I’m learning this. I just got back from the grocery store… unfortunately, I contributed to the stats on this page. But this is a great informational format to encourage us to buy local. If we all just make this choice, our children will live in a better place when they grow up.
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So, you’re making changes. You’re shopping fresher and healthier. Great job!!! It’s a journey! So you get discouraged, like me, that freshness is such a small window. It’s a common conversation I have with my friends that we have to go back to the store or market so often because our produce goes bad. Living outside of the processed box takes a little more effort! But it’s so rewarding!
I ran across some tips for you on how to keep things fresher, longer. Enjoy and send me some things you like to do.
TIPS for your FRIDGE:
1. Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper towels. They’ll absorb the excess moisture that causes vegetables to rot.
2. To keep herbs tasting fresh for up to a month, store whole bunches, washed and sealed in plastic bags, in the freezer. When you need them, they’ll be easier to chop, and they’ll defrost the minute they hit a hot pan.
3. A bay leaf slipped into a container of flour, pasta, or rice will help repel bugs.
4. Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter on the cut sides to seal in moisture. This is most effective with hard cheeses sealed in wax.
5. When radishes, celery, or carrots have lost their crunch, simply pop them in a bowl of iced water along with a slice of raw potato and watch the limp vegetables freshen up right before your eyes.
6. Avoid separating bananas until you plan to eat them – they spoil less quickly in a bunch.
7. Put rice in your saltshaker to stop the salt from hardening. The rice absorbs condensation that can cause clumps.
8. Stock up on butter when it’s on sale – you can store it in the freezer for up to six months. Pack the butter in an airtight container, so it doesn’t take on the flavor of whatever else you’re freezing.
9. In order to make cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, place the container upside down in the fridge. Inverting the tub creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil.
10. Believe it or not, honey is the only nonperishable food substance, so don’t get rid of the stuff if it crystallizes or becomes cloudy. Microwave on medium heat, in 30-second increments, to make honey clear again.
11. Prevent extra cooked pasta from hardening by stashing it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerating. When you’re ready to serve, throw the pasta in boiling water for a few seconds to heat and restore moisture.
12. Keeping brown sugar in the freezer will stop it from hardening. But if you already have hardened sugar on your shelf, soften it by sealing in a bag with a slice of bread – or by microwaving on high for 30 seconds.
13. If you only need a few drops of lemon juice, avoid cutting the lemon in half – it will dry out quickly. Instead, puncture the fruit with a metal skewer and squeeze out exactly what you require.
14. If you’re unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a cup of water: Fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.
15. When bananas start going bad: peel, cut into small pieces and freeze for use in smoothies or other desserts.
16. To keep those apples crisp and all countertop-stored produce fresh, store them out of direct sunlight, either directly on the countertop, in an uncovered bowl, or inside a perforated plastic bag.
17. Keep fruits and vegetables separate, in different drawers, because ethylene can build up in the fridge, causing spoilage.
18. Tomatoes – don’t refrigerate your tomatoes. They lose flavor and texture. Keep them stem side down on the counter (or on a plate) and use them quickly before they spoil.
19. Carrots – put them in a loose plastic bags with some holes in it, in the crisper drawer. If they get wet they will rot and if they get dry they will wilt. And use tip #1.
20. Finally, we wash all our produce in Basic H2. One drop for a whole sink full of goodness. It’s an organic cleaner that we use from cleaning our windows, to veggies, to our cars.. seriously an amazing product. One bottle lasted me an an entire year.
Here’s a very handy chart by Real Simple Magazine that you’ll be able to follow how long fresh items last. (Click on the picture to see it larger).
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So, why should we buy organic? Is it a conspiracy? Are they just making this up to charge us more? What produce is really important to buy organic?
These are all questions I had when I started changing over what we purchased. I really felt more liberated when I found the list on www.foodnews.org. It taught me that we don’t “have” to buy everything organic, that we can purchase the “dirty dozen” in the organic form and the rest we can purchase from our local farmers who carefully harvest these REAL foods for us.
What is Organic?
“Organic” is a designation used by the US Department of Agriculture National Organic Program to certify food that is produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge.
Why do we need to buy Organic?
Pesticides are toxic by design.
They are created expressly to kill living organisms — insects, plants, and fungi that are considered “pests.”
Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been established by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.
As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
- nervous system toxicity
- hormone system effects
- skin, eye and lung irritation
Are there pesticides in our system?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national biomonitoring program has detected pesticides in blood and urine samples from 95.6 percent of more than 5,000 Americans age 6 and older. (CDC 2009).
Is it too late to change?
No… Studies led by Chensheng Lu of Emory University found that concentrations of organophosphate pesticides (This particular pesticide has been linked to ADD/ADHD), including chlorpyrifos and malathion, in elementary school-age children’s bodies peaked during the summer, when they ate the most fresh produce. But just five days after switching to an all-organic diet, tests found their bodies essentially pesticide-free.
(Lu 2006, 2008).
So how do I shop now?
Personally, I try to stick to the following list. We have had seasons of our life where finances were tighter. At that time we truly only purchased the main produce in the organic form. But we should strive to be as LOCAL and as ORGANIC as possible for the sake of our own bodies and our children’s bodies and future health.
This list is what made me feel more liberated. Knowing that the EWG (Environmental Working Group) had done the research for me, helped me feel “not as guilty” for buying my bananas covered in pesticides.
How do I wash my produce that I don’t buy organic?
When I get home from the grocery store or farmers market, I fill up my sink full of water and 2 drops of Basic H2 from Shaklee. This stuff is amazing and lasts forever! For under $10, you can use it for hundreds of purposes from basic window cleaning, to washing your cars, to cleaning your veggies!! It’s simply the greatest product ever!! So, my produce gets a good cleaning with this organic cleaner, I let it air dry and I have complete confidence that my kids can reach for any fruit or veggie and not ingest poisons.
If you’re like me, it’s a big step to change your budget around to buy organic produce. But think of the confidence you will have, and the possible side effects that you’re avoiding.
For more of your questions answered and referenced, you can go to www.foodnews.org and read more. The information here has been adapted from their website.
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