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Food Hacks

Wrap Your Bananas in This Kitchen Staple, Plus 4 Other Pro Tricks to Keep Your Produce Fresh For Longer

Want to stop throwing away all those bananas-gone-bad?

Summer fruits, greens and berries are among the best natural gifts of the season — but keeping your produce fresh is hard. No wonder the average family throws away $1,600 worth of produce-gone-bad each year. Here are some easy ways to make your farmers market faves last!

Banish Brown Bananas with Plastic Wrap

“The stems of bananas give off a gas that hastens ripening,” explains cookbook author Lauren McDuffie of My Kitchen Little. “And this process speeds up as soon as the bananas are picked from the tree.” To keep your bunch from going bad prematurely, simply cover their stems in plastic wrap — this strategy slows down the ripening process by up to a week. And if all else fails and your bananas get over-ripe, make banana bread.

Ensure Crisp Celery with Aluminum Foil

Crunch! We all love the crispness of celery — but it’s the first thing to go after the stalks have sat in our veggie drawer for a few days. “To keep celery from going soggy, wrap it in foil,” suggests holistic food expert Lisa Leslie-Williams, PharmD, founder of The Domestic Life Stylist blog. While plastic produce bags trap the ethylene gas that celery naturally emits, causing it to go limp, foil lets the gas escape, leaving you with crisp, delicious stalks every time. Now just grab some dip and enjoy! (Click through for more brilliant uses for aluminum foil.)

Preserve Herbs with a ‘Bouquet’

The key to ensuring herbs like parsley, dill and basil last for up to two weeks? Gather them into a “bouquet” and pop the stems in a water-filled glass in your fridge, says dietitian Katie Tomaschko, MS, RDN. This continuously hydrates herbs. Simply change the water every few days.

Enjoy Fresh Tomatoes with a Quick Flip

To prevent overripe tomatoes, set them stem side down on the counter. “The stem is where moisture leaves the tomato, and where mold and bacteria get in,” explains Tomaschko. “Placing tomatoes facedown prevents this exchange.” Also smart: Store them in a cool spot out of direct sunlight to ensure flavor-producing enzymes develop. Temperatures that are too hot or cold (like in a refrigerator) halt enzyme activity, zapping flavor.

Mold-Proof Berries with a Vinegar Bath

Berries develop mold easily because they’re susceptible to moisture once picked — even if you haven’t washed them yet. To the rescue is a tip from chef Kelli Lewton: Submerge berries in a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, dry them, then place them in a container lined with paper towels. The vinegar (its taste evaporates quickly!) neutralizes mold, while the paper towel absorbs dampness. This simple step will add one more week to your berries’ lifespan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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