Keeping fruits and vegetables fresh is pretty tough, especially in our humid weather. But never fear, Home and Decor is here. We have prepared a variety of easy ways to keep your greens and fruits fresh and delicious for longer:
1) Freeze your herbs and spices
While it goes without saying that fresh meat should be kept frozen, and thawed just before cooking, most people don't know that the same can be done to herbs. It's a myth that frozen herbs loses all taste after being thawed. Most look and taste exactly the same!
– If your herb comes on woodier stalks like Rosemary, freeze it on the stalk.
– If it's leafy and green like parsley, wash it, chop it up and place it into a plastic bag before freezing. Lay the bag flat in your freezer.
– Never, despite what the internet might tell you, freeze herbs in water.
– If you do want to save your herbs in some form of liquid, freeze it in olive oil. Not only will the herbs infuse the oil, it makes cooking simpler! Just toss a frozen cube of infused olive oil into your cooking dish and it's all spiced up!
2) Know which fruits and vegetables can be placed together
Fruits and vegetables give out ethylene, a gas that causes them to ripen. Some fruits give out more ethylene than others and have to be kept away from all other fruits and vegetables. The key is knowing which have to isolated.
– Potatoes: Keep them from sprouting by storing them with apples.
– Onions: Keep potatoes away from onions. Instead, store onions in pantyhose with individual knots for each one. Instead of being able to keep them for just two to three months, this method will help them last up to eight months.
– Apples: Always keep an eye on your apples, because the saying is true: one bad apple CAN spoil the bunch.
– Bananas: Bananas ripen really quickly, because they give out an immense amount of ethylene as compared to other fruits. Wrap the top of the bananas in tin foil, and keep them away from other fruits and veggies.
3) Learn to store your produce in the right place
Different fruits and different vegetables require different methods of storage. Here are some pieces of information you’ll need to help keep them fresh for longer.
On the counter:
– Unripened fruit: Fruits with stones like avocado and peaches should be left to ripen on the counter in a paper bag punched with holes before refrigerating. (Tip: Spray cooking oil over the top of guacamole to keep it from drying out)
– Pears, bananas and apples: Store these in a bowl on the counter till they ripen, after which you can toss them into the fridge. They'll last extra four days.
– Tomatoes: To keep their flavours robust, keep them out of the fridge and out of the sunlight.
– Tropical fruit: Mangoes, papyas, pineapples and kwiwi should be stored in paper bags in a cool place till they ripen. Toss them into the fridge and they’ll last another two to five days.
In the fridge:
– Mushrooms: These should be stored in a paper bag and washed just before use, not any time earlier!
– Citrus fruits: Pack a bunch of lemons / limes / oranges in sealed plastic bags and tuck the bag into your fridge. Leaving them out of the fridge will cause them to harden.
– Salad greens: It might sound strange, but the key is to use a large bath towel. Cut, wash and pat dry salad greens like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, kale and others leafy veggies. Lay them out on a bath towel and roll it up like a swiss roll. The towel will keep the greens moist and crisp rather than limp and sad in a plastic bag.
– Unfinished vegetables: Store your leftovers in a plastic container lined with paper towels. Be sure to keep only a few pieces in one container. Squeezing too many in will cause them to become too damp.
– Fruits should always be kept away from vegetables in a separate drawer.
– Berries: Refrigerate berries unwashed and in their containers. They should keep for a week. Raspberries and blackberries however, last about two days.