When we were children, we all learned the importance of a balanced diet in school and how important it is to eat our fruits and vegetables. But to get the most out of our produce we need to learn the right ways to store them properly in order to keep them fresh as long as possible. So, we’ve compiled a list of easy tips to keep in mind that will help extend the life and freshness of your fruits and vegetables while in storage!
- Some need to chill in refrigerators
A good rule of thumb is that most fleshy and/or juicy fruits and gourds belong in the fridge. These include zucchinis, citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, eggplants, and red and green bell peppers, especially once they’ve been cut up and exposed to air. All leafy and green veggies in general, also belong in the fridge. An important tip here to remember is to wrap them in newspapers or paper towels to prevent moisture from seeping into the vegetables. That way, they retain their crispness. Another type of produce you should keep chilled are mushrooms and root crops such as turnips and carrots.
And lastly, a general tip for all types of produce being kept in the fridge is to avoid overcrowding your refrigerator as much as you can in order to avoid spoilage. Some citrus fruits release enzymes wherein contact with other produce can cause severe browning. This also prevents the heavier and clunkier ones from crushing and bruising more delicate produce like lettuce leaves and spinach.
- Some are better kept off cool and dry
Contrary to popular belief, not all fruits and vegetables should be kept in the refrigerator. You have your usual suspects of bulbs like garlic and onions that can be left in cool and dry places. Potatoes and ginger are special root crops that stay fresh even outside of the crisper. When it comes to fruits, it’s all about retaining their ripeness and flavor at their very peak. Some fruits stay fresher and more plump when kept in room temperature, but end up mushy and soggy when refrigerated. Some prime examples of these are bananas, tomatoes, cherries, grapes, plums, pineapple, persimmons, and melons. Interestingly, winter squashes are the only types of gourds that you can leave out of the fridge. They keep their freshness intact due to their harder and thicker skin. Acorn squash, pumpkins, and butternut squashes are common examples of winter squash.
A general rule when it comes to storing produce in cool and dry spaces is to keep track of their expiration as fruits that start to spoil can affect the other fruits around them, causing them to spoil quicker as well. It’s always helpful to keep your produce spaced out in order to avoid those kinds of situations. Now we hope it’s much easier to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh and delicious in storage. Always make sure that you keep your fruits and veggies stored separately, and that they are properly washed before they are used for cooking and eating. Remember, a healthy diet may take some work, but it’s always worth it in the end. Just what they used to teach us in school!