How to store fruits and vegetables in the fridge

How to store fruits and vegetables in the fridge: did you know certain Fruits and Vegetables shouldn’t be stored together?

The typical American family household throws out almost 500 pounds of food a year – that’s a lot of wasted food and money! The answer is not to purchase less produce, but to store it in better ways that will keep them fresher for longer.

If you get home from the store and place some produce in the fridge, then place others all together in a large bowl, you’re making a mistake. Don’t separate produce by fridge vs. counter alone. The proximity of one piece of fruit to another can make all the difference in how they appear and taste several days later. Follow these tips for how to properly store your fruit and veggies for maximum freshness.

Some Produce Emit a Harmless, Odorless Gas

Fruits and veggies naturally emit an odorless, harmless, and tasteless gas called ethylene. Some produce it in greater quantities than others. Here is the produce that creates ethylene gas: Apples, apricots, avocados, ripening bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, citrus fruit (not grapefruit), figs, grapes, green onions, honeydew, ripe kiwi fruit, mangoes, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, papayas, passion fruit, peaches, pears, peppers, pineapple, plums, prunes, tomatoes and watermelon.

Know Your Ethylene-Sensitive Foods

When you store ethylene-producing foods next to ethylene-sensitive foods, the gas will actually speed up the ripening process of the other produce. Here is the produce that is damaged by ethylene gas: Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, kiwi fruit, leafy greens, lettuce, parsley, peas, peppers, potatoes, romaine lettuce, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, watercress and yams.

Separate the Ethylene-Producing From the Ethylene-Sensitive

Now that you know which produce is ethylene-producing and which is ethylene-sensitive, be sure to separate your haul into these two camps. For example, don’t put your kiwi and your apples in the same bowl. Those apples are a threat to your kiwi’s longevity, since the apple’s ethylene gas will cause the kiwi to ripen faster than if the kiwi were in a bowl with just other ethylene-sensitive fruits.

A Few General Guidelines

  • Do Not Store Fruits and Vegetables Together. Fruits that give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables. (Think of the “one bad apple” adage.)
  • For Vegetables: Before storing, remove ties and rubber bands and trim any leafy ends. Leave an inch to keep the vegetable from drying out. Make sure the bag you store the veggies in has some holes punctured to allow for good air flow. Pack vegetables loosely in the refrigerator. The closer they are, the quicker they will rot. Leafy greens can be washed before storing by soaking them in a sink full of water, while soft herbs and mushrooms should not be washed until right before they are used.
  • For Fruits: Non-cherry stone fruits, avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples, and pears will continue to ripen if left sitting out on a countertop, while items like bell peppers, grapes, all citrus, and berries will only deteriorate and should be refrigerated. Bananas in particular ripen very quickly, and will also speed the ripening of any nearby fruits.

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