The Secret to Storing Every Type of Fruit and Vegetable
Fact: The United States throws away 150,000 tons of food daily. On average, each household wastes around $1,500 worth of food per year. And fruits and vegetables account for 39 percent of this loss.
The good news: With a few simple tricks to reduce the amount of fresh produce we toss, we could have a massive impact on the environment (and on our grocery expenses).
One of the most common mistakes that leads to food spoilage is storing fruits and vegetables too close together. A build-up of ethylene gas will cause them to go bad. The produce with the greatest amount of this compound are apples, melons, apricots, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, figs, and some other fruits.
The experts at Space Station helped us pull together this handy guide for storing fresh foods—because the longer your perishables last, the less trash you create.
Because netting for lemons, oranges, and limes is dangerous to sea life and birds, these fruits should always be bought loose. You can keep them out at room temperature, but once they're past peak ripeness, storing them in the fridge will help them last longer. (The same goes for tomatoes and avocados.) If your citrus starts to turn, you can slice the fruit up and freeze it: Frozen citrus is great as ice cubes for drinks.
Wash and dry loose leafy salad greens in a salad spinner, wrap them loosely in paper towels, and store them in a food storage container to keep the leaves from going soggy.
Onions and Potatoes
Onions, potatoes, and shallots should be stored in a cool dark place to keep them fresh, like a basket in a cupboard or a cellar. Avoid storing these products in plastic bags as this encourages spoilage. Once cut, onions should be stored in a resealable bag in the fridge where they will last for around a week or stored in a container in the freezer.
Wash cucumbers as soon as you bring them home from the grocery store. Make sure they're thoroughly dry as excess water will spoil them, then wrap each in a cloth or towel to prevent sogginess. Store in the fridge in a reusable vegetable bag.
Apples and Bananas
If you won't be eating them immediately, buy bananas when they're still slightly green and store them away from other fruits in the fruit bowl (they release high amounts of ethylene gas). Consider using a banana tree to keep them separated and minimize bruising. Keep apples in an uncovered fruit bowl on the countertop and store them out of direct sunlight.
A great hack for storing fresh basil and herbs is to chop the leaves in a food processor and place them in an ice cube tray with a little olive oil and store them in the freezer. When basil is needed for a dish, just pop in a ready-made ice cube.
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