Has this happened to you before? You buy packaged produce, say a box of mixed greens or a bag of asparagus. A day or two later, you open the package and the greens/asparagus don’t look fresh. Maybe they’ve started to smell, and you can see some wilting or yellowing. You end up throwing out the healthy produce you bought. It’s a waste of money and you’ve missed out on some awesome nutrients.This happened to me until I got smart about selecting produce.
So here’s my strategy to buying the freshest, longest-lasting greens: check and compare their expiration dates. Supermarkets often sell two or more shipments worth of produce at a given time, which means that some packages will be fresher than others (I’ve figured this out after years of comparing). The key is to dig through the packages until you find the freshest one, i.e. the one with the expiration date furthest into the future. You may find a difference of 3-5 days or more, which buys you a lot of time to include them in meals! My general rule of thumb is that I look for an expiration date that is at least 5 days in the future, so I know I have several mealtimes to consume the product before it starts going bad.
So, for example: the other day, I went to buy baby spinach and some boxes had an expiration date of January 1st, while others said January 4th. So, of course, I bought a box that said January 4th. I also made sure to select a January 4th box that had no yellow or wilted leaves.
When I can’t find a package that gives me at least five days before the expiration date, I find an alternative product that will give me more time. Instead of buying the boxed baby kale that expires within a few days, opt for the spinach that expires over a week later. Bottom line: It’s best to buy fresh and have a chance to eat the product, then buying exactly what you want and it going bad quickly.
Note: expiration dates are never precise. The product can start going bad before or after the date printed. But they are a convenient rule of thumb because they do tell you which products are fresher and which are older. Obviously, it’s best to eat whatever you buy as soon as possible, because veggies and fruits start losing nutrients the older they get.
Another really great money-saving tip: If your greens have started wilting before you have a chance to finish them, then cook them!
You can saute wilted greens in oil (with salt, pepper, and fresh garlic or whatever spices you love), throw them on top of a soup when it’s almost done cooking, use them as a pizza topping, include them in your omelette, or put them in a sandwich. I’ve sauteed all sorts of greens before: arugula, kale, baby greens, lettuce, etc. They all taste great and you would never thing they had wilted!
Wishing all of my readers a healthy, peaceful, and fulfilling new year!
And thank you for all of your support!