Pro Tips to Make Produce Last

In our previous wellness letter, we highlighted the important relationship between gut and immune health - a topic also addressed at length in yesterday’s New York Times.

This week, Dr. Chinara Tate outlines actionable steps to easily incorporate more gut and immune supporting foods into your diet and, importantly, extend their shelf-life in your fridge, freezer and pantry. 

Shelf-Stable, Must-Have Gut & Immune Supporting Foods 
The following items associated with GI health support have a shelf life of two weeks or greater and can be bought in bulk* with sufficient storage space. 

*Note: If you’re finding it near impossible to score a delivery time-slot from your usual online grocers,  many restaurants, caterers and wholesalers are selling grocery and CSA bundles for pick-up and delivery. It’s a great way to fill your pantry and support an industry in need at the same time. 

3+ months  (unopened)
Walnuts, almonds, cashews, nut butters, brown rice, quinoa, oats, farro, buckwheat, olive oil, applesauce, seeds, flaxseed, chia seeds, dry beans and lentils, (low-sodium) canned beans, tuna, chicken or salmon

2+ weeks  (whole / unopened)
Eggs, yogurt, fresh sweet potatoes, apples, butternut, acorn & spaghetti squash, carrots, cabbage, beets, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit

How to Make Gut & Immune Supporting Foods Last Longer
Some GI supporting foods don’t fare as well in the refrigerator and can expire within a few short days. Try these tips to add weeks or even months to their shelf-life.

Buy It frozen - Frozen fruits and veggies are typically picked at the peak of season and thus equivalent or even surpass the nutrient density of their fresh counterparts

Dip It In Olive Oil - Tired of tossing fresh herbs just days after purchase? Submerge them in olive oil in a mason jar or ice tray and freeze for later use in marinades, salads or to dip bread in restaurant-style.

Freeze It - Less shelf-stable fruits and veggies can get an extension on life by freezing them for super nutrient dense smoothies, stir-frys and soups - even just ripened avocados can get tossed in the freezer for later blending without a change in flavor or texture (once blended).

Cook It & Store It - Soups, stews and chilis often taste even better upon reheating and are thus an awesome way to extract the most out of veggies, bulbs and herbs before they wilt.

For the best of all worlds, we love to combine the fresh taste of our favorite health foods in their original form (strawberries, avocados and, of course, PS caviar) with what we’ve preserved using these techniques. It will help make your groceries last longer, your dining in experience more varied and your G & I systems healthier!

Finally, take a load off and enjoy this soothing video of American sweetheart Stanley Tucci making a negroni. And in celebration of Earth Day tomorrow, seven artists reflect on the beauties of each continent for The Washington Post Magazine.

-Team PSC