So storing fruits and vegetables is a huge part of anyone’s food preparation.
Because we all know that if we leave the grapes in a giant bowl or their bag, we don’t pack them for lunch like we’re supposed to … they go bad.
What I have never given much thought to is how foods should be stored- well other than perishables.
When it comes to produce different fruits and veggies should be stored different ways, and in some cases, different parts of the refrigerator, and not next to one another on the countertop.
I remember being in college- and if I considered it produce it all got thrown in the crisper.
Welllllll that explains why some of produce would not even survive 5 days in that poor crisper drawer.
So without further adieu – let’s talk storage:
Potatoes, onions, garlic, & winter squash (butternut & acorn) keep them out of the refrigerator. Furthermore keep your onions and potatoes separated.
Onions and garlic in the ice box can make them sprout pre-maturely.
Tomatoes – another counter-topper- unless you eat them super fast. In the ice box the cold saps them of their moisture & flavor.
Bananas should hang on the counter- as the cold can make the peels turn a very unattractive shade of brown.
Stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines-EXCEPT CHERRIES), as well as avocados, mangos, melons, apples, pears, and kiwis- all ripen really well on the countertop- once cut- should go in the fridge.
Pretty much all other fruits need to ripen up in the fridge.
As I mentioned before- some produce items are just incompatible with others.
Some produce naturally emits ethylene gas- which is a ripening agent – and some fruits do not emit as high levels of this gas, and are quite sensitive to it – therefore they ripen too quickly.
Produce that emits high levels of ethylene gas: ripe bananas, apples, stone fruits (except cherries), cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, pears, ripe kiwi, tomatoes, onions, and leeks. These should be separated from ethylene sensitive produce.
Ethylene sensitive produce: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, leafy greens, peas, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, strawberries, watermelon.
Another factor to keep in mind [so many factors right?!?] is that some produce emits odors – naturally, and others are sensitive to those odors in the sense that they will absorb those odors.
Most fruits and veggies will absorb odors of garlic and onions (leave them on the countertop -remember!?)
Carrots, cabbage, & celery are susceptible to the odors of apples & pears – so separate them.
Remember on the countertop- don’t put your potatoes, and onions in the same bowl.
So remember that most refrigerators have two crispers, or multiple humidity controlled areas. For starters put your ice box friendly fruits in one, and your ice box friendly veggies in the other.
Some refrigerators are even super fancy now, and the humidity settings can be adjusted, but I personally prefer to keep my fridge-friendly fruits and veggies in separate drawers.
Some additional basic, but helpful tips:
-Go through your produce, and throw out any wonky looking pieces, and cut of any weird spots/corners
-Clean your produce before throwing it in the ice box- this can help clean off any growth that may be on the produce that will make spoil
-Remember: if you’re washing your produce- pat it dry
-Try to plan accordingly with the life span of your produce –
Leafy greens do not typically last more than 5-7 days, whereas citrus fruits have the ability to survive almost a month.