A few weeks ago, I got the chance to hang out with Sabine, who has created such an awesome business and service called Sabine’s Baskets. She shops for, packages and delivers a basket of market goods, straight to your front door. Along the way, she’s become quite the expert in choosing produce at their best, and making them last. If you hate throwing away rotten fruit & veggies, you know how valuable her tips will be!
Let’s take a peek into her day – plus learn her 5 expert tips to help keep produce fresher for longer!
Sabine spends her mornings at the wet market (our version of a farmer’s market). As we walked around, she talked to me about the importance of supporting our local farmers and suppliers as well as feeding ourselves fresh whole foods. I think what she’s doing is awesome. The 6 am wake-up call, not so much, but I do appreciate her energy!
I asked Sabine to answer some of the produce-related questions that I’ve received from readers, perhaps a question that you’ve had yourself! Check them out below and if you have a favorite tip – please do share it in the comments below. That way we’ll all be keeping our produce fresh, like a pro!
Sabine’s top 5 tips for storing and keeping our produce fresher for longer!
- Which fruit or veg should not be refrigerated?
It’s always hard to decide what should, and should not be refrigerated. A way to understand this better, is to know that tropical fruits do not need to be refrigerated – avocados, watermelon, papaya, dragon fruit, mangoes, etc. Non-tropical fruits, especially temperate ones such as blueberries and strawberries should be refrigerated. As a guide, fruits should be left at room temperature to ripen, after which, refrigeration would help to prolong freshness and halt further ripening. On the other hand, refrigerating vegetables, especially leafy ones, is necessary to maintain crisp and freshness. Fruits and vegetables that absolutely should not be refrigerated are: onions, garlic, potatoes, and tomatoes.
- What’s the best way to keep herbs fresher for longer?
Treat herbs like you would flowers, and they will stay fresh for longer. Place herbs like parsley, coriander, and rosemary upright into a narrow cup or jar. Fill with some water, ensure that the leaves do not touch water. Trim the stems and change the water every 1-2 days. Remove all rubber bands and let the leaves be free and fluffy. Leave it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sun. For best results, you can refrigerate it, but remember to cover with a plastic or paper bag, to prevent the the herb from drying out. Basil should not be refrigerated, and should be left at room temperature.
- How can I get my avocado to ripen faster?
Some fruits release a gas called ethylene that helps to speed up ripening process. Bananas, apples, tomatoes, mangoes, and papayas are fruits that release such gases. Place your avocado with these fruits in a paper bag and leave it on the counter. Check daily to prevent over-ripening. If your fruits have already ripened, don’t put them near fruits that release ethylene gas, and refrigerate to halt further ripening.
- What’s the best way to store leafy greens?
For leafy greens to last longer, they should be kept cool and dry in the refrigerator. Make sure your leafy greens are dry (use a salad spinner or paper towel). Next, wrap them loosely and gently in a paper towel. Line a resealable plastic bag with more paper towels, and place the leafy greens in. Push any excess air out and seal the plastic bag. The leafy greens should be able to last as long as a week. You can regularly check the plastic bag, if the paper towels have gotten damp, replace it. Remember to store vegetables and fruits separately in the refrigerator. Try not to cut or tear leaves, or remove from stem before storage.
- Whats my fav tip from keeping produce fresher for longer?
I have a few rules:
- Don’t rinse or cut unless you’re going to eat it immediately. (unless you’re cutting the greens from roots such as carrots and beetroot)
- Always put produce in a plastic or paper bag before placing it in the refrigerator
- Remove any rubber bands or fasteners
- Always keep fruits and vegetables separate in the refrigerator.
Thanks a million, Sabine! Do check out her website for more details.
Posted by militza
If you’re a green shake enthusiast, green juice lover – or trying out the 21 day morning detox – you’re going to be using a lot of lemons! Don’t throw away those peels – so much goodness lives there! I have 20 ways to use them:
Posted by militza
- Lemon zest for cooking. Before you squeeze your lemon, zest it first. You can store it in the freezer to use for cooking when you need. Perfect to brighten up a cream pasta sauce!
- Lemon Vinegar Cleaner. Cut off the peels and store them in the fridge until the end of the week. You’ll have enough to make a vinegar infusion. Pat them dry and make a lemon vinegar to use in your household cleaning recipes. Use this recipe for the how-to.
- Lemon Ice-cubes. Add lemon slices to your ice-cube tray to brighten up your drinks!
- Lemon zest butter. Make any steamed vegetable awesome by mixing in a little lemon zest, butter and herbs!
- Make Lemon Olive Oil. Pat dry the lemon rinds and add to olive oil. Allow to sit for 2 weeks to infuse in the lemon flavor
- Make Drawer Sachets. Dry out your lemon peels in a warm oven and then mix with spices like lavender to create a beautiful potpourri.
- Clean Stainless Steel. Use the rind of the lemon with a little salt to scrub your stainless steel clean.
- Perk up your Mood. Squeeze the lemon rinds and let the essential oils fall around you. Breathe in the uplifting scent – lemon essential oils are known to enhance your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Sanitise your chopping board. Squeeze the lemon rinds and let the essential oils fall on the chopping board. Lemon essential oils are incredibly antimicrobial and help keep your boards clean!
- Make a fruit & veggie spray. Infuse the vinegar with lemon rinds and use the solution to clean your fruit and veggies. Get the recipe here.
- Make a lemon vinaigrette. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper and dress up your greens!
- Lemon Scrub. Add lemon zest, soft brown sugar and pour in coconut oil until the mixture feels like wet sand. Makes a great gift!
- Coffee Cup Stain Remover. Place lemon peel in the stained cup with boiling water. Let it sit, and then wipe away with cloth
- Microwave Cleaner. Place your squeezed lemon in a bowl with some water. Microwave for 2 minutes. The essential oils in the steam will help to break up any caked-on stains.
- Oven Cleaner. Sprinkle baking soda inside your oven and use the used lemon to give it a good scrub. Rinse clean with a vinegar cleaner.
- Lemon Salt & Pepper. Dry the lemon rinds in a warm oven. After they have dried, pulverize in a blender. Mix with salt & pepper to make a homemade seasoning.
- Remove stains on surfaces. Great for any surface, wood or marble, take the used half lemon, add salt and scrub on stains.
- Clothing Stain Removal. Soak delicates in a bath of lemons and baking soda for an hour before washing.
- Make Lemon Extract. Just like a vanilla extract – it’s super easy to make. Zest you lemons and pour over vodka. Allow to sit for 8 weeks. As you collect more lemon zest you can add it to the mixture to strengthen your extract. Use lemon extract in cooking, baking and to make cocktails!
- Make a refreshing toner. Add boiling water over the lemon peels with a mint tea bag. Store in a spray bottle and in the refrigerator for a cooling and refreshing mist to perk up your skin (and mood!). Lasts for up to 5 days in the fridge. Note: You don’t want lemon oil on your skin out in the sun! Wait a few hours or use this is the evening or when you’re not planning on going out.
There are so many awesome fall ideas going around and three of my favorites happen to be all about food, no surprise, and super easy to make – again, no surprise! Hope they inspire you to get in the kitchen and play!
Posted by militza
- Pumpkin Spice Creamer – skip the boxed stuff and make a homemade creamer! Lasts 1 week in the fridge and looks absolutely delicious!! If you have friends over – serve this with freshly brewed coffee, I think they’ll fall off their chairs!
- Vanilla Pumpkin Seed Clusters - for snacks, for friends, for gifts… perfect!
- Powdered Sugar Cake Stencil - what an awesome idea! Use a stencil and a sprinkling of powdered sugar to create something that looks like it came from a bakery. Try chocolate cakes or brownies!
I love steaming my veg – it’s quick and it helps to retain the nutrients. Recently, I’ve been plucking a few twigs of my rosemary and tossing it in the water. It imparts such a lovely herb scent and flavour to the veg! Try this at home! I reckon any herb will work, especially when you’re getting to the end of a packet and not sure how to use it, or if you have a plant at home – it just takes a few snips. Easy!
What do you do with your steam water?
Posted by militza
- Use it to water your plants
- Use it to cook rice or quinoa
- Use it to make a stock. If you’re not making a stock in the next few days, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.
- Use it to clean/flush the toilet. Allow to cool, remove the herbs, add a splash of vinegar and clean away!
- Use it as a steam facial. The herbs offer great benefits to the skin! After you remove the veg, put the pot on a safe counter, stand over it with a towel over your head and breathe in for 5 minutes. It will unclog pores and cleanse your skin!
This weekend I’m going on a picnic with friends who have kids. So the big question with these things is always: what do you bring? Let me show a simple idea that has been a big hit with my family. So, sandwiches are a classic, right – but sometimes you want to make things a bit more fun…
These sandwich rolls are so easy and transforms from something traditional to something magical! Make it and watch them disappear!
You can do any sandwich this way – I’ve tried ham & cheese, peanut butter & jelly even just plain butter for my youngest and her weird cravings. And it’s not for kids only – you can do a plate of finger food with various flavors and it just makes for a fun small bite to eat!
- sliced wholemeal bread
- toppings: peanut butter, cream cheese, cheese, ham, salmon, shredded lettuce… what ever you like!
Posted by militza
- cut the crust off a slice of bread
- roll it out with a rolling pin until it flattens and expands
- add your toppings then roll up to form a long roll (like sushi!)
- slice into circles
- If you have a lot of stuffing, put a toothpick through it to hold the shape.