If you think that fruits and vegetables remain fresh when stored in the refrigerator, you’ll be surprised to learn there are better ways to store them.
Here are some tips on how to keep fruit and veg fresh and nutritious.
How to properly store fruit and vegetables – The basics
First of all, keep them is a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Potatoes and other tubers like onion, garlic and cucurbits such as pumpkin, are best stored in a cool, dark and dry place. The light gives potatoes a greenish colour and makes them bitter to tase.
Tomatoes, on the other hand, can be placed in the refrigerator to keep them longer. Nevertheless if kept outside of the fridge, tomatoes will taste better. It is, therefore, advisable not to buy tomatoes in large quantities.
In the refrigerator: you should store only enough fruit and vegetable to last you a week.
The temperature should be between 8 and 10 ° C to slow down the ripening process. Try not to mix or wash them before putting them in the fridge. Washing makes fruit and veg mature quicker. Asparagus and mushrooms must be placed in paper towel in the fridge.
In the freezer: you can freeze all fruits and vegetables! This method will allow you to keep them in perfect condition for a maximum of 10 months. Some vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini and potatoes cannot be frozen raw. They must be cooked in boiling water for a few minutes before being transfered to a container of cold water to stop immediately the cooking process.
Don’t forget to dry them with a cloth or paper towel and put them in a freezer bag before storing. There is no need to thaw before cooking.
How to properly store fruit and vegetables – Dehydrating fruit
You can also dehydrate your vegetables and store them. To do this you must use the following procedure. First of all, you will need either a dehydrator (which is commercially available) or an oven. Blanch fruit and veg quickly in boiling water before oven- drying them at a very low temperature (30 to 40° C). Monitor closely to check their progress. The only drawback of this procedure is that it may take several hours.
The process of dehydration dries the vegetable but preserves their taste and nutritional qualities. If you store the fruit and veg in glass jars in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight they will keep up to a year. This alternative is for those who want to eat some seasonal fruits and vegetables all year round.
Warning! Fruit should not be placed near to vegetables. Some fruits, such as apple or pear give off ethylene, a substance that makes vegetable ripen faster whilst also giving them a bitter taste.
But the best tip is to buy less and so to waste less. Make a habit of going to the supermarket at least once or twice a week!