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Is your refrigerator full of half-cut onions? Well, you're not alone.
While we all hope the fridge's cool temperature will extend the life of leftover produce, it never seems to do the trick. So TODAY Food tapped chefs, nutritionists and other experts to share their favorite affordable tools and gadgets that help foods stay fresh longer.
1. Avocado Fresh Pod, $6, Amazon
Avocados contain an enzyme that turns brown when exposed to air, she explained, and putting a cut avocado in this container in the refrigerator reduces the amount of air that oxidizes it. “You can get an extra day or two out of what normally would go bad within a few hours,” she said.
2. BluApple Freshness Balls, $12, Amazon
Amy Shapiro, director of Real Nutrition in New York City, encourages her clients to eat lots of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. She recommended BluApple Freshness Balls for storing produce and helping it last longer.
“By keeping your BluApple in the produce drawer, it will absorb the natural gases that fruits and veggies release that cause them to ripen quickly, in turn slowing the process,” said Shapiro.
3. Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Saver Food Storage Container, $7, Amazon
Similar to the BluApple balls, these storage containers for produce allow air to circulate in and out of the container and prevent moisture from building up, keeping the produce fresh for longer periods of time, according to Shapiro.
“I keep all my prepped veggies stored here, so I can grab a snack, pack my kids' lunches and even put together sides for my dinners all week long,” she said.
4. BlueAvocado Reusable (re)zip Reusable Lunch Bags, $20, Bed Bath & Beyond
While Claudia Sidoti, head chef and recipe developer at meal delivery service HelloFresh, said she tends to use old-fashioned tricks like damp paper towels to wrap herbs, she also loves these reusable lunch bags for storing items in the fridge.
“Re-sealable storage produce bags are a more eco-friendly approach to Ziplocs and work great for storing snacks, sandwiches, cut-up fruit and veggies,” said Sidoti. “They are also leak-free, which helps minimize clean-up.”
5. Novart Herb Keeper and Herb Storage Container, $24, Amazon
“To keep herbs fresh, I recommend buying an herb keeper,” said Kevin Templeton, executive chef of barleymash in San Diego, California. “These nifty guys will keep food like asparagus, celery, dill, parsley and others fresh for two weeks.”
The Novart herb keeper, Templeton’s top pick, is the largest on Amazon, at 11 inches tall, and fits in most refrigerator doors.
6. Cusimax Automatic Vacuum Sealer, $40, Amazon
“My go-to hack for keeping food fresh longer is using a vacuum sealer,” Templeton also said. But he advised making sure all ingredients have been washed, and proteins have been handled properly. "There are certain bacteria that thrive in zero-oxygen environments,” he said.
He recommended the Cusimax Sealer, which is affordable and has a 30-day money back guarantee.
7. Stasher Reusable Silicone Food Bag, $18, Amazon
“They are microwave-, oven-, freezer-, stovetop- and dishwasher-safe — and airtight, too,” said Mary Weidner, co-founder of meal-planning app Strongr Fastr. “I've used them to hold chopped vegetables for meals like stir fry later in the week and for storing my sandwich for lunch. I have bags in the freezer that hold all the fruits and veggies for smoothies, so I can just take out the bag and dump it in a blender.”
Weidney also said she likes that you can write on the bags with dry erase markers to help remember the date of storage.