How to Store Fruits and vegetables Easily [Infographic]

No one can deny the fact that fruits and vegetables are the best healthy foods available and that is the reason we tend to load up with extra of these items during our trip to the farmers market and seeing them getting wasted quickly. Yes, fruits and vegetables rot quickly and hence it is extremely important to find the perfect storage option to keep them fresh for a long time. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how to store fruits and vegetables to last longer.

When it comes to storing fruits and vegetables, some are better to be stored at room temperature whereas some are best to be stored in a refrigerator.

Foods to be Stored in the Refrigerator

Storing fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator helps in preventing the formation of bacteria and getting spoilt. It is up to you to wash it before preserving inside a fridge, but according to experts, it is always recommended to wash the fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating it.

The best way to store lettuce and leafy greens is to wash them in clean water dry them up and wrap them in paper towels inside a ventilated plastic bag before storing them in a refrigerator. This is done because the lettuce and leafy greens don’t have any natural preservatives to hold them. Some of the fruits and vegetables that need to be stored in a refrigerator are:

  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • cauliflower
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • berries
  • cherries
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • apricots
  • celery
  • corn
  • figs
  • grapes
  • green beans
  • leafy greens
  • peas
  • radishes
  • scallions and leeks

It is always recommended to store fruits and vegetable in separate plastic bags to keep them last longer. And if you have cut fruits and vegetable, then it is better to refrigerate them immediately if you are looking to consume them afterward.

How to Store Fruits and Vegetables
how to store fruits and vegetables

 

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Broccoli

BroccoliBroccoli is always best when it’s consumed as soon as possible, but if you are looking to store it for later use, then better wrap the broccoli in a wet kitchen towel and store it in your refrigerator. Unlike other vegetables, you don’t need to seal it inside a plastic bag.

Cabbage

cabbageIf you are looking to store cabbage for later use, better cut the cabbage into small pieces and wrap them tightly with plastic. If you want to store it fully, then wrap it inside a sealed plastic bag and store them in the crisper drawer inside the refrigerator.

Apples

It is always best to store apples in humid conditions with temperatures around 30-35°F and if you are looking to store it inside a refrigerator, then the crisper drawer is the correct place for them. Apples are better stored if they are not damaged or have any soft spots as they can easily damage the other ones too. So if you have some apples with soft spots better eat them immediately or store them separately.

Berries

BerriesWhen compared to other fruits, berries are expensive and that is one main reason they need to be stored properly as you don’t want them getting damaged quickly after paying a lot to buy them. Many think that washing them will deteriorate quickly, but it only increases their lifetime to some extent. Bath them in diluted vinegar, dry them and wrap them in a kitchen towel until they become completely dry.

Foods to be Left at Room Temperature

Some fruits and vegetables stored at room temperature over the counter for long lasting freshness. Food items like onions, garlic and potatoes need to be stored in a cool, dark place that has enough ventilation. Some fruits and vegetables that need to be stored at room temperatures are:

  • eggplant
  • banana
  • onion
  • cucumber
  • garlic
  • lemon, lime, and other citrus fruits
  • melon
  • papaya
  • persimmon
  • pomegranate
  • potato
  • pumpkin
  • tomato
  • winter squash

Some fruits need to be kept at room temperature and ripened before being refrigerated. In the same way, tomatoes also need to be stored but need to be washed before being put into use for cooking. Refrigerating tomatoes will only ruin their flavor. When it comes to storing pineapples, better hang them upside down for a couple of days at room temperature. The main reason some fruits and vegetables should not be refrigerated is that the cold temperature will hamper the fruits from attaining their maximum texture and reduces their flavor too.

Eggplant

There is a general opinion that storing eggplants in a refrigerator will lengthen their lifetime, but it is completely wrong as storing them at room temperature is the best place to keep them fresh. But care should be taken that they should not be stored inside a sealed plastic bag as it only makes them get spoilt quicker.

Root vegetables

Root vegetables like potatoes, garlic, beetroot and pumpkin are better left stored at room temperatures inside a wire mesh or a basket. And make sure they are stored in a place that is cool, dark and dry.

Bananas

Bananas can be stored fresh for a long time if they are stored in a bowl at room temperature, but care should be taken that they should not be placed near ripened fruits. Once you see when the bananas are ripened, it can be stored inside the refrigerator. Don’t worry if the skin turns black, as the flesh inside would be still edible to eat.

Oranges

Oranges can be kept for a long time if they are kept unwashed at room temperatures as any kind of moisture on the skin can cause it to decay sooner. Better store them in a place away from direct sunlight.

Foods Left to Ripen and to be stored in a refrigerator

Some fruits and vegetables need to be refrigerated, but they should be left to ripen at room temperature as refrigeration will ensure the freshness and flavor is maintained for a long time. Some of the fruits and vegetables that need to be ripened before being refrigerated are:

  • avocado
  • bell pepper
  • cucumber
  • eggplant
  • jicama
  • kiwi
  • mango
  • nectarine
  • peach
  • pear
  • pineapple
  • plum

Some fruits and vegetables produce a kind of gas during the ripening process. This gas, ethylene helps in fastening the ripening process, but there are also fruits that are sensitive to ethylene and if they come into contact with ethylene producing fruits, they will degrade very soon. Hence care should be taken that ethylene producing fruits and vegetables need to be separated from ethylene sensitive vegetables. For example, Apple is one popular fruit known to release a lot of ethylene gas and avocado is one that is sensitive to ethylene. Hence, they need to be stored separately.

Avocados

Avocados are much similar to bananas as they first need to let riper at room temperature and then need to be stored inside the refrigerator. But if they are already ripe when you bought them, you can store them directly inside the fridge. If you want to quicken the ripening process, better place them inside a paper bag.

Kiwifruit

Kiwis also need to be placed at room temperatures to let it ripen and then need to be stored inside a refrigerator for keeping them fresh for a long time.

Mangoes

Mangoes are similar to avocados and bananas as they need to be left in the countertop for a few days to let it ripen and become soft before being stored inside a refrigerator.

How to Store Cut Fruits & Vegetables

Sometimes we cut fruits more than we can eat and storing outside will cause them to degrade soon. Hence, it is better to refrigerate them as quickly as possible. Some fruits can last long up to a maximum for 4-5 days if you store them correctly. They need to be stored in an airtight container and some fruits like apple, banana and avocadoes are not great for being refrigerated after being sliced up. Many of us would have encountered situations where apples and bananas getting brown and degraded quickly if you leave them out in the open after being sliced. But some fruits when stored in a crisper drawer helps them in staying fresh for some time.

Should You Store Produce Together or Separately?

Storing fruits and vegetables is just half the task in keeping them fresh but the real task comes in how they are stored inside the refrigerator. Yes, some items need to be stored separately to retain their freshness as mixing up with other fruits or vegetables will make them degrade soon. But people who are clever enough can ripen a fruit quickly by storing them next to ethylene producing fruits. For example, storing an avocado next to a ripe banana will help in ripening the avocado faster.

But it is always good to leave the fruits to ripe in a natural manner as quick ripening may lead them to degrade soon. It is always best to keep high ethylene producing fruits and vegetables separate from other fruits and vegetables. Onions when stored with other fruits will spread its fragrance with other fruits, hence it is better to store them in a separate place away from other fruits. Especially if you store potatoes and onions nearby, the potatoes will wilt and sprout in quick time. Read how to store smoothies

Storing Food Items in a Freezer

Freezing is another method to store fruits and vegetables to preserve its freshness and nutritional quality. But freezing is not recommended for all fruits and vegetables as it only quickens the ripening process like artichokes, eggplants, lettuce greens, sprouts and potatoes. In order to store some vegetables in the freezer, it is better to blanch them before they are frozen. Blanching means to boil the vegetables for at least a couple of minutes and instantly put them in a bowl containing cold water. Once the vegetables are blanched and frozen, it prevents them from getting freezer burns. And yes, frozen vegetables can be used up to one year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to store Onions?

Onions need to be stored in a cool and dry place preferably in some place away from direct sunlight. Since they tend to share their smell with their neighbors, it is better to store them separately from other vegetables like potatoes as they can sprout quickly than normal.

How long do inions last?

Whole raw onions when stored inside a refrigerator can last up to 2 months, whereas chopped onions can last only inside a refrigerator for 7-10 days.

How to store Apples?

Apples are always best when they are stored in humid conditions with temperatures ranging from 30-35 degrees and if you are storing them inside a refrigerator, then the best place for them is to store inside the crisper drawers wrapped in damp kitchen papers. But care should be taken that apples that are damaged or with soft spots should not be stored with the good ones as they will spoil the good ones too.

How to store Bananas?

Bananas stay in their best shape when they are kept inside a bowl at room temperature. And it should be remembered that bananas should not be placed alongside ripened fruits. Once you see that the bananas have ripened, you can store them inside a refrigerator for later use.

Can you freeze fresh fruits and vegetables for later use?

Freezing fruits and vegetables to prevent nutrient loss can be very well done, but care should be taken that they are blanched before frozen. Blanching helps in deactivating the enzymes that cause the fruits and vegetables to lose their color and flavor when you freeze them.

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