When you buy fresh fruit and vegetables, you want to preserve them so they last as long as possible. Fortunately, with the right techniques, you can store almost any type of produce in your kitchen cabinet or your refrigerator without sacrificing taste or quality.
Here are some of the best techniques to store fruit and vegetables and make them last longer than ever before.
Why is it important to store fruit and vegetables correctly?
Fruits and vegetables are full of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and more. Since produce is naturally high in water content, if stored incorrectly, the produce loses its nutritional value and the vitamins and minerals become damaged or destroyed. They can become mushy or even rot within just a few days.
Store Fruits According to Longevity
Certain fruits and vegetables last longer than others, which is why knowing how to store them properly is so important.
Fruits like apples, pears, and oranges can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks (not in plastic bags). Lettuce lasts only 1 day before going bad (keep it wrapped in paper towels inside a tightly sealed bag), while tomatoes should always be kept on their stem to keep them fresh up to 4 days.
Berries will last up to a week without getting moldy or turning mushy if stored on a dry dish towel inside an airtight container. If you’re looking at storing fresh produce over an extended period of time, know that root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, beets, onions etc.
Store vegetables according to longevity
Some vegetables stay fresh longer than others, so it makes sense to store them separately. When storing green leafy vegetables like spinach, be sure to remove any residual moisture with a towel before placing in a bag. You can also consider wrapping them in newspaper for long-term storage; The New York Times reports that some families wrap their leafy greens in their morning paper, then place a clear plastic bag over top. Greens are more delicate than root vegetables (such as carrots) or sturdier varieties (like squash), so store accordingly.
Root vegetables should be stored in a cool, dark place with high humidity. This can be accomplished by placing them in a basket of damp earth, or by wrapping them in newspaper, then placing them in an unsealed cardboard box. Cover any exposed produce with a light towel to keep out dust.
How Long Are Fruits and vegetables Good For?
The short answer is, it depends. Different fruits and vegetables have different shelf lives depending on how they’re stored, so knowing proper storage techniques can save you a lot of money.
In general, produce should be kept in cool places with high relative humidity such as in a basement or refrigerator (or cellar), but other factors such as type of produce matters too. While soft fruits like peaches last only about three days once ripe, hard fruits such as apples can last around one month if properly stored. Cucumbers and leafy greens are typically good for about two weeks.
The bottom line is that how long fruit stays fresh really depends on how you store it; follow these instructions to make sure your fruit stays good to eat and doesn’t go bad prematurely.
Plastic bags aren’t always a great option
When storing fresh fruit, use a paper bag or wrap each piece individually in a paper towel. This will not only keep them fresher, but allow you to easily identify how ripe each piece is.
Plastic bags trap moisture, which can cause fruits to spoil quickly. If you don’t have either of these on hand, just place them in an open container. For example, an orange can be stored by itself in a bowl or plate that has plenty of air circulation around it. You should avoid plastic bags because their seal may not allow air to flow freely around your food; doing so will cause it to dry out more quickly than if it was stored somewhere else with better ventilation.
Rinse Before Storage
Before storing your fruit or vegetables, you should always rinse them with cold water. This will wash off any residual chemicals that may have been used in their production. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before placing them in a storage bag or container.
Otherwise, you may be creating a mold environment where they’ll get wet again! If you’re looking to store apples, pears, berries, or other moisture-heavy produce, consider keeping them unwashed until just before eating. They’ll last longer that way! For everything else, it’s best to give it a rinse first thing.
Don’t Refrigerate Everything!
Many people are under the false impression that everything needs to be refrigerated. Some items actually need to be kept at room temperature in order to stay fresh; apples, pears, bananas, potatoes, garlic and onions are all examples of produce that can be stored at room temperature without spoiling.
To keep your fruits and vegetables fresh, there are several storage techniques you can use. For example, wrapping produce in plastic wrap or placing it in a zip-top bag will help retain moisture levels. Alternatively, adding a damp paper towel to a sealed plastic bag is another option that may help extend fruit’s shelf life.
To ensure that your produce remains fresh for as long as possible, be sure to store it properly following these techniques.
If you have any further questions about storing fruits or vegetables, please leave them in the comments section below.
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