The rainy season is here and every single home maker is damn worried on how to keep veggies and fruits fresh longer. Well for storage of veggies and fruits we do opt for refrigeration. However, even though we store food stuffs inside the refrigerator yet we find them stale after a week. Usually we blame it on the vegetable and fruits selling vendor. In fact the real reason for stale food stuff is due to improper storage. All food items need to be stored in a proper manner so as to retain their inherent properties. This becomes all the more important when you are storing multiple things in the refrigerator.
The real reason why fruits and vegetables gets stale inside a fridge due to- Either the food items produce ethylene gas or they are sensitive to ethylene gas. Either ways, these get spoiled when they come in contact with each other. Fruits that give out ethylene gas are apples, apricots, bananas (ripe), avocados, blueberries, cranberries, figs, guavas, grapes, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, pears, plums, prunes etc. Among vegetables, the most common ones are papaya, potato and tomato. Leafy vegetables and fresh peas, on the other hand, are most sensitive to ethylene gas. Other items sensitive to ethylene gas are broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, beans, kale, lady’s fingers, onions, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and watermelon.
Too much cold inside the refrigerator can also spoil fruits and vegetables- This is why packaging and storing of fruits and vegetables play an important role when kept in the refrigerator.
Top tips on how to keep fruits and vegetables fresh:
Storage ideas– Fruits and vegetables should be kept separate. Some fruits and vegetables give out ethylene gas, which can make the other items that are sensitive to ethylene gas to ripen and rot faster, causing spoilage. All these items need to be stored in separate plastic bags. Except for herbs and lettuce, you can store nearly all fruits and vegetables on sheet trays in the freezer for a few days. Chop these fruits and veggies and freeze them. After a few days, place the frozen pieces in air-tight containers for use later.
Herbs- To keep herbs fresh for a longer time, wash them first, dry them, and cut off the ends. Put the entire bunch in a glass of water like you do with flowers. Cover the top portion with a plastic bag or damp paper towel. This will absorb the moisture. You can also keep the washed and dried herbs in a plastic bag, with a paper towel inside the bag to absorb extra moisture.
Perfect Packing– Always use perforated plastic bags to store the items. You can use normal plastic bags and make them perforated by punching holes in it with a fork or any sharp object. Brown paper bags can be used. You can also wrap veggies and fruits in paper towels. You can store carrots, beets, and radishes in the refrigerator separately in plastic bags. Separate the leaves from the roots before storing. Cucumbers: Do not keep cucumbers in the fridge for more than three days. Keep in the front of the shelf, where temperatures are warmer. Wrap in paper towels inside the plastic bag. Broccoli & Cauliflower: Broccoli and cauliflower are best kept in separate drawers in the refrigerator away from other products. Mushrooms, Okra: Should be kept unwashed in paper bags.
Finally the refrigerator is not always the best place for many food items. For instance potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, grapefruit, limes, lemons, tomatoes, winter squashes, mangoes and oranges remain best when stored at room temperature. Raw mangoes, plums, peaches and pears can be ripened at room temperature when kept in a brown bag. When these ripen, these can be kept in the fridge. Hence, follow the above tips how to keep veggies and fruits fresh longer inside your refrigerator and stay happy.