By Elena Sheppard
You buy delicious looking produce, bring it home, and before you know it your fruits are rotting and your salad fixings look limp. It’s a food storage fate that befalls us all but that doesn’t make it any less annoying (or any less of a waste of food and money). Well good news: spoiling can be avoided if the proper storing measures are taken. Keeping your food fresh does not have to be complicated, and here are some very easy-to-follow steps we recommend to keep your food fresh.
Keep your fruits and veggies separate
Most of us buy produce, bring it home, and put it in one of the fridge drawers without worrying about what else is in there. Well, heads up: fruits and veggies shouldn’t really be hanging out. Fruit produces high levels of ethylene which causes vegetables to spoil more quickly. Quick tip: Keep fruits and vegetables apart.
Vegetables need to breath
Storing vegetables in air-tight plastic is a no-no. Vegetables need to breath, so before you store them poke some holes in the bag they’re in. They also need a little room around them, so don’t pack vegetables too tight or they’re likely to rot more quickly.
Don’t treat all fruit the same
Different fruits have very different demands. Non-cherry stone fruits — apples, mangos, pears etc. — can happily ripen on a counter for a few days. Other fruits, like grapes and citrus fruits, should go into the fridge. As for bananas, they ripen fast! When they reach a ripeness you like, try putting them in the fridge to slow the process.
Beware the moldy berry
When you look into your container of raspberries or blueberries you’ll likely see at least one rotten or moldy one: get rid of it. One moldy berry quickens the spread of mold to the whole bunch.
Don’t wash your food until you want to eat it
Dampness hastens bacteria growth, so you’re better off keeping your food dirty; at least until you’re ready to eat it.
Keep tomatoes and potatoes out of the fridge
Refrigerating tomatoes won’t hurt them, but it definitely won’t help their taste. A refrigerated tomato often loses its flavor, its aroma, and becomes mealy. You’re better off keeping tomatoes on the counter. As for potatoes, they like a cool, dark, dry place. The starch in potatoes turns to sugar when too cold, so the fridge is definitely not where they want to be.
Herbs are a little high maintenance
Herbs are tricky. Before you refrigerate herbs it’s good to wash them, dry them, cut of their ends and put them in a glass of water (as if they were flowers) and then stick them in the fridge. If that seems weird, you can do the washing/drying/cutting process and then put them in a ziploc bag with a dampened paper towel. You can also freeze herbs with water in ice cube trays. When it’s time to cook, just pop them out.
And lastly, lettuce
Wilted lettuce is a total downer. To avoid that from happening, put a paper towel over your lettuce (or wrapped around it) and then put it in a plastic bag. This will absorb the moisture and keep the lettuce crisp and fresh.