How we prepare our produce

November 1, 2010

Earlier this year, we talked about how to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, with the secret being that you wash them as soon as you get home from the store so they’re ready to go.  I thought it’d be helpful to share exactly how we do that, since it’s easier to implement something when you have a plan and you guys are so great at improving on my ideas in the comments (hint hint!)

The Tupperware bins we use are from the FridgeSmart system, but you can probably find something else that’ll do the job if you shop around – we find that things last a good while in them, and we’re happy with them, but the first one we bought was a bit of a leap of faith.  If you use something else, let us know in the comments!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg November 1, 2010 at 8:50 pm

A lot of fresh fruit and veggies keep better if you don’t wash until you’re ready to use. Some are protected with a light coating of wax from the store and others (like berries) are just prone to soak up water. I also worry about what might grow on the food between washing and eating, but as my husband and I are both vegan it’s probably not a huge problem (I would worry much more if there was meat in the fridge.)

But if you’re not having to throw out a lot of bad produce and/or you’re eating more of the good stuff than you would otherwise, then keep doing what you’re doing!

Jason November 1, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Meg, washing right before you use it is definitely better on a few fronts, but the main idea here is to reduce the barriers to actually eating the stuff. It goes beyond waste and covers basic health too – there are a lot of times where I’ve caught myself reaching for a snack, and the stuff I can grab a handful of quickly wins out, which sadly means cookies, nuts, or other calorie-dense foods.

For what it’s worth, I’ve found our produce keeps for at least long enough for us to eat it after we wash it, but we may shop more frequently for smaller loads than others do.

Amanda November 2, 2010 at 2:19 am

I wash everything except for spinach and other leafy items such as kale and cilantro right when I get it to save time when I actually want to eat the stuff. Leafy greens tend to get mushy and change colors much quicker if I wash them right away. Being the only person in my household who even eats fresh veggies and fruit, it’s important for my things in the crisper to last up to a week or so.

Jason November 2, 2010 at 10:42 am

Maybe it’s those tubs, but kale and green leaf lettuce do great in our fridge after washing. I will say though, I’ve never had luck with an actual crisper for anything other than carrots or apples. Celery always needs to be bagged or it gets super limp, which sucks because I don’t like wet celery and it’s a pain to dry!

Erin November 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Two things:
1. I am a terrible person and mother- I almost never wash my veggies. I get organic veggies through CSA and just trust them. Bad mom!

2. I was just saying the other day that it’s just so typical that the refigerator only has two drawers taking up less than 1/4 of the space allotted for produce. There should be a vegan fridge with extra drawers. I like those containers you have.

Meg November 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm

@Erin

I’d still wash organic produce. For one, it’s likely that they use animal based fertilizers. While there’s probably not much you can do about that, there are contaminants you don’t want to ingest. Also, I wash stuff because you don’t know who has touched what when they were sick or something. Not that you should be too paranoid about cleanliness, either, but a quick rinse sounds like a good compromise.

I also hate how tiny produce drawers are. My new fridge is GREAT except for that. But then I use the other spaces for fresh stuff, too, and it works out. You often don’t need any special containers.

@Jason

No problems eating fresh stuff here, so that does help. I love fresh stuff and I just try not to buy stuff that I know I shouldn’t eat — at least not in large quantities. But I do tend to get a lot of fresh stuff at once instead of going to the store more often. So, getting it to keep all week long (or more) is an issue.

Sally November 3, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I like the fresh stuff, and both my husband and I are vegans (he’s also the produce manager at a large chain grocery store), however a lot of times we don’t eat our produce and it goes bad. So to counter that, I like to get flash frozen fruits and vegetables and I have those readily available. And luckily, we have both a full-sized fridge and a full-sized freezer in our kitchen so we have plenty of storage room.

Another thing that is helpful in having frozen fruit is I make smoothies every morning. To make it even easier, I keep a big Ziploc container in the freezer with a variety of fruits and berries so I can pick and choose or do a blend. I even keep a spoon in the container—no excuses!

Most fruits and vegetables can be frozen pretty well so if I see something starting to go bad, I wash it and cut it up for freezing so I can use it later. This helps reduce a lot of waste in our house.

Jason November 3, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Thanks Sally! I think Colleen pointed this out in a different way another time too – you can freeze a lot of stuff you wouldn’t normally think of as freezable if it’s going in a smoothie – I’m thinking leafy greens, which, surprise, a lot of people don’t think of as smoothie food either! I’ve been on a huge smoothie kick lately, one of these days I need to do a video about it because despite all the comments, I suspect a lot of people haven’t given it a shot!

I love the bit about the spoon in the container! It’s all about making things as easy as possible, even if it seems silly. Easy stuff gets done!

Potato March 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm

YOU PEOPLE ARE ALL SICK! THOUSANDS OF OUR KIND DIE EVERYDAY BECAUSE OF YOU HORRIBLE VEGANS!

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