Before we moved to Portland, Oregon, land of all things fresh and organic within walking distance, we had to drive quite a distance to reach the food co-op (the only place that had a good selection of organic produce and other raw food necessities). So, we only went shopping about once a week. It took a lot of trial and error to find ways to keep our weekly produce fresh for about a week.
We learned which fruits and vegetables stay fresh the longest, and which go bad the fastest. Based on this, we stocked the refrigerator accordingly (and used up the produce accordingly, as well). The fruits and veggies that stayed fresh the longest were stored in the backs of the shelves (things like carrots, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, etc.). Next we stored the greens that lasted a pretty good amount of time (like kale and collards). And in the front of the shelves and in the door, we stored the more delicate greens (like lettuces and herbs).
The key is to make sure there's not a lot of excess water in the storage bags. Also, the bags need to be on the thicker side (or doubled up if they are very thin). Be sure to seal the bags with air trapped inside. I know a lot of people say it will make greens go bad faster, but we found that making sure we tied the bags off with a large bubble of air trapped inside allowed the veggies to last a very long time.
Consuming the food in an order that allows everything to stay the freshest, for the longest time, is what's most important. It also allows your diet to have more variety. Rather than having a green salad before each meal, maybe eat the lettuce up during the first few days after shopping. Follow that up with different kinds of salads, like kale (which lasts a lot longer than lettuce) and shredded veggies (that last even longer than kale). It will keep your diet more interesting this way, also.
One dish we used to make a lot at the end of each week was Veggie Stir-Don't-Fry (you can find that recipe in your free Raw Food Recipes eBook we give to everyone signing up for our mailing list).
This is a subject we frequently receive questions about. We've thoroughly covered it in the past, as well, so be sure to check out this Produce Buying Tips blog post for even more helpful hints!
We're sure others have many other tips on how to keep greens and other produce as fresh as possible, too! So, be sure to share right now in the comments!
Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.
On June 21, 2011, wrote:
I have found that lettuces last a lot longer if I create a kind of hydroponic atmosphere for them by putting about a finger and a half of fresh water in the bottom of a gallon sized zipper lock plastic bag.
I then make sure the lettuce heads are standing up in the fridge (like they were standing in the garden)with their "feet" in the water but not the leaves.
The water needs to be changed every other day as it will turn orange (every day is better).
If you take a few leaves off for your salad, wash them, and dump out the old water from the bag and put in fresh every time you take some... your lettuces will stay fresh and crisp until you have a chance to eat the whole head. They are still alive!! and drink the water which makes their leaves strong and firm.
The water needs to be put in the bag when you bring the lettuces home from the store -- and your lettuce will not wilt. If you don't have time to do it then, you can do it in a day or two, but the longer you wait, the more of the outside leaves will become wilted. Give your lettuce a drink!! (This can be done for broccoli and other living veggies, too.)
On June 24, 2011, wrote:
I LOVE this idea! It makes a lot of sense! Thanks!!!