Monday, November 09, 2009

Keeping Produce Fresh

by Leanne Ely, CNC
Don't let it spoil before you taste it

One place you can really get nailed on is buying fresh produce. Produce will only keep so long so you absolutely have to have a plan to use it up. If all you do is buy it and let it sit in your fridge, you might as well start flushing five-dollar bills down the toilet!

But still the question remains, how do you keep your produce fresh? That's a great question and the answer varies according to what you have. Let's tackle the most common fruits and veggies, shall we?

First up, some things you need to know. There is a certain chemical compound called ethylene that is released as produce ripens. This ripening action builds up in a closed plastic bag so the gas makes your food break down quicker. What I do is keep the bags open to avoid that too quick ripening factor. If you take it out of the bags, it will dry out so opening the bag really helps to preserve it. Check the packaging you bought your produce in. Often times, these bags have little holes in them to allow the ethylene to release without drying out.

Secondly, there are things that should be refrigerated and there are others that should not. Here is a list of stuff to store in your pantry:

- Onions
- Potatoes
- Garlic
- Shallots
- Hard winter squashes
- Sweet potatoes

Keeping these guys away from the light will help prolong their shelf life and stop your potatoes and onions from sprouting.

Here is a list of stuff to stick in the fridge:

- Apples
- Cherries
- Grapes
- Melons (unless you're trying to ripen up on the countertop)
- Corn
- Berries (don't wash until ready to use)
- Grapes
- Peas
- Any citrus
- Artichokes
- Asparagus (cut the ends off and place them in a glass of water, plastic over the top)
- Lettuces
- Spinach
- Eggplant
- Cucumbers
- Mushrooms
- Peppers
- Leeks
- Greens
- Cauliflower and broccoli
- Cabbage
- Carrots
- Beets
- Any fresh herbs
- Radishes
- Green onions or scallions
- Zucchini and summer squash
- Turnips
- Green beans
- Celery

The thinner the skin on the fruit or vegetable, the sooner it needs to be used.

Here is a list of stuff that can start on your counter then can go into the fridge if necessary, but you need to be aware that it can get too cold and end up somewhat bruised or ruined by the fridge:

- Avocados
- Bananas
- Tomatoes
- Peaches
- Papaya
- Apricots
- Plums
- Pineapple
- Pears
- Nectarines
- Mangos
- Kiwi

There you go with everything you wanted to know about keeping produce but were afraid to ask! This simple guide should help you start storing and using your produce wisely without the spoilage. Enjoy!

Have a great week everyone!


At 7:11 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I keep onions, potatoes, garlic, and shallots in the fridge. And, tomatoes, too!

Thanks for the tips. I'll give them a try.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Oh great One said...

What a great list. I think I'll print it out!

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Thanks for the info. I have been doing most of this for a long time now but didn't know about keeping garlic and onions in a dark place. Maybe thats why mine always sprout!

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Putz said...

have i got a dilema for you....the green peppper i tasted was funny, the lettuce not iceburg was strong , the cucumbers were bitter and that has been the last 67 salads, is it possible that my taster has been broken or is it just my bad luck...i do remember salads being my favoite but now the only thing i enjoy in the salad is the avacado and my wife's famolus italian dressin, vinegar and oil and then run it under the tap just one second

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Putz said...

oh that is virgin oil

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Hi Lucy, you are doing it okay. One I do differently. Onions will keep forever in the refrigerator, otherwise they will sprout after a bit.
Also we buy in small quantities and that helps things stay fresh and/or good for longer.
We also keep bread in the fridge, it will keep half of forever.

Mr. Putz should change his salads a bit. Throw out the peppers, change to blue cheese dressing, and sprinkle some crotoons on to spruce things up and make them crunchy. Mrs. Jim likes my salads.
I add sliced onions, carrots, celery, or a few cooked beans. Always a tomato if we have them.
I don't do fruit salad, Mrs. Jim makes those. She puts honey or canned Mandrin oranges or some lemon juice to keep the fruits the color God made them.
I have been using Romaine lettuce hearts (in the spear--break off what is needed) lately. That keeps a lot longer.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Jim said...

I'm ba-ack. Forgot to mention that we buy sweet potatoes in large quantities when they are bargain priced.
Mrs. Jim then bakes them and freezed them. Any time we feel like a sweet potatot, defrost, apply margerine, and presto, nice freshe sweet potato.
They are good for further cooking that way too.

It was a good thing you asked about our floors. I made a mistake, it was the dining room that was wooden (engineered wood). But it didn't match the wood that would go in the other room. Our house is 'open' so now the long runs will be from the front of the house in the dining room to the back in the living room, going through and imaginary hallway. :-)
Thanks for asking me. Her music room is a study on the floor plans and was carpeted. All the old flooring is up and the new ones are in progress todagy.

At 1:48 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

Thank you for the info!

And if you want to keep from crying while cutting onions, put them in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes before slicing. It freezes the juices so the odor doesn't get into the air and into your eyes causing tears.

At 5:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 3:47 PM, Blogger NoSurfGirl said...

Lol, I chuckle reading this because it's just common sense to me now, but I have to think back of my first days of housekeeping and realize it wasn't always!!! :)


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