You may have heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what happens when your apple starts looking like it needs a check-up? Fruits and vegetables are essential to receiving enough nutrients during the day. However, their short shelf life can make it difficult to eat them before they go bad!  

We’re on a mission to supporting independence through accessible, affordable and nutritious food options and programs in our community. And we want to make sure you have all the tools to get the most out of your Good Food Boxes. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), nearly 31% of the food we purchase ends up in landfills. Here are some tips on ways to extend the life of those fruits and vegetables that have found their way to the bottom of your veggie drawer. 

  • Regrow your scallions 

Did you know you can regrow scallions? Scallions, or green onions, are incredibly easy to regrow. Save the white ends with the roots attached and place them in a glass of water. Keep the glass on a windowsill, and soon you’ll notice new green shoots sprouting. You can trim these as needed for garnishes, salads, and more, making scallions a virtually endless resource. 

  • Regrow celery in water 

Don’t toss the base of your celery stalk! Instead, place it in a bowl of water and position it on a sunny windowsill. Within a few days, you’ll see new growth emerging from the center. This regrown celery can be used in your favorite recipes, providing you with a continuous supply of fresh celery. 

  • Regrow garlic in water 

Garlic cloves can also be regrown by placing them in a small amount of water. After a few days, they’ll start to sprout green shoots, which are edible and can be used just like chives. Alternatively, you can plant the sprouted cloves in soil to grow full garlic bulbs. 

  • Build a broth with veggie scraps. 

If you have a few different kinds of vegetables nearing their last days, consider transforming them into a hearty and nutrient-dense broth. You can eat broth on its own, or you can use it in recipes like soups, sauces, stews, chilis and casseroles. Not only can homemade broth be more flavorful than store-bought, but it can also be lower in sodium because you are in control of the seasonings. 

Simple Broth Recipe 
  • Chop vegetables into large chunks. 
  • In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of oil, add in the chopped vegetables, and cook until soft. 
  • Season the veggies with your favorite seasonings. 
  • Pour water into the pot until the water covers the cooked veggies. 
  • Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with the lid on for 50 minutes. 
  • Strain the broth using a colander and place the remaining liquid in a few shallow, sealable containers. 
  • Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days and freeze for up to 6 months. 
  • Properly store your produce. 

Different fruits and vegetables require different storage conditions. Proper storage is key to extending the life of your fresh produce. Leafy greens should be kept in airtight containers or bags with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Root vegetables like potatoes and carrots should be stored in a cool, dark place to prevent them from sprouting too quickly. By storing your produce correctly, you can enjoy fresh, delicious vegetables for longer periods. 

  • Wash produce right before use. 

Moisture can encourage the growth of mold and bacteria 

Which is why it’s best to wash fruits and vegetables just before you’re ready to eat or cook with them. This keeps them dry during storage and extends their shelf life. 

  • Don’t separate bananas until you’re ready to eat.  

Bananas ripen more quickly when separated from the bunch.  To slow the ripening process, keep them together until you’re ready to eat them. Additionally, wrapping the top stem in plastic wrap can help slow the release of ethylene gas and extend their freshness. 

By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can make the most of your Good Food Box, reduce waste, and enjoy fresh, nutritious produce for longer. At REACH we are committed to helping you live sustainably and healthily. 🌍✨