This is an answer to the keeping celery fresh inquiry, but it will work for MOST produce. I sold produce for over four years I was called the Produce Queen, so I know what I'm talkin' about :)
The key is first to buy quality produce, the better the condition, the better it keeps.
Shake off excess water, this is a primary reason that produce ROTS. Put it in a plastic bag, it could be a grocery bag or a clear produce bag you bought the produce in.
Then put in a couple of paper towels. Sorta wrap them around the produce, for example, for parsley I swaddle it in a couple paper towels. Monitor the produce for condensation, especially when you first put it in the fridge. Change the paper towels if they get soaked and replace with dry ones. Yes, this WORKS. It saves the produce and is worth the paper.
Be sure to monitor and cull or cut off any browned or spoiled parts, if you keep it for some time.
And, here is an IMPORTANT point. If you treat your produce (and food) with the appreciation and respect due food (as it offers its life force) THAT too is a very good preservative. I VERY SELDOM need to throw anything out. If I have surplus that I will not eat, I pass it on to a friend. We're talkin' THRIFTY, no waste.
Great info! Thank you! (03/08/2005)
My sister taught me a trick: when she buys produce, she always takes a bunch of extra plastic bags. When she gets home, she takes everything out of the plastic bags she put the stuff in at the store and puts it in a colander and leaves it there to drain all of the water. When the stuff is thoroughly dry, she puts it back in the new bags. I use Tupperware FridgeSmart containers, and they work wonders, too. I have been able to keep stuff perfectly fresh for weeks. If you want stuff to last, do not buy organic produce. Organic strawberries in particular go bad very fast. Unless you plan to eat them by the next day, don't buy them. Organic carrots, however, taste infinitely better. (03/18/2005)
I have done the trick of wrapping celery in paper towels and yes it works well. Celery lasts me quite a while but I have found it lasts better if I place in a spot other than the crispy drawer of the frig, ot sure why but that is what I've found. I love fresh produce and hate to waste it so am hoping more tips will be posted as how to keep it all fresh longer. I know tho, do not store fresh tomatoes in the frig, it ruins their flavor and they go bad sooner. (03/28/2006)
The best I have found for carrots and celery. Clean them up when you get home and store in cold water. They are ready to chop or snack when you need them, and they last quite a while. (03/28/2006)
There are a few ways to keep many things fresh, I have found the best one is to invest in a vacuum sealer, especially if you buy fresh items in bulk. (05/02/2008)
By Jim C
I've learned that you can get green leaf lettuce or turnip greens to last longer if when they start to look like they are wilting, trim the ends off and set them in a bowl or sink of warm water. After trimming the ends you will see a white substance come from the roots and that is what they call "bleeding". After a few minutes of them setting, remove them. Then store them in a cooler or a refrigerator overnight. Be sure you shake off as much water as possible before storing them as well as pulling off any brown leaves. The next morning when you remove them from the cooler or refrigerator, they will look FRESH! and be FRESH! (10/23/2008)
By Produce Manager
How about those cotton bags you can get at the store? I bought one for my lettuce. (12/13/2008)
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