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Stop Throwing Rotten Produce in the Garbage (How to Make Fruits and Vegetables Last Longer)

I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around this documented fact: Half of all produce grown in the U.S. is thrown out, while at the same time there is growing hunger and poverty right here in America.

A trashcan of spoild food

 

As I read the first paragraph of this news story, I assumed naively that all U.S.-grown produce makes it to market. Then consumers like you and me get it home, let it go bad before we can consume it and into the garbage it goes. That is a factor, but not the whole story.

The truth is that vast quantities of fresh produce are left in the field to rot. It then becomes livestock feed or gets hauled directly to the landfill because of (get ready) cosmetic standards.

Not every potato, watermelon, strawberry, or grape cluster turns out photo-perfect. Some are ugly. And, unfortunately, that means they do not meet retailer and consumer demands for blemish-free, perfect produce.

Just imagine how the retail cost of produce might plummet if all that is produced—even the still-nutritious but ugly produce—were available for sale. More on that in a bit.

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How to Make Your Own Highly Effective Fruit and Vegetable Wash

Every year, reports the Center for Disease Control, nearly 48 million people become ill from foodborne contamination, including sickness caused by fresh produce. To avoid this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends washing produce thoroughly to ensure the produce is safe for consumption.

A plate of food with broccoli

 

While it’s tempting to eat fresh produce straight out of the grocery bag, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Commercial produce sanitation may be up to speed with excellent guidelines and good oversight, let’s just say I don’t trust the produce handling practices of consumers. That bunch of grapes has likely been touched by many hands before it landed in my cart—unwashed hands!

I’m simply not comfortable with just running my produce under cold water, per the FDA’s recommendations. If you’re with me on that, consider making your own fruit and veggie wash to loosen debris, remove pesticides, and eliminate some of the bacteria that other grocery shoppers passed on to your produce.

While buying commercial products to do this might sound great because it’s convenient, check the ingredients. You’re likely to find an ironically high number of chemicals with a price tag to match. Mixing up your own fruit and vegetable wash is not only cheap—it’s ridiculously easy. And you’ll know exactly what’s in it.

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A Crash Course in How to Store Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Could you use an extra $300? You might want to take a look in your garbage. A survey conducted by Glad, the food storage people, revealed that the average household throws away 150 pounds of rotten produce each year! Mind-boggling, right?

Here’s a fun, crash course in the how, where, and, why of fresh fruits and vegetables. Start following these insanely simple tips and you’ll be amazed to see far fewer of your food dollars (hopefully, none) end up in the garbage in the form of stinky, rotten produce.

A bunch of different types of vegetables

Yes, that’s is Mary’s garden!

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