Eating fresh and healthy food on a regular basis requires keeping fresh produce in your kitchen. For those of us new to cooking or who often find our produce has quickly deteriorated shortly after purchasing it, there are a few basic rules of thumb when it comes to storing fruits and vegetables. Follow these kitchen guidelines for maintaining your produce’s freshness for as long as possible.
Don’t store fruits and vegetables together – Fruits give off ethylene which is a ripening agent and can cause vegetables to start rotting prematurely, so keep your fruits and vegetables separate from each other in the refrigerator.
Storing vegetables – Vegetables from the grocery store or market should have their ties or rubber bands removed before putting in the refrigerator. For leafy vegetables like celery, trim the ends with a little left on to keep them from drying out. Place the vegetables loosely in the refrigerator with enough space so they’re not right on top of each other, which can cause them to decompose quicker. Leafy greens can be washed ahead of time but other vegetables like mushrooms as well as delicate herbs should not be washed until they are ready to be prepared to eat.
Storing fruits – The way fruit should be stored depends on how quickly you want them to ripen if they are not already. Fruits like avocado, tomato, melons, apples and pears will ripen if stored on the countertop, but can also be stored in the refrigerator if they aren’t meant to be consumed immediately. Fruits like bananas, grapes, bell peppers, citrus and berries will all ripen quickly and should be stored in the refrigerator unless they are intended to be eaten on the day of purchase.