Keep Produce Fresh in Refrigerator
How to Keep Produce Fresh
How often have you bought fresh produce with the intention of enjoying it all throughout the week, only to find it spoiled once you’re ready to use it? This very occurrence is common in many homes, and exacerbated by improper storage. Learning how to better store your fresh produce will help it to last for longer, so you don’t have to stress over the limited window you have to enjoy your favorite fruits and veggies.
Store tomatoes on your counters in a room temperature area of your kitchen.Tomatoes tend to dull in flavor and freshness when exposed to cold air. Too much heat lends to rotting. To protect your tomatoes and ensure they keep their tastiness, pad a large bowl with paper towels and tuck the tomatoes into the bowl.
Stow your apples in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.Apples need to be kept cold and separate from other fruits in your refrigerator. Place them in a plastic bag before you put them in your drawer. The crisper drawer will keep them at the proper temperature while also preserving their texture and flavor.
Bag your lemons and grapes, then place them in your refrigerator.Both of these fruits are prone to rotting in open air. Keeping them cold is the key to helping them last. These two fruits have different bagging requirements, so keep them in mind as you store them.
- Lemons belong in plastic bags. Make sure the plastic bag is closed tightly so the lemons are safe from any exposed air. This will keep them from losing their moisture and turning hard and dry.
- You may either leave your grapes in the bag you bought them in or transfer them to a new one. Paper sacks provide the best storage due to their absorbing properties.
Freeze cherries or place them in your refrigerator.Cherries thrive in cold temperatures. In fact, any environments warmer than your refrigerator are proven to harm cherries. If you plan to eat them soon, it’s fine to refrigerate them. However, if you aren’t planning on using them right away, go ahead and store them in your freezer. Just be sure to bag them first!
Clean fresh berries in water and vinegar prior to storing them.The vinegar will serve as a disinfecting agent toward the berries. If you have a salad spinner, you can use that to dry them off quickly.
- Pour your clean and dry berries into some Tupperware (or another container with a lid), with paper towels packed at the bottom to absorb excess liquid released by the berries. Be sure to keep the Tupperware slightly open so the berries can air out.
Keep oranges and other citrus fruits bagged and in your fridge.Citrus fruits are easy to store. They can thrive both in your refrigerator drawers and in room temperature environments.
Leave unripe fruits on the counter.This includes pears, avocados, and bananas, which are typically purchased before they’re ripe enough to eat. Leaving them out in the open will encourage them to ripen so you can enjoy them sooner.
Move ripened fruits to your refrigerator.Cold environments slow or halt the ripening process, which is great for avocados, bananas, apples, and other fruits that will continue to ripen at a rapid pace. This will keep them edible for a longer amount of time.
Leave potatoes in a dry, cool area of your kitchen.Never keep potatoes in your refrigerator; its cold environment will alter the potatoes’ taste. Keep them away from your stove area and other warm parts of your kitchen, as the heat will encourage them to bud. Be sure to bag them, whether you’ve bought only a few potatoes or a large amount.
Prune asparagus stems and carrot leaves, then place them in a large cup of water.Both of these vegetables require moisture to keep fresh.
- You’ll want to give the asparagus around a couple of inches’ worth of liquid for the sake of covering the cut stems. Once the asparagus is properly watered, you can use a plastic bag as a drape for them.
- The leaves of a carrot are the part that will keep growing and eventually cause the carrot to shrivel. Stash them elsewhere if you want to eat them. The water’s moisture will keep the carrots edible in the meantime.
Refrigerate mushrooms in their package.If you purchased mushrooms that were already cut and stored, all you have to do is tuck them into your refrigerator. Once you’ve opened them up, be sure to use cellophane to bundle up whatever you don’t use. Prick the wrapping so the excess mushrooms can receive proper ventilation.
- Put fresh mushrooms in paper sacks. Paper sacks are much more absorbent and allow for better ventilation. Plastic sacks tend to allow too much moisture, which encourages rotting.
Place brussel sprouts and bell peppers on your counter.These two types of vegetables don’t need much special treatment in order to keep fresh.
- Don’t prune any dry leaves from your brussel sprouts until you’re ready to eat! The leaves are covering the brussel sprouts’ cores, keeping them fresh and edible.
- While bell peppers can be refrigerated, this seems to shorten their edible period to only a few days.
Rinse leafy vegetables and wrap them in a paper or cloth towel.The water will clean any dirt from the greens, while the towel will take care of any extra water. You can keep the greens tucked into the towel with elastic on both sides until you want to eat them. This will keep them in delicious condition.
Husk and de-kernel corn, then freeze it in bags.Corn tends to ripen when left on the husk, reducing their flavor. If you don’t plan to use your corn anytime soon, it’s best to take it off the kernel and stow it for later.
Bag cauliflower and store it in the fridge.Cauliflower is another low-maintenance vegetable that is easy to store. It should keep in a normal plastic bag, tucked away in one of your refrigerator’s drawers.
Storing Fresh Spices and Herbs
Wash your herbs in a bowl or salad spinner.Douse the herbs in cold water, then spin or pat them dry. Be sure to render them 100 percent dry after washing, as they will rot if exposed to too much water.
Keep your hard herbs moist and in your refrigerator.You can identify hard herbs by their texture. Hard herbs will feel like the twigs of a tree. Roll them in a paper towel that is slightly wet, then tuck them into a freezer bag or lidded Tupperware bowl until you’re ready to use. The herbs should go in your refrigerator’s crisper.
Snip your soft herbs and keep them in water.You can tell whether your herbs are soft by feeling their leaves, which should be pliable and lush. Be sure to cut the herbs at the stems. Afterward, you can move them to a small container with water. Leave them at on your counters and switch out the water every other day. Soft herbs need considerable moisture to stay soft.
Keep your garlic in a dim, non-humid area of your kitchen.Humidity and brightness can cause garlic to bud and rot. Be sure they are able to get plenty of ventilation as well.
- Look for signs of decay before you buy. If you notice dark spots or bruises on a piece of produce, or if it feels mushy, put it back. These are signs the produce has already started the rotting process, and can’t be kept fresh.
- Put all the produce you buy away as soon as you arrive home. The sooner you put your produce into proper storage, the less likely it is to start to spoil early, especially if you live in an extreme climate.
- Use your produce as soon as possible. There are many ways to keep produce fresh, but it won’t last forever. Try to eat the produce you buy as soon after purchase as you can.
- Keep track of how long your produce will naturally last. Leaf vegetables can be expected to last only a couple of days before it spoils. Many other varieties of produce keep for up to or a little over a week.
- Give your vegetables some breathing room by poking holes into their bags. They will need both air and plenty of space to stay fresh.
- Clean out your refrigerator on a regular basis. A cluttered refrigerator can’t function properly because there isn’t enough room to let its temperature circulate. Try to empty your refrigerator of old or spoiled food around once a week.
- Potatoes and onions should be stored apart. These two vegetables trigger a chemical reaction in each other that affects their texture and flavor and encourages budding in potatoes.
- Never place your vegetables and fruits all in one container or area. Many fruits, such as apples, are notorious for producing lots of ethylene, a gas that helps produce ripen. By keeping all of your produce in the same place, they all will be exposed and start to rot faster.
Video: How To Store Fresh Vegetables & Fruit
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