Ever wonder how to keep fruits and vegetables fresher, longer?
Summer is in full swing, so fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant at grocery stores, gardens, and farmer’s markets'. One thing about produce: it can rot before you eat it. You buy strawberries from the store, place them in the fridge, and a few days later they are squishy and moldy. Herbs and vegetables can also go bad. Again and again I encountered this problem until I found a solution to keep my produce fresh: glass jars
Glass jars are amazing for storing produce; I can’t believe I didn’t discover them sooner! I was accustomed to storing herbs, fruit, and vegetables in plastic containers or bags from the store. These containers often let in air and bacteria, starting the decomposition process. Using an airtight lid with glass jars minimizes this.
Because I consume a large amount of fresh berries during summer, let me teach you how to properly store strawberries and blueberries, so they stay fresher longer!
The first step is to thoroughly rinse them in cold water, which helps the berries stay crisp and not turn mushy. Some people allow their produce to soak in baking soda water to rid of tiny bugs, but I don’t mind the extra protein. I simply rinse and drain my berries in a metal colander and place on a row of paper towels to dry. I pat the berries and slightly roll them around with paper towels to absorb moisture. Storing berries wet invites mold, and you don’t want that! Once they are as dry as possible, pile them into glass jars and seal the air-tight lids. Store these jars in the fridge and be amazed at how long your fruit stays fresh (compared to storing them in plastic).
What are benefits to storing produce in glass?
As mentioned above, glass jars keep out air, which lengthens the life of the produce. Glass jars are a safer, healthier alternative to plastic. In addition to the bacteria problem, plastic micro-particles leach into food and then into our bodies, and we don't need micro-plastic in a healthy body—no thanks! Another great benefit to storing produce in glass is that it is esthetically pleasing to see jars lining your fridge instead of brooding plastic containers. Although a small benefit, I now enjoy looking into my clean and organized fridge, lol.
Is it harmful to store food in plastic?
Plastic containers are notoriously inconsistent in their construction, and many defects exist, this in contrast to glass which is sturdy and consistent. Although the amount of leached plastic may be minimal, it's better to have NONE. There are sketchy ingredients in plastic—some carcinogenic.
If you don’t have access to glass jars, the next best things is glass Pyrex containers These containers come with plastic lids, but it's better than all-encapsulating plastic containers. Plastic containers with #2, #4, and #5 on the bottom are your safest bet. Stay clear of containers with #7 on the bottom because they contain too much "Bisphenol A" (BPA), an industrial chemical found in plastics. I would suggest you research the risks of storing food in plastic and discover for yourself the harmful effects it has on us and our environment.
What are the risks of using plastic to store or cover food?
BPA is a health threat that disrupts hormone pathways and has a negative effect on the brain. Even plastic wrap can cause reproductive and development problems. Use bee’s wax wraps to cover your food (they’re reusable too!). Avoid heating food in plastic containers as the heating process can increase the plastic that leaches into the food. If it's necessary, follow the directions of the manufacturer on how to properly heat containers.
Where can I get glass jars or containers?
Local grocery stores are likely to stock glass storage containers or glass jars. For convenience get glass jars and glass food storage containers on Amazon. I have used glass storage containers for four years, and I'm currently revamping my pantry to store food like dried beans, chia seed, noodles, etc. in glass containers. They're great for organizing your pantry as well!
Remember: The plastic bag your produce comes in causes it to spoil quickly, and it can adversely affect your health. Glassware keeps my produce fresher longer, and rest assured that your body isn’t polluted by plastic. By reducing our usage of plastic (although the burden shouldn’t be placed on the consumer) we also reduce the amount of plastic filling up landfills and the ocean. I consider small steps like this to better our lives a big win!