How To Make Your Fruit & Vegetables Last Longer
We’ve all experienced the disappointment of spoiled fruits and vegetables. It’s a pain to have to throw out produce you’ve purchased and haven’t yet eaten, especially if you haven’t had the chance to enjoy it. If you wonder whether there’s anything you can do that doesn’t involve three trips to the grocer every week, the good news is that there is. Plus, it’s so much simpler than one might imagine. Many of the most common produce woes can be avoided simply through proper storage. Below, we’ll talk about some basic rules of thumb that will keep your fruits and vegetables fresher, longer. Just in time for the spring season ahead!
Best Tips for Vegetables
Below, we’ll briefly outline some of the best storage options for your favourite vegetables. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t crowd your produce. Give it room to breathe, and don’t seal it in an airtight bag. Also, colder isn’t always better. Some vegetables keep longer on your counter than in the cold chest.
The Don’t Cut It Club
Celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and all members of the cabbage family will store better, for approximately a week, if you avoid cutting the stem. For fresh Brussels sprouts, store them in an open bowl with a light covering for up to 14 days. Corn should be left in its husk if you’re not going to eat it right away.
The Anti-Refrigeration League
Several foods actually spoil more quickly in the refrigerator. Cucumbers and tomatoes should be left on display on your kitchen counter. However, they are both divas, so find a spot where they can pose on their own. Eggplant, pumpkins, garlic, potatoes, and onions should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. Pantries or other cupboards are useful for this.
Roots and Shoots
Foods like radishes, beets, and carrots—root vegetables will remain fresh longer if you trim the green shoots from the top and store in your refrigerator. This rule holds fast for all roots that come with leafy tops. They’ll stay fresh and firm for up to two weeks
Leafy greens and sprouts can be stored in a loose cloaking of paper towel in the fridge. While you’ll want to wash and pat the leafy greens dry, first, sprouts need no such pampering. Fresh herbs should be stored on your counter, within easy reach, like a floral bouquet—select a jar and keep a bit of water in it to keep them fresh.
Fruits of Your Labours
Fruit tends to be a bit more delicate than most vegetables, if only because of its role in the plant world. It is a powerhouse of ripening hormones, the most notorious and useful of which is called auxin. Two things you’ll want to remember—paper bags are your friends when it comes to storage, and only wash your fruits when you’re ready to eat them. Rubbing or washing away the bloom hastens spoiling and softening.
The Old One-Two
Stone fruits, tropical fruits, and apples can be kept on the kitchen counter. If your selections become ripe before you’re ready to eat them, store them in the refrigerator. This is applicable to avocados, peaches and nectarines, plums, mangos, papaya, kiwi, and apples.
Avoid the Fridge
Never store pears or citrus in the refrigerator. Pears are delicate and sensitive to the cold. However, while citrus are hardy, they also have a tendency to soak in the scents of other foods stored in your cold box.
Ripe for Trouble
Bananas and apples both tend to hasten the ripening of other fruits. Keep them away from both one another and your other selections in order to maintain freshness for a longer period of time.
While your fresh fruits and vegetables will remain firm and fresh longer following these simple rules, occasionally, there will be wilting. If you find that you can’t eat all your greens, roots, or fruits, simply use them in the kitchen. Minestrone soup was actually invented for just this purpose—leftover greens and veggies that were on the verge of spoiling made a wonderful and warm soup. Berries and fruits can be used in a similar way. Muffins, pies, and even compotes served over ice cream are a great way to maximize your fresh produce that isn’t as appealing to the eye as it was a week ago.