Ten tips for storing fruits and vegetables so they last longer

Ten tips for storing fruits and vegetables so they last longer

Ten tips for storing fruits and vegetables so they last longer 2560 1708 Table Under a Tree

We’ve all been there… Come home from a farmer’s market or greengrocer with an armful of fresh produce and shoved it away without much thought, only to find it wilted, spotty, mushy (or worse) by the time we actually come to use it!

So how do you store your produce to stop that from happening? While nothing is foolproof, here’s the tips I’ve learned along the way to give you the best chance to enjoy fruits and veggies in their best condition.

  1. Store like with like. Lots of fruits and vegetables release ethylene, a gas that will ripen produce. Things like bananas are notorious for this, which is why the advice is to use this to your advantage if you’re trying to ripen something like a firm avocado. To manage this, or to at least control it, keep different types of produce separate where you can perhaps by wrapping loosely in tea towels or reusable produce bags.
  2. Are you in a hot and humid environment (hello Northern River’s summer!)? Some fruits you can, and should, store out of the fridge at least until ripe but do be vigilant and keep an eye on them. Things like tomatoes, avocados, melons, citrus, mangos, papaya are fine to stay on the bench but once they’re fully ripe, put them in the fridge (but bring back to room temperature to eat them). Better still, eat them straight away. Berries, cherries and apples all need to be stored in the fridge though. Apples will be crisper if kept there.
  3. Generally speaking, all vegetables go in the fridge, in the crisper drawer or on the shelves (in towels, produce bags or glass containers). The exceptions are potatoes, onions, whole pumpkins and garlic, who all prefer cool dark places.
  4. Except for leafy greens like kale, chard or spinach, don’t wash your veggies before you put them away. The leafy greens will like the moisture but not other vegetables. And don’t ever wash mushrooms to store or to cook. Just brush off any dirt before you cook them.
  5. Herbs can be a tricky lot. Most will be best stored in the fridge. You can try the glass of water method (trim the ends and stand in a glass of water in fridge) or the damp cloth method (eave whole and wrap in a damp tea cloth or paper towel). Basil really susceptible to cold though so keep it in fully wrapped in the fridge so it has some protection.
  6. Carrots, capsicum or celery going limp? Submerge them in a container of water in the fridge. After a few hours, or overnight, they’ll crisp up again.
  7. Micro-greens? Keep them dry and in the fridge. And eat them within a few days to get the most nutritional value from them.
  8. Keep your veggies in their clothes! Yes, that might sound strange, but a general rule of thumb is to keep vegetables in their natural state to help protect them. Think corn in its husk; cauliflower with its leaves wrapped around it; cherries with their stem intact.
  9. Don’t cram things into the fridge. The veggies you store in there will benefit from a little room to breathe – and it makes it easier to see what you have, which means you’re more likely to use them anyway.
  10. Buy locally grown produce. Seriously. Not only are you helping your local economy by supporting small farmers; not only are you helping the environment by reducing food miles; and not only are you eating produce in the season when it will be the best. No, the best reason to buy local is that you’re getting it as close to the time it was harvested as possible. That means you’re already days (if not weeks) ahead of the what you might otherwise find at a supermarket. And that means you’ve got more time to enjoy!

Hope that helps! If you’ve got other tips or tricks, please share!

Cheers,

Georgina

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