Do you find yourself stocking up on fresh produce only to throw half of it out days later because it's rotten?

Collectively, Kiwi households are throwing away more than 47,000 tonnes of vegetables a year, contributing to "almost a third of food wasted by New Zealand households, mainly due to their short shelf life," says Dr Miranda Mirosa from the University of Otago.

In an effort to help combat this huge amount of waste, the university has partnered with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, conducting research to find the best home storage methods to give produce a longer shelf life.

Here are some of the findings which reveal easy methods to make your produce last, in some cases, up to 10 times longer.


Salad greens

Possibly the most infuriating of fresh produce, how many times have you had to throw out a bag of mesclun because it's rotted before you've been able to use it all?

According to the research, you can make your salad greens last up to two days longer by placing them in an airtight container instead of leaving them in the bag they were purchased in.


Wrapping a cut avocado in cling wrap, forming a tight seal around it, is enough to make it last four times longer than if it was left uncovered.

Brushing the flesh of an avocado with lemon juice or olive oil was proven to make the avocado deteriorate faster, rather than last longer, as is commonly thought.


Carrots were found to last 10 times longer when they were stored in an airtight container lined with a paper towel, rather than left loose in the fridge.

Celery and iceberg lettuce

Both celery and iceberg lettuce can be wrapped in a paper towel and then stored in a ziplock bag. This will give them a couple of extra days of freshness.


To make pumpkin last longer, wrap it tightly in cling wrap. The research also showed that it makes no difference if the seeds are left in or out if you're storing it in this way.

Storing cut pumpkin correctly could make it last twice as long. Photo / 123rf
Storing cut pumpkin correctly could make it last twice as long. Photo / 123rf