So everyone is always harping on about how important it is to eat your fruit and veg and get your 5 a day – with good reason!! Fruit and veg provide us with loads of nutrients that are good for the mind, body and soul. Ok, not sure about the ‘soul’ factor but look, they’re healthy and taste great. However, fresh produce is not the cheapest of things to buy in the supermarket, so storing it properly to maximise its shelf life is essential.
Here are some simple steps to help make your fruit stay fresh for longer:
- Don’t keep produce in plastic bags: Airtight wrappings will suffocate fresh fruit and speed up the decay process.
- Don’t wash any fruit until right before you eat it: Moisture will encourage decomposition and mould growth.
- Don’t rip off any fruit stems: These are part of the fruit and once they are broken, micro-organisms will start to grow. So keep the fruit as intact as possible right up until you are ready to eat it.
- Eat the most perishable items first: If it’s a toss-up between noshing on fresh strawberries or using the potatoes to make mash……well go with the berries.
- Ripening fruit: Fruits give off ethylene which encourages ripening. So, if you want to quicken the ripening process of any fruits stick them in a paper bag with each other. For example, if you want those bananas to get good and ripe for a loaf of totally delicious banana bread, chuck them in a paper bag with some peaches.
- Re-Organise Your Fridge Crisper: Some fruits and veg are cold-sensitive, so refrigeration will actually speed up their spoilage. For example, bananas and avocados are cold-sensitive, so once they are ripe they can be refrigerated, but only for a short while.
Here are the suggested locations for various fruits and veg:
Fruit/Veg drawer 1: Apples, apricots, melons, figs.
Fruit/Veg drawers 2: Bananas (only once ripe), broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, aubergines, kiwis, leafy greens (lettuce, kale etc) parsley, peas, peppers.
Bowl on the counter: Avocados, bananas (un-ripened), peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes.
In the cupboard: Garlic, onions, potatoes, and kind of squash or sweet potatoes.