How to Keep Produce Fresh Without Plastic Wrap
Storing fruits and vegetables without plastic is better for the planet and your health. Here are tips for keeping produce fresh using eco-friendly alternatives to plastic wrap.
Use Reusable Containers
Glass, stainless steel and other reusable containers are excellent for storing produce. The hard sides protect delicate fruits and veggies. Look for containers with lids that seal tightly to keep oxygen out. Some even have vents that optimize humidity levels. I prefer glass containers because they’re impermeable to gases that cause spoilage. Stainless steel is great too, as long as it doesn’t react with acids in the produce.
Line Bins with Towels
Lining bins and bowls with clean cotton towels can extend freshness. The towels pad the produce, absorb excess moisture and allow air circulation. Change towels daily to prevent mold growth. For berries, line containers with paper towels, which soak up moisture while still allowing airflow.
Use Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps are reusable, natural alternatives to plastic wrap. They seal in moisture to prevent shriveling. Wrap firm produce like cucumbers and peppers in beeswax wraps and store in the refrigerator. The slight airflow keeps them from getting soggy. For delicate berries, wrap loosely so some air gets in. Don’t wrap excessively wet produce in beeswax or it may get slimy.
Store Herbs Like Flowers
Fresh herbs will last over a week when treated like flowers! Trim herb stems and place in a jar of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a plastic bag. Keep near a sunny window or somewhere with good air circulation and your herbs will stay perky. Change the water every 2 days. Basil, cilantro and parsley store well this way.
Opt for Breathable Bags
Mesh and paper bags allow air to flow while containing produce. They prevent moisture from building up and causing spoilage. Use them to store veggies and fruits in the crisper drawer. If storing berries, line bags with paper towels to absorb extra moisture. Just make sure there are some air holes so ethylene gases can escape.
With some creativity and eco-friendly supplies, you can reduce plastic use and keep produce fresher longer. The key is finding storage methods that regulate moisture, allow airflow and slow down spoilage-causing gases. It may take some trial and error to find what works best for different types of produce. But with these tips, you’ll be on your way to plastic-free, waste-free produce storage.