One most important reason to purchase and eat fresh produce is the nutrients they contain that benefit our health. You can easily identify fresh vegetables by their lively color and crispiness brought by Phytochemicals. Crops naturally contain Phytochemicals, also known as Phytonutrients, that give health benefits to their consumers.
Studies have shown that people are more willing to purchase fresh, organic, and sustainable produce. 52% of this generation is also organic consumers and are eating more vegetables than older generations. This data is not something grocery stores can ignore. But the problem with produce in groceries is they experience shrinkage and loss of phytochemicals over time. Vegetables are more likely to undergo nutrient breakdown during shipping since public markets do not directly harvest their crops.
Having your own farm or garden lets you eat fresh produce right off the stem. But sometimes, excess harvest cannot be avoided. This is why it is important to know how to properly store your fresh produce to lengthen its freshness and retain its nutritional quality and health benefits. Here are some ways to keep a produce longer:
How to Keep Produce Fresh Longer
Before storing your produce, make sure to look for yellow leaves which indicate nutrient deficiency while growing and are no longer fit to store. Did you know that your vegetables would remain fresher if they grew with firm leaves, no signs of plant disease and pests, and a well-formed root system?
Crops like lettuce experience water loss after harvest that causes produce to shrink, wilt, and eventually become inedible. The best way to store produce and keep fresh veggies is to use storage bags to prevent moisture from escaping your produce. Experts suggest storing your vegetables unwashed but if you opt to clean it first, make sure to absorb the excess moisture with a paper towel, or butcher towel to prevent mold from coming in. Remember not to over dry your leafy greens for this causes them to wilt.
Cooling your produce is essential as this delays the respiration that causes vitamin loss. It also prevents your vegetables from shrinking and losing nutritional quality. If there is a cooling delay, make sure to store your produce in a covered bin or shaded area. If your produce is one of the delicate leafy greens like lettuce, make sure to store them away in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Always remember that these factors affect the freshness of your produce: temperature, humidity, and cooling.
Harvest Today in Lessening Food Waste and Increasing Food Security
At Harvest Today, we give huge importance to being able to eat fresh food. We believe that available fresh food makes you eat better. As modern technology increases, we also must adapt to the new farming methods to be able to produce fresh leafy greens and vegetables.
There is a huge difference between freshly harvested crops and grocery-bought veggies, which is why we produced the Harvest Wall to enable people to grow in their communities. If you are interested in starting to grow crops indoors, you can check out the Harvest Wall here.
About the Author
Naomi Jannah Ratio is a 24-year-old writer who sees huge importance in working towards a sustainable future for her kids and everyone in the world. Aside from being a stay-at-home mom taking care of her family, she often spends time thinking about how she can contribute to helping the environment in every little way possible. Together with the Harvest Today, she is hoping to improve global food security and work towards environmental injustices through her writings.