Most of us find convenience in buying grocery on a weekly or biweekly basis. This saves us time from going back and forth in the market. As well as making sure that we have enough money until the next pay day. However, it can be challenging to make fresh produce last very long if they are not stored well. Resulting in food waste which can be frustrating.
That is why it is very important to buy the freshest produce as possible to make sure that they’ll last longer. Fruits and fruit vegetables like cucumbers and eggplants should have no soft spots and holes. As these are indications of rotting or parasites inside. Leafy greens on the other hand should be crisp and not limp. While root crops should be hard and heavy for their size. Rich in color is also a good sign of freshness.
Any damages in the surface of fruits and vegetables could cause them to decay rapidly. So, it is best to carefully pick your perishable goods. However, no matter how fresh your produce is, its prime will pass faster if not stored properly. Understanding how fruits and vegetables lose their freshness is the key factor on prolonging their crips and delicious tastes. Helping you learn simple tricks on how to store them correctly and stay fresh longer.
The secret to keeping fruits and vegetables fresh longer depends on their environment. Storing them in a high temperature environment will cause them to dry out and decay fast. Because their water content will evaporate quickly. That is why most produce is recommended to be refrigerated as low temperature slows down their aging process which lengthens their freshness.
But not all vegetables should be refrigerated. Some are better to keep at room temperature. Like potatoes which increases their sugar content and speed up their decaying process when stored in a fridge. They can last for up to 2 to 3 months when kept at cool, dry, and dark place. Whereas they can only last for a couple of weeks at low temperature.
Storing potatoes in the fridge can causes them to sprout like onions, garlic, ginger, and sweet potatoes. This is because cold temperature mimics their growing environment. Sprouting affects the taste of these produce negatively. Hence, they should not be refrigerated.
Unripe fruits and vegetables such as: tomatoes, bananas, avocados, and squash should also be at room temperature to allow them to ripen. You can store them inside the fridge to extend their freshness if you don’t intend to eat them yet after they are ripened.
Other fruits and vegetables must be refrigerated to keep them fresh longer. But simply putting them in the crisper section of the fridge won’t suffice. In fact, it can make the produce decay faster. Why? Some of them are ethylene sensitive while others are ethylene releasing. Ethylene is a plant hormone that promotes fruit ripening and can cause some produce to spoil.
The trick here is to store each fruit and vegetable variety in different containers. Especially when you are not sure which are ethylene producing and ethylene sensitives. In general, most fruits release ethylene gas while most leafy veggies are ethylene sensitives so make sure not to mix them.
You can use jars, plastic box, or any airtight containers when storing your perishable goods in the fridge. Place paper towels in the bottom and top of containers to help absorb the evaporated moisture from fruits and veggies. Excess moisture can also affect the freshness of produce. Causing them to wilt and rot. Moisture attracts molds, bacteria, and other microorganisms that can spoil fruit and vegetables rapidly.
To save space, leafy greens can be cut into small size before storing them in containers. This will also help prolong their freshness as it prevents leaves and stems from going limp. Which can spoil them. Other leafy vegetables especially herbs can be grown from cuttings. So, you can put them in water after cutting their leaves to grow new leaves for you to harvest. Or grow roots to plant them in pots.
This method of storing fruits and vegetables can extend their freshness by more than 2 weeks. Try these simple tricks to keep your produce fresh longer. You’ll be delighted with the result!
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