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How to Store Fruits and Vegetables the Right Way

Fruits and vegetables,TIPS AND TRICKS

How you store fruits and vegetables will have a major impact on their taste and texture when you serve them. Although it is best to eat any kind of produce as quickly as possible after purchasing them because flavours and nutrients start to degrade the moment they are picked. But there are few that require extra consideration and if stored properly, can retain its flavour and nutrient as well as its texture.

This produce storage guide will help you save your fruits and vegetables.

  • Apples– do not wash until just before eating. Keep them sealed in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator. They give off a lot of ethylene gas, so don’t store them next to anything else.
  • Avocados– keep them stored at room temperature in a basket or platter on your counter. If you need them to ripen quickly, put in a brown paper bag along with a banana. If it is ripe and you need to stop the ripening process, place them in the fridge.
  • Bananas- They produce more ethylene gas than any other fruit. Keep them away from other produce. Once they are ripe, you can stop the ripening process by putting them in the fridge, just be sure to put them in a sealed bag.
  • Bell peppers– store in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
  • Berries– never wash berries until you are ready to eat them. The dusty layer on them serve as a natural preservative. Store loosely in shallow containers and cover with plastic and keep them refrigerated.
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower– these should be kept in their original wrapping/packaging and kept in the fridge. Do not wash until ready to use.
  • Cabbage– store in the fridge, in a plastic bag. Do not wash until you are ready to use.
  • Carrots– wash them thoroughly. If they have green tops, cut off all but an inch. Wrap them in a damp paper towel, seal in a plastic bag and store in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator.
  • Celery– rinse thoroughly, loosely wrap in paper towel, then tightly wrap the entire stalk in aluminium foil and keep in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh and crisp for weeks.
  • Citrus– since some citrus fruits have thicker skin, they are easier to store. They will stay fresh for about two weeks in the fridge, and about a week on the counter. They can be stored with other produce.
  • Cucumber– store in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Do not wash until ready to use.
  • Corn– Husks on? store loose and uncovered in the fridge. husks off? wrap in foil and store in the crisper drawer. It should last one or two days.
  • Garlic– store at room temperature. Whole heads will last 3 to 5 weeks, but once cloves are separated, they will last about 10 days.
  • Grapes– do not wash until you are ready to eat. Store them in the fridge, in the plastic bags they come in, or poke holes in the plastic bags to allow for air circulation.
  • Kiwi fruit– store at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate.
  • Lemons and limes– these will last longer at room temperature.
  • Mangoes– can be ripened at room temperature in a brown paper bag. To stop the ripening process, refrigerate.
  • Onions– store in a cool, dry place that has good air circulation. Do not store with potatoes; if kept next to each other, they spoil quickly.
  • Pears– if they aren’t ripe, store them at room temperature. Once they ripen, place them in a plastic bag and store in the fridge.
  • Peaches and plums– store at room temperature until ripe, then store in plastic bags in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
  • Pineapple– because the sugar is concentrated at the base of a pineapple, you can store them upside down for a day or two at room temperature or in the fridge to allow the sweetness spread throughout the fruit.
  • Potatoes– store in a cool, dry place that has good air circulation for as long as 2 to 3 months. Do not store with onions.
  • Tomatoes– store them in a cool dry place. Don’t store them in plastic bags as the trapped ethylene will make them ripen more quickly. Once ripe, you can put them in the fridge to slow the ripening process, but let them come to room temperature before using them.

Important points to note;

  • The best storage methods for fresh vegetables vary within each vegetable category.
  • Keep vegetables that are not stored in the refrigerator (such as potatoes and onions) away from heat sources and out of sunlight.
  • When storing vegetables in plastic bags, remember to poke some holes in the bag to allow for proper air circulation or better still, buy perforated plastic vegetable bags.
  • Do not wash your vegetables until you are ready to use them. Although some vegetables can last for long periods of time when properly stored, try to use them sooner, rather than later, for optimal flavour and nutrient value.
  • Do not store potatoes and onions together because they give off gases that can cause the rapid decay of the other.

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