apple slices, immediately soak them into a bowl of cold water mixed with salt (about 1/8 of a cup of table salt mixed in one quart of water per apple). Afterward, rinse the apples under cold water. It won’t leave an overwhelming salty taste. Because salt acts as a preservative, it does just that: preserves the apple from oxidizing! Or, if you’d like to keep your fruits a bit more citrusy, you can also soak your apples in lemon juice, orange juice, or any other type of acidic juice, which will counter the oxidization process as well. Your healthy treat shouldn’t just taste good — it should look good too!
Case #4: Atrophied Asparagus
Packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, asparagus is always a great vegetable to add to your diet. Yet while it is renowned for the health benefits it provides, it is simultaneously notorious for its shelf life. Asparagus stored in the refrigerator lasts for only about two days after it is has been bought from the market. If you are an avid asparagus eater, you know that the stalks shrink in size, crispness, and taste if you don’t cook them within 48 hours. Their shriveled and wrinkled appearance isn’t an indication that the thermostat in your fridge is too low, but a result of asparagus’s respiration rate (or the rate in which fruits and vegetable spoil), which is high. Of course, the best way to enjoy this delicious veg is to cook it the day it’s bought. But that isn’t always going to be the case!
So here’s your plan B. Another great way to ensure that your asparagus doesn’t become your next produce casualty is to do the following:
Cut off about an inch from the bottom of the stalks. Then, store upright in a cup, vase, or jar of room-temperature water. Lastly, cover the tops of the asparagus with a plastic bag (grocery bags or ziplocs will work) to retain moisture, and store in the refrigerator. Your asparagus will last a few days longer and taste new and fresh!
Recipe: Kale Krispies2
We are so Chipper for kale! This versatile veggie is a good source of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Making a salad or sauteing it with some garlic are some standard ways to enjoy kale. Sometimes though, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and that big bunch of kale is starting to look a little wilted. So is it time to throw it out? No way! Instead, make a healthy snack for when you’re on-the-go. Kale chips are easy to bake and super tasty so your kids will love this healthy snack as well as you!
- a bunch (or two!) of kale
- 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (depending on batch size)
- sea salt
- cookie sheet(s)
- parchment paper
- a mixing bowl
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and prep your cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
Rinse off the kale and remove the stem. You should now have some generous-size strips of kale. Tear the strips into smaller pieces and toss it in the bowl.
Drizzle (lightly) with olive oil and add a few dashes of sea salt.
At this point, you could spread the kale out on your prepped cookie sheet(s), pop them in the oven for 12-15 minutes (or until slightly browned around the edges) and come out with some yummy kale snacks.
You get a little creative with it! Add some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little heat or whatever other seasonings you or the Kids love! Or add a lemon to the mix for some extra flavor. Maybe try some parmesan cheese or hickory BBQ seasoning on a batch. There are tons of possibilities, but whether you’re a vegetarian or just want to try something new, you’ll be addicted to kale chips before you know it! Let’s Go Chipper and eat some fresh and healthy food!