You’ve just brought home your groceries. You carefully picked out the freshest vegetables and fruits you could find and got the perfect amount of everything. You stored them in your refrigerator, thinking they would last a week or three to four days. But vegetables and fruits don’t keep too long.
Have you ever wondered whether you are storing your fresh veggies and fruits in the right way? Well, you are not alone. Fresh fruits and vegetables can get spoiled faster than you think. So here are some useful ways to store them fresh for longer.
1. Choose fresh
The very first and most important step is to pick up the freshest veggies and fruits from the market. That’s why we suggest buying them offline from your nearest local market. There you can see the colors and condition of your produce and make the decision. Leafy greens should be richly colored, with no yellowing leaves or limp (this means they are past their prime time). Root vegetables, squash, onions, and cabbages should be heavy for their size and without any soft spots or blemishes. And while you shop them from your local market, remember to carry a reusable bag.
2. Chop and freeze them
This method works best for onions and spring onions. First, chop them and freeze them inside an empty water bottle or re-sealable bag. Then, when you need them, take the frozen ones, shake them, take the amount you need, and freeze the rest the same way. For other veggies, blanch and refresh in cold water before putting them into the refrigerator.
3.Store avocadoes with onion or lemon
Avocado contains enzymes that result in a brown pigment when exposed to oxygen. That is why halved avocado looks unappealing soon after storing them. But here’s a trick for that. Squirt the halved avocado with lemon or lime juice, or slice the avocado and store them with large chunks of onion. The citric acid from the lemon will prevent the browning of the avocado for at least a day, and the gasses from the onion (that make your eyes burn) will prevent oxidation in your avocado. Make sure you store the onion in a way that only touches the skin of the avocado (so that there won’t be any noticeable flavor).
4. Use damp towels for asparagus or herbs
Wrap damp paper towels over the bases of your asparagus or herbs, or keep them upright in a glass filled with approximately an inch of water. This will keep them hydrated and help them to wilt less quickly.
5. Store them in their favorable conditions
You have to consider three things while storing your veggies and fruits—temperature, ethylene, and airflow. A lot of produce do well in the refrigerator, while some don’t. Items like potatoes, onions, garlic, and a few more are best left at cool room temperatures.
While some fruits like apples and bananas naturally release ethylene gas. It fastens the ripening and decaying of certain types of produce like cabbage, leafy greens, broccoli, and lettuce, which are sensitive to ethylene. Wherever you store them, make sure you keep them separate.
And for the items that do well at the room temperature needs proper air circulation. So avoid keeping them in plastic. And on the contrary, those kept well in the refrigerator, need to be properly sealed, either in a ziplock bag or reusable silicone pouches or in containers with an airtight lid.
6. Store apples with potatoes
Now that we know about ethylene gas from fruits, this will be easier to understand. Just like some veggies are ethylene sensitive, some are ethylene loving. Ethylene gas from apples can keep your spuds fresh for months! Now, bid farewell to those annoying sprouts that pop up on potatoes within a few weeks.
Apple slices are a quick snack or salad garnish, but browning leftovers aren’t. To avoid oxidation, soak the remaining slices in a bowl of cold salt water (no more than 1/2 teaspoon of salt per quart of water, or the fruit will taste salty). Dry and store your slices in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge after five minutes.
7. Say bye-bye to the floppy herbs
Parsley, coriander, mint, dill, and basils can be stored in a glass with cool water at room temperature. While for hard herbs like rosemary, thyme, chives, and sage, wrap them in a dry kitchen paper or towel, put them into airtight containers or resealable bags, and store them in the fridge.
For leftover herbs, chop them and store them in an ice cube tray filled with water. Then, simply place as many cubes as you need in your cooking when you’re ready to use them.
8. Wait till they are ready
Let stone fruit, such as nectarines and mangos, to ripen in a fruit bowl. Once they are soft enough to eat, transfer them to the refrigerator.
9. Storing berries
Wash the berries in diluted vinegar (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and pat them dry on kitchen paper entirely. Keep them in an airtight container lined with kitchen paper, with the lid slightly ajar to let any moisture escape. The vinegar helps to keep bacteria and mould spores at bay by lowering the pH level on the berries’ surface.
10. Cut fruits and vegetables carefully
Halved fruits and vegetables tend to soften rapidly and can go bad even in a cold fridge. As soon as you cut them, store them in reusable stretch lids. This way, you protect both your veggies and the planet.
Some More Ways To Store Your Veggies And Fruits The Right Way:
Store leftover leaves in a dish with a paper towel on top, then sealed with plastic wrap.
Put them in a container filled with water, seal with beeswax wrap, and store in the refrigerator
Toss the onions into the nylons and tie a knot between each bulb.
Wrap celery in aluminum foil. The foil will let the ethylene gas escape and keep it from getting spoiled.
Wrap individual banana’s stem to stop the spreading of ethylene gas (the main culprit here). If the bananas have already gotten too ripe then, store them in the refrigerator (or blend them into a smoothie).
Cut off the stem of tomatoes and leave them on the counter by placing the stem side down. (Tomatoes don’t like cold, storing them in a fridge will only make them lose their ideal flavor).
That wraps up our guide on keeping your fruits and vegetables fresh for longer. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful. As we said in the beginning, buying fresh produce will always be better than buying pre-packaged goods at a grocery store, but these tips will help prolong their life just a little bit longer for those busy weeks (or even months).