How Long Your Fresh Produce Will Really Last?

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Are you wondering how long your fruits and vegetables will last, and how to tell when produce has gone bad? This handy little guide for the quarantine kitchen  is here to help.

We -are all in the midst of the global COVID-19 Pandemic. And I am sure that you all have just done a limited run to your local grocery stores  with  few bags fo fresh produce, but do you know how to extend the life of your fruits and vegetables at home?

To keep your bounty fresh with this handy food storage guide.

Now, keep in mind that this guide is that  outlines the shelf life of common fruits and vegetables so you can smartly plan meals to eat your most fragile foods first.

And yes, we have all encountered that fuzzy science experiment in the back of the fridge. So no  more finding slimy lettuce in the crisper drawer at the end of the week!

In the Chart below, tips  on how to store and help preserve your food longer and in its best condition are listed.  The Chart also shares signs that your food is at peak ripeness so you can enjoy that fleeting crispy cauliflower at its glory.

HOW TO STORE AND PRESERVE FRESH PRODUCE

Produce How Long It Lasts Tips for Fresh Produce
Apples 4-8 weeks in the fridge It’s OK if your apple has a few brown spots. Those can be cut away. But if it looks wrinkled or feels mushy, it’s time to toss.
Avocado 4-7 days at room temperature Peel off the stem. If the skin underneath is green, the avocado is ripe. It’ll also give in to light pressure when squeezed.
Bananas 2-5 days at room temperature Bananas are best when they’re yellow and have just started to develop brown spots. A ripe banana will be easy to peel.
Blueberries 1-2 weeks in the fridge Most blueberries you get at the store will be ready to gobble down. They’ll have a blue-gray color. If they start to feel moist or look moldy, it’s time to toss.
Broccoli 7-14 days in the fridge Your broccoli should have a rich, green color. It’s best to eat when the stems feel firm, not limp.
Carrots 3-4 weeks in the fridge Carrots are past their prime when they feel limp or have developed a white, grainy look. If you bought carrots with their greens on, it’s best to cut the greens off and store separately.
Cucumbers 1 week in the fridge Your cucumber should have a bright and even green color throughout. Discard if it has any sunken areas, is yellow or has wrinkly skin.
Garlic 3-6 months at room temperature Garlic in its prime will feel firm and have an off-white color. If it’s grown any sprouts, peel them away before cooking. Pass up garlic that has turned tan or looks wrinkly.
Iceberg and romaine lettuce 7-10 days in the fridge If your greens look discolored, feel soggy or have a rotten smell, it’s time to discard.
Lemons 3-4 weeks in the fridge Healthy lemons will be bright yellow and slightly firm to the touch. It’s overripe if it has soft spots, dark blotches or is oozing juice.
Onions 2-3 months at room temperature A good onion will look clean and feel firm. Moisture and soft spots can be a sign it’s gone bad.
Oranges 3-4 weeks in the fridge Juicy oranges will look bright and feel slightly firm to the touch. Check to see that there are no soft spots.
Peaches 1-3 days at room temperature Ripe peaches will have a deep golden color. They’ll also wrinkle slightly around the stem and give in a bit when gently squeezed.
Potatoes 3-5 weeks in the pantry A good potato will feel firm and smell like earth. It’s OK if it has small sprouts, but if the sprouts are longer than a few centimeters, your potato may have gone bad.
Strawberries 3-7 days in the fridge Fragrant and bright strawberries are the best to eat. Discard if there is any sign of mold.
String beans 3-5 days in the fridge The beans should be slender and firm without any visible seeds. You’ll know they’ve gone bad if they’ve turned limp or moist.
Tomatoes 1 week at room temperature Ready-to-eat tomatoes will feel firm when slightly squeezed and seem slightly heavy compared with their size.
Watermelon 7 to 10 days at room temperature Tap on the side. If the melon sounds hollow, it’s good to eat. Also, it should feel firm when pressed but not hard as a rock.
Whole mushrooms 7-10 days in the fridge If the mushroom feels sticky or slimy, it’s bad. Whole mushrooms will keep longer than sliced mushrooms.
Zucchini 4-5 days in the fridge Your summer squash should be firm yet slightly flexible and have glossy skin. If the zucchini looks gray, it may be overly ripe.

Download the Printable Chart

No matter what-or when-you decide to cook, it’s best to err on the conservative side when judging whether food is safe. Trust your instincts. If something looks or smells off, your best bet is to toss it.

Want more? Read up on: 12 secret tricks to keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer.

Be Well and Stay Safe Out There!

Getting Stocked Up: The Quarantine Kitchen Pantry

Hello There, Loyal Readers!

I hope all is well, where ever you all may be in the World as we are all dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Real quick and to the point of this post.

I have received a number of inquiries from the loyal fans from my various social media platforms this week. The most asked question is: “What do I have in my pantry?”

Well, I love to cook. It is my passion, and since I have been teleworking for my 9 to 5 job it has been my saving grace is that I don’t have to commute and that I can stay home and have the time to prepare meals during the week as oppose to meal planning, prepping and cooking food during the weekend to be ready for the following week.

For most home cooks, it is fairly simple, we like to keep a pantry filled mostly with canned goods and pasta and jarred vegetables. sauces and oils.

But for some of you, who may have never had to rely on a stocked pantry or just getting reacquainted with your kitchen, and you may find yourself in need a little help…..please remain calm and relax—-most food bloggers, home cooks and chefs are providing you with very sound information and advice through their social media platforms to help you get through the days of the quarantine and providing you with healthy food choices and menus as you plan for your next meals in the coming days, weeks and perhaps months.

So today, I am providing a very basic pantry list.

 Please feel free to pick and choose from this that suits your tastes and meets your dietary needs. Take a minute to take inventory of what you already have in your spice racks, cabinets, refrigerator and freezer….and if any thing is past it’s expiration date, it is time to toss it our.

The Basic Pantry Essentials:

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9 Ways to Use Over Ripe Bananas

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FFood waste is an important topic that’s near and dear to our hearts. This year, was all about striving to build a better, healthier lifestyle and a more efficient kitchen, which includes reducing how much of our purchased food gets tossed into the trash or compost. As we are living in the time of COVID-19, we should be even more concious about our food choices as well.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits consumed by people around the world and they are often lingering around the kitchen. It’s not uncommon to end up with no less than three overly ripe bananas sitting on the counter at the end of each week. Here are some tips on how to freeze your leftover fruit you might face if you don’t have time to cook/bake with it:

  • Toss bananas into the freezer, peel and all, and reserve for another day. These are perfect for baking with later.

  • Slice bananas into 1”-thick pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then transfer to a ziptop baggie and store in the freezer. Use in smoothies as needed.

  • Mash 2-3 bananas (or however many your favorite banana bread recipe calls for) and place them in a ziptop baggie. Store packets in the freezer and make sure they’re labeled. Keep until you have time to make banana bread.

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Here are some other interesting ways to make the most of your leftover bananas:

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Banana Quick Bread and Muffins: The darker and uglier the banana, the more flavourful the muffin you’ll end up making. Perfect for tucking into the lunchbox or serving to friends with a cup of coffee, our foolproof recipe for perfect banana bread is one you won’t want to miss.

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Banana Smoothies: When bananas are just too ripe and mushy for to consume on their own, add them to smoothies instead. They’re full of flavor and bring a coveted, creamy component to your favourite blended drinks. Our Banana Berry Breakfast Smoothie is a great recipe to try!

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Banana Oatmeal: Add a large dollop of mashed bananas to your morning oatmeal, stirring it into the cereal before serving.

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Banana Pancakes: Mash 1 to 2 bananas and add them to your favorite pancake recipe – no ingredient alterations required.

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Banana Nice Cream: Freeze banana slices until you have a decent amount (1/3 of a blender full), then blend them to create the best vegan ice cream you’ll ever make.

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Banana Beauty: You might be surprised to learn that overripe bananas can also find their way into your beauty regime, but that’s exactly what happened when we created our DIY avocado face masks. For oily skin, combine ripe banana, avocado and egg yolk to make a soothing all-natural skin brightener.

Banana Foster: Another great recipe for bananas that are perhaps a little too ripe for your taste to eat on their own is Banana Foster. This comes together easily with common kitchen ingredients and is super delicious! Serve with vanilla ice cream or on top of a simple vanilla or gingerbread cake.

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Banana Pops: This a great DIY project for you and the kids while every one is on lock down. Peel and cut bananas in half. Insert popsicle sticks and cover in plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 3 hours. Then remove from the freezer and dip into melted chocolate adding sprinkles, chopped nuts or dried coconut to suit your taste. Enjoy!