When you buy fresh produce from your local market, it’s quite tempting to create a colourful display from which everyone can help themselves as they please. The same can be said for those elegant looking fruit hampers. They look wonderful when they arrive but leaving them in their basket on your kitchen or dining room table might not be the best way of preserving them! Not all fruits and vegetables enjoy the same treatment and it’s important to understand how to treat your fresh produce in order to make it last that much longer.
Separating certain foods
Not all fruits and vegetables should be stored together no matter how amazing they look side by side! Some fruit and veggies release a substance called ethylene as they ripen and this substance can cause more harm than good to certain other fruits. Examples of foods that produce ethylene include: Avocados, bananas, kiwis, mangoes, peaches, pairs and tomatoes. Foods that are sensitive to ethylene include: apples, carrots, cucumbers, watermelons, lettuce and green beans. These are just a few examples and there are plenty more! So, divide your fresh produce into two groups and keep them in separate storage compartments of your fridge or at least in separate bowls placed on the opposite ends of your kitchen.
Not everything should be refrigerated
While many types of fresh produce keep best in the chilled environment of your fridge, you should not place potatoes, onions or tomatoes in the fridge or it will affect their flavour.
Ripe versus unripe
While you are waiting for your fruit to ripen, you can leave it on your kitchen countertop. However, as soon as it does ripen, you should move it to the fridge so that it will keep longer. Yes, even bananas can be stored in the fridge! Some argue that they go bad because they turn black. It is only the skin that turns black but the fruit inside is as delicious as ever!
Keep your citrus fruits in a cool, dark place and away from direct sunlight. This will help ensure that they last longer. Better still, place them in a mesh bag and store in the fridge!
A nifty way of preserving pineapples is by cutting off their leafy tops and turning them upside down! The sugars in the fruit are then redistributed and this helps the fruit last longer.
Remove spoiled produce
If you notice that a particular fruit or vegetable is showing signs of degradation, you should remove it from the rest immediately. Vegetables or fruits that start to develop mould or begin to rot will have the same effect on surrounding fresh produce. If possible, cut off the bad portion and do your best to rescue the rest. Use immediately to avoid throwing the entire fruit or veggie away.