How to keep your food fresh longer

You’re staying home and taking care of your loved ones. You’re converting your kitchen table into makeshift office space and a temporary classroom. You’re putting social distancing into practice. 

This new reality means slowing down and staying healthy. That includes fewer trips to the grocery store and getting more mileage out of meals. Properly storing fruits, vegetables, herbs, bread, and leftovers can help keep your refrigerator and pantry well-stocked during this challenging time. 

 

Here are some easy ways to store fruit, vegetables, herbs, and bread with Bee's Wrap that will keep your food tasting fresh.

 

Berries

Berries are everyone’s favorite until mold makes an appearance. For longer shelf life, rinse blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries in a mix of vinegar and water (1 part vinegar, 2 parts water) to disinfect against mold. Rinse in plain water, and be sure your berries are dry before wrapping and refrigerating (try folding a medium or large wrap into a pouch!) Avoid storing in the crisper drawer to stave off humidity. 

 

Apples

Sliced apples are a perfect go-to snack, but leftovers can turn brown and mushy quickly, thanks to ethylene gas—a natural plant hormone that sets off the ripening process. To keep apple slices longer, soak them in a bowl of cold salt water to prevent oxidation—but use no more than a half-teaspoon of salt per quart of water. After five minutes, dry and use a small wrap for your slices and store in the fridge. 


Bananas 

Ethylene gas is also what causes bananas to ripen. To slow the process, separate each banana from the bunch and wrap each individual stem to stop the spread of ethylene gas. If your bananas are already too ripe for your taste, peel, wrap, and store them in the freezer for a future smoothie treat. 


Oranges

Oranges will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, but the best way to store them is in the refrigerator. Oranges keep well at room temperature for about one week. Any longer will cause the oranges to wrinkle and lose flavor. If you wrap and refrigerate, oranges will typically keep for about 3 to 4 weeks.  


Lemons

If the dish or drink you’re making requires just a squeeze of lemon, puncture the whole lemon with a fork rather than cutting it in half.  Squeeze what you need without drying out the whole lemon. To store, wrap and refrigerate. 


Avocados

Enzymes in avocado produce a brown pigment when exposed to oxygen. It doesn’t take long for half an avocado or a bowl of guacamole to look less than appealing. To avoid browning, use a dash of lemon or lime juice. The citric acid will help prevent browning for at least 24 hours. You can also try storing avocado slices with large chunks of onion for preservation. Just be sure the onion touches only the skin of the avocado. 


Carrots 

Carrots can look tired pretty quickly. To make them last, chop off the leafy greens if you bought them whole. Carrots do best with moisture. So, for best results, put them in a bowl filled with water, seal with a large wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Tomatoes
Whether you store tomatoes in the refrigerator or on your counter, it’s important to cover the stem end of a tomato—if it’s already fully detached from the stem and vine—to delay spoiling. You can flip the tomatoes upside down on the counter, or place a piece of tape over the stem scar. Ripe tomatoes can stay on the counter in a single layer as long as they are not touching each other. Overripe tomatoes will fare better in your fridge. Before eating refrigerated tomatoes, take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature to restore flavor. 


Lettuce

Store leftover leaves in a bowl with a paper towel on top, then seal with a reusable food wrap. Moisture is the culprit for turning leaves soggy and brown, so the paper towel works to absorbs moisture. Replace the towel when it becomes damp. Also, try putting a dash of salt on the lettuce, which also helps draw out extra wetness.


Herbs

If you buy herbs at the grocery store, remove all packaging as well as any brown or slimy bits. Rinse in cold water quickly and thoroughly, then blot them dry. A salad spinner can help remove additional water. Transfer the herbs in a single layer. Wrap and place in the fridge, preferably in the crisper drawer. 


Bread

A fresh loaf of bread is best eaten within a few days. Freezing is the best way to preserve bread for the longest time possible. If you’re planning on eating your bread within a few days, keep it stored in a cool and dry area (not on top of the refrigerator or near the dishwasher). A reusable bread wrap or bread bag is your best bet for freezing and storing. 


Made in Vermont, Bee’s Wrap is made with organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. This combination of ingredients creates a malleable food wrap that can be used over and over. Washable, reusable, and compostable, Bee’s Wrap allows food to breathe and keeps food fresher for longer. 

Related Articles
Letter from sarah: business can’t afford to be silent on climate change

For a long time, conventional wisdom had it that companies shouldn’t tackle hot-button political issues. That’s advice borne out of fear: the fear that, in exchange for voicing our opinions, we risk angering customers or losing sales. 

As the founder and CEO of Bee’s Wrap, I’m motivated these days by a greater fear: that, should our elected officials fail to act on the crisis of climate change, the damage we cause to our planet will be irreversible, negatively impacting our families, our communities, and our ecosystems forever.

As a Certified B Corp, Bee’s Wrap is committed to using business as a force for good. We make sustainable products that reduce single-use plastics, use environmentally friendly and safe ingredients, and are constantly looking for additional ways to reduce our carbon footprint. I am proud to run my company in a state that values these things too, but I know that together, we can do more. This year, Bee’s Wrap added its voice to the collective commitment of the Vermont business community to do better for our environment.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, Bee’s Wrap joined dozens of other Vermont businesses to advocate at the Statehouse for climate action policies in 2020. We participated in training, lobbying, and a press conference, as well as individual and group meetings with corresponding representatives.

While the Green Mountain State has a history of innovative environmental policies, the current climate challenges require audacious solutions. This legislative term, our lawmakers have the opportunity to pass more ambitious and much-needed policy. 

I feel it is important that our elected officials hear from the Vermont business community, as we are important stakeholders in Vermont’s economy and have an impact on the environment we all share. Our team joined others from companies like Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Danforth Pewter, and Brattleboro Savings and Loan, along with environmental nonprofits VPIRG and 350VT, to speak directly to our elected officials and we urged them to take immediate action. Bee’s Wrap’s focus is on reducing the usage and availability of single-use plastics, increasing the accessibility of renewable energy, and prioritizing the reduction of climate pollution, and we support the comprehensive 2020 climate policy agenda outlined by VPIRG. 

Vermont’s small size and long history of participatory democracy provides an opportunity for Vermont business (and individual Vermonters) to have direct, substantial, face-to-face conversations with their own state representatives and legislative leaders. Bee’s Wrap participated in this event to advocate for our business values and shared priorities for bold climate action. We did this alongside our corporate peers, demonstrating together that the need for action is vital and urgent. I am proud to have led Bee’s Wrap in the participation of this direct demonstration of our core values and am excited to continue advocating for the necessary change that our state and world need.

Why biodegradability matters

Plastic is forever. Bee’s Wrap isn’t. And that’s by design.


Bee’s Wrap is naturally biodegradable and compostable. We started making Bee’s Wrap after growing deeply concerned about the persistent effect of plastics on our planet. Plastic never leaves us. It lingers in landfills for centuries. It enters our soil, our waterways, and our oceans, breaking down into tiny but ever-present pieces.


We set out to make an alternative, and we knew from the beginning that whatever we made needed to be biodegradable. That’s because we believe in considering the entire life of the products we make and consume, from their creation and manufacturing to their eventual end. Where does a product come from? How is it made? And crucially, what happens when we no longer need or use this item?


This is where biodegradability comes in: A product that is biodegradable can be easily returned to the earth. It’s a technology as old as time, and everything made in nature returns to nature with time. There’s no complicated recycling process, and no need to send your Bee’s Wrap off to a special facility. Made from four simple ingredients, Bee’s Wrap comes from the earth, and is designed to return to the earth. 


Importantly, what you do with naturally biodegradable materials matters. Modern landfills are lined and packed tightly, creating an oxygen-poor environment where even food can take decades to decompose. One study conducted by the University of Arizona uncovered 25-year-old hotdogs, corncobs, and grapes, as well as 50-year-old newspapers that were still readable. Food waste that decomposes in landfills also generates methane gas, which has 34 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide, according to Project Drawdown, a coalition of researchers working on climate change solutions. 


This is why composting is so important; food waste, yard waste, and other organic material holds valuable nutrients that can be returned to the soil after decomposition. The same is true for Bee’s Wrap. When your wrap has reached the end of its useful life — typically after about a year of regular use and proper care in your kitchen — you can use your wraps as a natural fire starter, or you can add them directly to your backyard compost pile. With a little time and the right environmental conditions, your Bee’s Wrap will break down into nutritious compost that you can use in your backyard garden. 


We’ve designed Bee’s Wrap to be hardworking, a trusty companion in your kitchen and on the go as you seek out plastic-free alternatives that are good for you and the planet. As your Bee’s Wrap begins to wear out, we hope you’ll look on those signs of wear and use as a welcome reminder of the natural cycles that surround us.

The joy of inconvenience

Choosing inconvenience can be an act of quiet revolution. 

For too long, we’ve been told that convenience will cure what ails us. How convenient, to find our meals prepackaged in the freezer section of our grocery store, our bread baked and sliced and stowed in plastic bags. It’s convenient to pop a load of laundry in the dryer and to have our work at our fingertips, forever accessible on the devices we carry in our pockets. We click a button and, conveniently, that which we need — or think we need — arrives on our doorstep: underwear, paper towels, a birthday gift, a box of cereal.

We don’t talk often enough about how convenience can harm us. For the convenience of a smartphone, we trade the quiet of disconnecting. For the convenience of fast and pre-packaged food, we swallow a meal that may leave us sluggish or unsatisfied. Pre-packaged meals and one-click shopping leave us with a mountain of waste bound for the recycling can or the landfill. We’ve been promised efficiency and speed, and the freedom of time. Sometimes we receive that. Sometimes we don’t. 

The truth is, there’s joy in inconvenience. In the smell of bread baked at home, the magic of a few ingredients kneaded together and turned into sustenance. There’s joy in taking laundry out to the line, in standing in the sunlight and hanging clothes to dry. There’s joy and pride in knitting a sweater, or mending a pair of jeans. 

woman wrapping homemade bread in bee's wrap sustainable food storage

We’re not arguing for a return to the past, or for a rose-colored view of the very real work that it takes to clothe and feed and nourish ourselves in a way that’s kind to our bodies and our planet. There’s a time and a place for convenience, and there’s also luxury, and privilege, in the ability to savor inconvenience. 

Is it, occasionally, inconvenient to make a meal from scratch? To bundle a sandwich in Bee’s Wrap, or to spend a few minutes at the sink, washing dishes and reusable containers and Bee’s Wrap by hand? Yes.

Sometimes, we choose the joy of inconvenience, the quiet resistance of finding a different way of moving in the world — a path that’s lighter for the planet and more fulfilling for the individual. We choose to slow down. We choose thoughtfulness. We choose reuse. And we find, in those habits, new satisfaction.