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Twice a month, we’re giving readers a chance to ask Food Network Kitchens’ advice about an issue they’re having with a dish or a food item. They can’t re-formulate a recipe for you, but they’re happy to help improve it. This week’s question will help readers keep their produce longer.
Question: How can I keep fruits and veggies fresh until I use or cook them? I bought corn on the cob on Tuesday and by Friday, it had lost its moisture and taste. How do I extend the life of my produce? — Beth Patterson-Grinavic Kiessling
Answer: Fruits and vegetables, especially in the summer months, are almost best eaten immediately, before they ever need to go in the refrigerator. If you haven’t had much luck storing corn on the cob, try cutting all the kernels off the cobs and then storing them in an airtight container. They should be fine for sautéing or boiling for up to three or four days.
Strawberries that are packed tightly in their containers are more likely to get smashed and then spoil. If you know you won’t get to them immediately, spread them out in a shallow container lined with paper towels, and then refrigerate them.
Even if your produce is past its peak, there are always ways to salvage it. It might be too late to eat corn on the cob, but three-day-old corn tastes great in a chowder, as creamed corn or sautéed with butter and herbs. Berries or stone fruit that are starting to get mushy can be disguised perfectly in muffins, cakes, jams and cobblers. Make zucchini bread with past-its-prime squash, or marinara sauce with your tomatoes. Nothing beats a just-picked strawberry or perfectly ripe peach, but a saute pan or an oven can work wonders to revive any lost flavor.
Have a question for the Kitchens? Leave a comment below and they’ll answer a select number of them in the coming weeks.
More From Fix My Dish:
Humidity and Cookies (August 2011)