Do you ever get that gut-wrenching feeling in your stomach when you have to throw out all the spoiled fresh produce you spent your hard earned money on? I do! I feel so guilty and ashamed of myself on so many different levels. Lord help me if my grandma, who is now in heaven ever found out. If you have had any relatives that have lived through the depression then you know what I mean.
Over the past two years, I have been buying more and more organic produce which as you probably know is much more expensive. This makes throwing out spoiled produce even more convicting.
Why now, more than ever, I needed to find a solution for being a good steward of my fresh produce.
This year after doing research about all the benefits of eating seasonally and finding ways to make that happen, we joined a CSA which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The way CSA’s work is you purchase a share in the farm and you get a portion of the harvest in return. It has been great fun going to our local farmers market each Saturday morning and picking up our surprise bags full of whatever was harvested the day before.
It was a pretty big investment to join this CSA and pay months in advance of the harvesting season. However, when I divided the cost by the 16-week spring/summer season it worked out to be $35 per week. I was pretty sure that I already spent that much on produce each week anyway, so it made good sense to me.
This past week I tried to duplicate what I got from my CSA at my local neighborhood Walmart Supermarket and it added up to $25 for close to the same thing I got from the CSA. However, I don’t have to buy all the bag salads that my husband likes to eat for lunch since I have plenty of CSA greens to make salads all week long. I just supplement the week with a few other things that I didn’t get from my CSA.
So, all in all, it costs me just about the same as I spent before, but the real advantage is that my CSA produce is freshly harvested. There is no telling how long it took for the produce in the market to get harvested, packaged, shipped and sold. One of the things I found out from my research recently is that produce starts losing nutrients the minute it is harvested. I am not a food forensic scientist like Mike Adams, but I can definitely tell the difference by the full flavor of freshly harvested produce.
Well, with this new found blessing of partaking in the harvest comes a big responsibility. My husband and I have made a commitment to eat all our produce every week and force ourselves to be creative and find new ways to eat things we haven’t eaten before. I knew I needed to find a system to wash and store my weekly bounty of fresh produce so that it was easily accessible during the week and it maintains it’s freshness. I am determined to not throw away any more spoiled produce.
My newfound system for washing and storing my fresh produce
First, I take everything out of the bags and put it all on my kitchen counter. (This is a picture of my bounty for the week)
Then, I soak and wash everything in an all natural fresh produce wash. I like to use Thieves TM Fruit & Veggie Soak from Young Living because it is made with 100% therapeutic grade essential oils which are naturally antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.
It takes only a capful of this solution with a whole bowl of fresh water. You can learn how to make your own DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash (& Preserver) from Katie at WellnessMama.com.
I pull out my biggest bowls so I can soak my fresh produce in batches.
Then, I rinse the batches in water through a strainer.
Then, I lay it all out on towels on my counter while I am working on washing and rinsing all the fresh produce.
Then, I spin the remaining water out with my lettuce spinner.
Then I gather up all my extra plastic containers and place a sheet of paper towel in the bottom to collect the extra water and moisture. Note: this is only my temporary solution until I build up my collection of Tupperware® FridgeSmart® Containers.
The Benefits of Using Tupperware® FridgeSmart® Containers to store your fresh produce
Tupperware® and the University of Florida’s top food scientists teamed up to do extensive research on the storage of fruits and vegetables to determine the optimal conditions for keeping them fresher, better tasting, and longer lasting, ultimately saving us money.
They determined that fruits and vegetables continue to “breathe” even after harvesting by exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide. They also determined that various fruits and vegetables have different optimum conditions based on their breathing types. Some are light breathers, some medium breathers and some are heavy breathers.
With this information, Tupperware® created the ACE (Atmosphere Controlled Environment) system with a 3-way venting system to help regulate the atmosphere inside the container resulting in fruits and vegetables staying fresh longer.
The added benefit of using Tupperware® products is that they are all BPA free so I don’t need to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into my food.
Pictured below is the basic starter set of this system.
On the side of each container is a picture of various types of fresh produce in boxes with the indication of which setting is best. The half-open position is for medium breathers, the closed position is for light breathers and the open position is for heavy breathers. The produce pictured in the box with the X’s in them are best suited for storing in a cool, dry place (room temperature). The bottom of each container dips down and elevates the produce so it isn’t sitting in residual water or condensation.
When closing each container, you just move the slider over the corresponding indicator for your various fruits and vegetables. You can even combine various items in one container if they are the same type of “breathers.”
This next picture is how I stored all my containers in my produce bin and on two of my lower shelves in my refrigerator with my starter set and the mish-mash of other plastic containers I had on hand.
My Tupperware® Lady was kind enough to come over and sell me another set she had on hand and we figured out what I would still need. I read somewhere online about the idea of taking out your produce bin and using the space as a shelf instead, so this next picture shows how that worked better. I moved down my meat bin to where the vegetable bin was. This picture now includes 2 sets of the Tupperware® FridgeMates.® I ordered a few more pieces to maximize my space and organize everything now that I know the amount of fresh produce I will be getting every week.
I learned a lot of things I didn’t know before just by reading the pamphlet that came with my FridgeSmart® system. There were a lot of things I thought I needed to keep in the refrigerator that I found out do better at room temperature. I took all this information and put it together on a chart I can put on my refrigerator door to help me store my various items of produce in the most optimal way.
Grab a copy of this Fresh Produce Storage Chart to help you learn the best ways to store your fresh produce.
I hope this post helps motivate you to organize your own system of washing and storing your fresh produce so you can enjoy all the health benefits, save money and never have to feel guilty again about wasting these invaluable gifts we have been given to nourish our bodies.
Can you relate to this dilemma? Do you have a system in place that works for you? I’d love to hear any ideas or solutions you have.
Wishing you Joy in your natural health journey,
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