5 Tips For Keeping Produce Fresher For Longer
Each year, American grocery stores throw out about $15 billion worth of fruits and vegetables, The Washington Post reported. The main cause? Spoilage. No doubt chefs and other home-based cooks face the very same issue, having to waste both time and money just to cook with fresh fruits and veggies. Luckily, there are number of ways to keep your produce fresh, and most of these solutions require just a few simple steps.
1. The importance of ethylene: Some fruit and veggies begin to ripen, they often produce a chemical called ethylene. However, this same substance can be detrimental those produce items that either are especially sensitive to chemical changes. As such, you’ll want to keep the ethylene-producing items – like cantaloupes, kiwis and bananas – away from the more ethylene-sensitive foods, namely broccoli, watermelon and apples.
2. Using the fridge: Fruits that are unripe don’t need to be stored in the fridge right away, and the countertop is plenty safe for items like bananas, plums, avocados, pears, melons, apricots, kiwis and mangoes. Once they do ripe – usually within a week – they need to be refrigerated. Though some of the skins may have turned brown in the process, this shouldn’t affect the actual taste.
3. Veggie maintenance:. When you first buy vegetables, be sure to cut off the majority of the leafy greens, which helps these food items better regulate moisture. Still, you want to make sure you leave at least an inch as to let the veggies breath, as it were. You can also help them maintain the proper oxygen by storing them in a bag with holes cut into the sides. Just don’t leave too many vegetables piled on top of one another, as that can quicken the rotting process.
4. To cut or not?: Avoid cutting your fruits or veggies whenever possible. Storing them while still whole will keep away bacteria, which only make produce rot all that much faster. It also prevents any ethylene from entering the airspace and spreading to those aforementioned sensitive fruits. If you do cut any produce, store each of the segments in an air-tight plastic bag.
5. Pairing fruits and veggies: Certain fruits and veggies are best friends. For instance, apples can keep potatoes from sprouting, which is part of the greater process of keeping them fresh and flavorful. However, you’ll want to keep onions away from most other fruits and veggies as they can cause a number of produce items to begin early spoilage.
No doubt these tips will come in handy during your time in culinary academy.