Next time you contemplate tossing out those limp greens, softening grapes or spotted bananas, you may want to reconsider. A study found that fruits and vegetables don’t lose any antioxidant capacity in the days after purchase, and still provide abundant nutrients, including antioxidants, up until the time that they begin to spoil.
Belgian researchers purchased an assortment of fresh produce and measured their antioxidant content, then stored them at room temperature or refrigerated them. They continued to check the antioxidant levels of both groups until spoilage occurred, and found that the fruits and vegetables did not lose any phenolic compounds, ascorbic acid or flavanols - the trio of chemical types associated with antioxidant content. And in some cases, the total count of phenolic compounds actually increased prior to spoilage.
Instead of tossing produce, try cooking methods that exploit their softened state - you can easily turn older fruits into jams, add limp greens to soups and stews, and overripe bananas are perfect for banana bread!
Here's my favorite banana bread recipe.