Summer is almost here, and with it an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmer’s Markets, local coops, or even supermarkets will offer a variety of seemingly fresh, fragrant, richly colored produce. Berries, melons, tomatoes…some organic, some conventionally grown, some freshly picked and some artificially ripened. As consumers, we will probably fill our shopping baskets, pile everything together, tuck it into the refrigerator’s produce drawer…and toss it out in a few days!

On the average, American’s toss out ½ pound of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. A full 25% of the produce we buy, we will discard because it’s gone bad. That’s an enormous expense.  Another 10 – 25% will be tossed because it wasn’t flavorful to start with.  Let’s face it, children don’t want to eat five servings a day of food that looks bad, smells bad, or is tasteless, and neither do adults.  Add to that wasted meats and dusty pantry goods, and the precious money we’ve spent on fresh foods has been tossed right into the dumpster.

We need to eat high quality, nutritious foods.  At the same time, we need to spend less money, reduce our grocery costs, and reduce wasteful spending.  So, how we can select high quality produce in the market, make sure it is ripe, and then keep it fresh at home?

The following pages provide specific information for buying and storing fresh fruits. vegetables, herbs and spices, meats, dairy products, and other fresh foods.

Guides to Buying and Storing Fresh Fruits
Guides to Buying and Storing Fresh Vegetables
Guides to Buying and Storing Fresh Herbs and Spices
Guides to Buying and Storing Fresh Meats
Guide to Shelf Lives of Everything in your Kitchen


These guides also provide the basics for extending the shelf lives by freezing, canning, or drying, including

  • when to buy/ when it’s in season
  • what qualities, colors, and aromas to look for
  • what the major difference is in organic growing
  • pesticide contamination concerns
  • how to store
  • how to freeze
  • basic shelf lives
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