How To Properly Store Produce To Keep It Fresh

There is nothing more frustrating than buying produce and having it spoil a few days later. You got so excited about the peaches, kale, or whatever produce item tickled your fancy and it spoiled. Sometimes produce can go bad before you get the chance to use it! We have a natural tendency to blame the supermarket or vendor at a farmer’s market for selling us spoiled produce. Contrary to popular belief, all fruit and veggies are not meant to be stored in the refrigerator.

 

Believe it or not, not all produce is supposed to stay fresh for two weeks, or until you are ready to use it. While potatoes, onion, garlic, and some squash can keep well for that long, most produce will not. This is why it is important to store your food properly, so that it makes it to your plate before rotting. Not only can storing food properly keep it fresher for longer, but it can also make it taste better.

 

Here’s a tip: keep refrigerated produce in the fridge and keep other produce items out of the fridge. That’s the basic tip, but it goes beyond that. Produce items such as apples, apricots, plums, figs, honeydew, broccoli, lettuce, bell peppers, spinach, or watermelons should be stored in the refrigerator, but not necessarily all together in the same drawer. Certain fruits and vegetables release gasses and can make other produce items go bad. For example, spinach may wilt quickly if it is next to figs.

 

Refrigerate These Gas-releasing Items:

Apples

Apricots

Cantaloupe

Figs

Honeydew

 

Don’t Refrigerate These Gas-releasing Items:

Avocados

Bananas

Nectarines

Peaches

Pears

Plums

Tomatoes

 

Keep These Items Away from Gas-releasing Items:

Ripe Bananas

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Lettuce and other leafy greens
Parsley
Peas
Peppers
Squash
Sweet potatoes
Watermelon

 

The gas that is released from the produce items is called ethylene, which is a ripening agent that can also speed up the decaying process of other foods. Keep the gas-releasing produce items separate from other produce items. Once more, do not refrigerate potatoes, onion, garlic, or winter squash. Keep these items separated from each other in dark, cool areas. Do your potatoes tend to sprout quickly? This is because you may put them next to your onions. The above list of produce that should not be refrigerated should be kept in cold, dark areas. Dark and cold areas are crucial. If the dark areas you store your produce in are still hot, the food will go bad.

 

The best way to store herbs is by cutting of the ends and storing them in a jar of water like you would a bouquet of flowers. You can cover the tops with a plastic bag or damp paper towel. You can also wrap your herb bundle in a damp paper towel if you don’t have room for the jars in your fridge.

 

The fruits and veggies that can be refrigerated together can be stored in plastic or paper bags. Storing them in this way can keep them fresh. It is not recommended to wash your produce before refrigerating it, unless you buy lettuce, which has dirt on it, from the farmer’s market. After rinsing the leaves, pat them dry with paper towels and place it in a plastic bag in the fridge.

 

Produce can last longer and taste better if you store it right. This can be extremely useful if you are buying lots of produce while you’re on a cleanse. Use this information to have better tasting, fresher produce.

 

Sources:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/articles/storing-fruits-and-vegetables.html

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/spoiled-rotten-how-to-store-fruits-and-vegetables/

http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/multimedia/infographics/how-to-keep-produce-fresh-longer-infographic

2016-10-14T10:28:27-07:00