How To Make Your Fresh Vegetables Last Longer

22 Sep

My top tricks to keep our veggies and fruits to last longer

I don’t know about you, but most of our weekly food budget is for fresh produce. I shop at a local vegetable store where local farmers got together to sell their produce. It is not organic fruits and veggies but it is certainly farm to table.

Over the years, I have tried out a bunch of different tricks to keep the delicious veggies fresh while in the fridge. I have one trick that I depend on to keep our veggies fresher, for longer.

Here are my top tricks:

1.  A ziplock bag (or sealed container) and paper towels.

I store our cucumbers, fresh herbs, lettuce, spinach and mushrooms in sealed containers with one or two paper towels. The towels absorb the moisture and stops the produce from wilting. I need to note here, that I replace the paper towel every single time I open the container/bag. And if I haven’t opened it in a few days (no more than 3), I replace the paper towels. Again, you do not want the towels to become so moist that it helps rot the produce.

Keeping Cucumbers Fresh

Cucumbers: Add cucumbers to a ziplock bag (or a sealed container), add two pieces of paper towels. Stays fresh for up to 3 weeks. as long as you replace the paper towels every few days or when you open up the container)

Green onions (scallions): Cut off the green stems, wrap in two pieces of paper towels and store in a plastic bag. Stays fresh for up to 3 weeks. as long as you replace the paper towels every few days or when you open up the container)

Spinach: Dump a bag of baby spinach into a sealed container, add a single paper towel on the top of it before closing the container. Stays fresh up to 3 weeks (as long as you replace the paper towels every few days or when you open up the container)

Romain Lettuce: Wrap the bunch and place in a sealed container. Stays fresh up to 3 weeks as long as you replace the paper towels every few days or when you open up the container)

Fresh Herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, mint, nana, sage, etc. ): Wrap the bunch and place in a sealed container. Stays fresh up to 3 weeks as long as you replace the paper towels every few days or when you open up the container)

2. Vinegar bath

I fill a large bowel with cold water and dump in a cap sized amount of white vinegar to the water and then gently (I don’t want to bruise the fruits or vegetables) place the fruits/veggies in the water for about 15 minutes. Then  I wash off with regular water and let the fruits and veggies air dry before placing them into the fridge.

Berries: Blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. Make sure they are completely dry before placing in the fridge or they will mold.

Strawberries: Will last 2 weeks in the fridge

Cherry tomatoes: Will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge

3. Storing onions and garlic in a “hole-y basket”

It is imperative to store onions and garlic in a bowl/container with holes. Don’t pack them in too tightly – these veggies need to breathe.

So try out my neat little tricks to see if this will keep your fruits/veggies to last longer and let me know if they worked for you.

If you liked this post, you might like my Hacking the Home post.

Two Military Funerals In One Day

22 Jul

Jessica, a journalist from the Times of Israel : “So is this your first military funeral?”

Me: “No, this is the second one”

Jessica: “Second one ever?”

Me: <heavy sigh> “The second one today. The first one was for Yuval Dagan, from Kfar Saba.”

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Yesterday I went to two separate funerals for fallen IDF soldiers. One was for Yuval Dagan and the other was for Sean (Nissim) Carmeli.

These funerals were not on my “to do” list yesterday but by the end of the work day, it was apparent to me that I would be attending one funeral.

Yesterday afternoon I heard that one of the soldiers killed in the war was a “lonely” soldier – Sean (Nissim) Carmeli, who moved to Israel and volunteered to serve in a combat unit for the IDF.  Sean grew up in the States and at moved here with his family at 16. His family returned to the States and Sean decided to stay and enlist.

The second funeral was for Yuval Dagan of Kfar Saba. I stumbled across the funeral on my way home from work and knew I could not just go home. I needed to pay my respects for a soldier  that I never met who died fighting for our country.

I came home after the funeral with dried tears on my cheeks and told Eitan to hold me. I am lucky. I can hug the man that I love. And I told him… we need to leave to Haifa in 45 minutes to make it to the next funeral.

The drive was relatively quiet until we reached the entrance to Haifa. Traffic was backed up and the sight of the number of people walking to the cemetery made my jaw drop and a huge lump got stuck in my throat.

I don’t really know how to put my feelings into words so bear with me. You see, I am an olah. I moved here the summer of 2004 and I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary of being an American-Israeli. I am beyond proud of the hard choices I made and the daily choices I make to stay here. But I did not put my life on the line for our country and others like Sean, Max Steinberg, Michael Levine and others that came before them.

I was humbled at Sean’s funeral last night. The turnout was massive – and it was astonishing to see how many came to support Sean’s family and to say farewell to one of their own.

As an oleh, you feel different than a sabra. You are different. But when an oleh or volunteer dies fighting for our country, they are considered the same as a sabra. Sean might have grown up in a different country, but he died as a full blooded Israeli.

May Sean, Max, Yuval and the rest of the fallen soldiers rest in peace. May their families and loved ones find endless comfort and support from those around them and all of us.

And may we all experience true peace. Amen.

Hacking the Home

26 Apr

For the past 10 + years, I have lived in rental apartments. Some of these apartments were well maintained, others were not. Over the years I have “hacked” my home to make it more livable.

Hack: To jury-rig or improvise something inelegant but effective, usually as a temporary solution to a problem.  (according to Urban Dictionary)

I have become the MacGyver of the home.  Now if you are not familiar with MacGyver, he was a television secret agent who solved complex problems with everyday materials he found at hand. In every single episode, MacGyver rescued himself from the bad guys using homemade hacks.

MacGuyver’s formula to hack a gun.

I have tested and tried some everyday hacks that will make your home life easier and more enjoyable.

Here are my top 5 hacks:

1. Using mosquito netting to make temporary window screens. There are many different ways to keep the mosquito netting up and around the window. In the past I have stapled it to old wood window frames, or I have sewed it to the metal window bars. Last night I hung up the mosquito netting outside of our porch doors by sewing it to the porch door’s iron grill.

2. Placing a lavendula plant (lavender that looks like rosemary) outside of the window to repel mosquitos from coming in. I use this when I can’t use my #1 hack

3.  Baking soda + vinegar = natural magic cleaning power.  There are so many use cases for this combination. My favorite use case for this? Drain cleaner. Yup. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda down the sink or bathtub drain. Then pour 1/2 cup of   (cheap) vinegar down the drain. Let it bubble for 5 minutes and then rinse the rain with a cup or two of boiling water.

4.  Taping bay leaves  inside every single cupboard and shelf in my kitchen. For some reason, bay leaves repeal food moths that can ruin your food or give you an infestation of  maggots. GAG.

5. A tablespoon of vinegar poured into a bowl of cold water to clean fruits and veggies. This mixture kills the bacteria that turns your gorgeous strawberries into a moldy mush. When I wash (and then dry) my fruits and veggies in this mixture, they last a lot longer. I also use this mixture to kill any bugs hidden in my lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.  But I only soak these veggies right before I use them.

What are you favorite home hacks? I’d love to hear your tips!

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