To highlight how big a problem this is: The US Department of Agriculture estimates that every year consumers throw away more than 18 BILLION pounds of fresh produce that has become overripe at home. That's more than 150 pounds of fruits and vegetables thrown away on average by every household in America each year!
Vegetables and fruits release a substance called ethylene gas as they ripen. It’s a growth hormone. When you bring home fresh produce and place it in the refrigerator produce bin, you create an ideal place for the ethylene gas to concentrate as the produce ripens. Because ethylene gas is a growth hormone, the higher the levels of concentration, the more rapidly produce will ripen and go bad. By reducing ethylene gas concentrations, produce stays fresh and ready to eat longer, reducing waste and saving you money!
There are several products on the market that help reduce ethylene gas concentrations in the areas where you store produce at home, like in the refrigerator produce bin or in a fruit bowl out on the counter. By using these products you can effectively extend the useful life and freshness of your produce. This will save you money and reduce the impact of waste in landfills and water treatment plants because you won’t be throwing away as much overripe produce.
In addition to using a product that will reduce ethylene gas concentrations, here is a list of tips on how to properly store your produce:
• Store these in the refrigerator: artichokes, asparagus, green beans, lima beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, mushrooms, peas, radishes, spinach, sprouts, summer squashes, corn, and any cut or already sliced vegetables.
• Store these on the counter: apples, bananas, grapefruit, lemons, limes, Mandarins, mangoes, oranges, papayas, pineapple, watermelon, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes.
• Store potatoes in a dark area away from light to help prevent greening.
• If you buy the following before they are ripe, allow them to ripen on the counter first and then store in the refrigerator: avocados, kiwifruit, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums.
By using these storage tips along with a product to reduce ethylene gas concentrations, you’ll enjoy eating more healthy vegetables and fruits while at the same time reducing waste and saving yourself money! Enjoy.
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