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 Tips for Storing Raw Fruits and Vegetables to Maintain Freshness Longer

October 8, 2016 - 11:55 AM

We all struggle to keep our food fresh. Follow these tips to keep your food fresher, for much longer:

  • Keep your refrigerator clean. Mold spores can transfer from one food to another.
  • Moisture should be eliminated from your refrigerator. Moisture kills vegetables. Vegetables will lose their crispness, or even begin to rot or grow mold much more quickly if any moisture is present.
  • Make sure the top of the fridge does not contain moisture.
  • Line your crisper drawer with paper towels to absorb any moisture.
  • In general, vegetables should be kept near the front of the fridge. The back of the fridge is much colder. The goal is to keep vegetables cool, not cold.
  • Hard or hard-skinned vegetables (like carrots, peppers, celery, asparagus, artichokes, eggplant, or squash) should be placed directly in the crisper drawer. The crisper drawers are designed to keep moisture to a minimum. If there is no room in the crisper drawer, place them on the bottom shelf.
  • Remove heads of lettuce, cauliflower, or broccoli from bags, wrap them in paper towels, and place them in a Ziploc bag. Do not rinse until you are ready to use them.
  • Place a paper towel in bagged lettuce mixes after opening them to absorb moisture.
  • Tomatoes should never be refrigerated, no matter the size or variety. They contain a natural flavor and preservative chemical that turns off when the temperature drops. Instead, keep them on a shelf or counter that gives them plenty of access to air. The exception is if they have been cut.
  • Any vegetables that are left at room temperature (like onions and potatoes) should be removed from their packaging and stored out of direct sunlight.
  • Onions and potatoes should never be stored together.
  • Trim any green tops from carrots. The green tops draw moisture from them.
  • Leave Brussel sprouts on the stem. Refrigerate in the crisper drawer.
  • Cucumbers should not be refrigerated unless they will not be used within three days.
  • Store garlic in a cool, dark place. Do not refrigerate.
  • Peaches and other stone fruits should only be refrigerated when fully ripe.
  • Melons should be stored uncut in a cool, dry place.
  • Pears will ripen (and become overripe) in the presence of apples.
  • Place berries (including strawberries) in a paper bag and refrigerate.
  • Store bananas in the open air, away from other fruits until fully ripe, then refrigerate (make sure your fridge isn’t too cold!). They can be frozen if used for baking, but their skin will turn black and they will lose some of their texture.
  • Never store fruits and vegetables together. Many fruits give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent), which can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables. Remember, tomatoes are a fruit.
  • Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the faster they will rot.
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