Fresh organic produce is sold in plastic containers or bags everywhere now. There is no way to get away from it.The days of picking out your produce and putting it in a brown paper bag is long gone. I for one, am sad to that happen. Through out the cold weather and early spring, before our garden starts producing salad greens, I buy it from the store. Now I am not a big fan of plastic, but this is how they sell it now.Do you buy it that way too? Have you had trouble with it rotting before you use it all? Makes you mad, I am sure, because it makes mad too. Especially now that we have a pet house rabbit and I like to feed him organic greens and lettuce. He goes through a lot of it and when you find a new container is already no good, it REALLY gets to me. Especially with the price of organic foods!
I had started a number of years ago, taking potatoes and carrots out of their plastic bags as soon as I got them home. Then I put them in brown paper bags. The reason they wouldn’t last was because they would sweat in the bags. I got tired of throwing them out. So when I started buying these new containers with fresh organic produce in them, I was having the very same problem. Red leaf lettuce is the worst. It rots almost right away.And it is my favorite! I read some things on the various rabbit forums, on how they were trying to keep it fresh. I put my brain to work and this is what I do now.
The first thing I had to do was to save these containers, so I had a few stocked up. When I get my fresh organic produce home, I wash it and dry it (if it not the kind that says on the container that it has been washed and dried) first. Then put a paper towel in the bottom of two containers. Now add half the lettuce from the container you just brought home. Then fluff it up a bit and put a paper towel over it lightly. Put the cover on, but do not fasten it down. You want a little air getting in there. The other half you will transfer the same way to another clean container with a paper towel in the bottom. Make sure to fluff it up. The reason you are doing this. is so it is not compacted in the center. That causes it to rot. Cover it with the paper towel and put the lid on. It should keep better and not get soggy and rotted. It won’t last for weeks, but will be good for a number of days. We always run out now, but never have any go bad.
I have found that kale, as well as the various types of salad greens keep for quite a few days this way. Kale lasts even longer. I do the same thing with any type of produce I buy now, that is in a plastic container. I store carrots like this and they last forever. I plan on trying it on fresh berries this summer. When you store food in airtight containers (which is what actually creates the high humid conditions that makes them go bad), it cuts off the oxygen supply of the food. Without oxygen the plant cells can break down very rapidly, shortens it’s shelf life. That is why I don’t fasten the lids. Keep the greens fluffed up so they are not squashed together tightly.
Even though I was trying to rid myself of plastic, here I am using it again. I am planning on searching for some glass containers of this size that I can switch to. I think I need about four. I also want to search for some mesh or breathable bags for the smaller items. But I don’t want plastic ones. When I find them I will post on here so you can check them out.
Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole