Ten fruits and vegetables you're storing wrongly! 

How often have you thrown out perfectly good money in the way of rotten vegetables? You bring perfectly good fresh fruits and vegetables home, stash them in the refrigerator and then wonder what the heck happened to make them shrivel, rot or go limp a few days later. Surprisingly much of the time, the culprit is the way you're storing them.

Here’s some great tips to keep your produce fresher for longer:  

Fruits and vegetables don't play well together. So don't store them together in a refrigerator drawer or next to each other on the counter or in the pantry. Why?

Many fruits produce ethylene gas, which acts like a ripening hormone and can shorten the life of your fruit and veggies.Store separately: fruit and vegetables.

 

Store your fruit and vegetables separately:

Vegetables are a bit like us, they need to breathe air. They can do this if you poke holes in the plastic bags you store them in, or keep them in reusable mesh bags. An airtight plastic bag is the worst choice for storing vegetables, (according to Barry Swanson, professor emeritus of food science at Washington State University). And don't try to squash them all in one bag or box.  Like anyone in a relationship, they need space for air circulation or they'll spoil faster.

Don't get all OCD and clean your produce until you're ready to use it. Washing fruits or vegetables before storing them makes them more likely to spoil, because dampness encourages bacteria growth. (says food research scientist Amanda Deering of Purdue University)

Veggie No 1:  GARLIC

Store at room temperature in an open container, to allow air circulation. Don't take off a clove's protective papery husk until you're ready to prep. If garlic wants a friend invite Mr Onion to share his box.

2. ONIONS (friends of the Garlic)

It seems like these guys are a little bit kinky, their favorite hang out is some (clean) pantyhose. Pop some down each leg and tie knots between each one so they don't get too touchy feely. Hang at room temperature. If having pantyhose hanging from the rafters around your kitchen doesn't appeal to you, onions can be stored like garlic at room temperature on a countertop. Just keep them away from their arch nemesis, the potato. And don't let them get a chill by putting them in the refrigerator. The humidity and cold temperature will cause onions to turn mushy. Storing them away from light also helps keep them from becoming bitter.  Touchy little things aren't they!

3. POTATOES

These guys are a bit nocturnal.  They like to be kept in a dark and cool place, but NOT in the refrigerator! The cold, damp air in the refrigerator causes their starches to turn into sugars, which can affect taste and texture, not the mention their waistline!  Store them in a paper bag - more breathable than plastic - in a coolish spot, such as a pantry. Keep them away from onions, they really don't like each other, or fruits like apples that exude ethylene gas. Nobody likes it when they get to much gas and this gas can make your spuds begin to sprout.

4. ASPARAGUS

Turns out that these girls really think they are flowers!  After numerous tests it seems that they last the best, hands down by trimming a half-inch off the end of the stalks and then stand them up in a small amount of water in the refrigerator, like a bouquet. They stay fresh for about three days, four if they are in a pretty vase.  Re-trim the ends before using and if you wish you can cover them loosely with a plastic bag while in the fridge.

5. CARROTS

Firstly you want to cut their heads off.  I know, it seems cruel like going back to the medieval times where we are beheading the good ones.  But, by trimming off any green tops it will stop the moisture from being drawn out and this can cause carrots to go limp pretty quickly. Trimmed, unpeeled carrots can be refrigerated in an unsealed zip-top bag in the crisper drawer for about two weeks. Trimmed carrots (such as baby-cut carrots or carrot sticks) will last longer if you let them soak in a shallow bath.   Change the water frequently, if you don’t want wrinkly carrots!

6. BRUSSEL SPROUTS (the kids favourite veggie)

They last longer on the stem. In Australia this is hard to find I know!  Refrigerate the stem end in water and break off sprouts as needed. If you bought them as loose sprouts, refrigerate them unwashed and untrimmed in an unsealed zip-top bag in the crisper drawer. Trim off outer leaves before cooking. Now this is a biggie if your a child like me and don't like them!!!! The longer they're stored, the stronger their flavour will be.  So eat them tonight!!

7. CUCUMBERS

Turns out they don’t really have thick skin, therefore, they hate to be cold. Anything below 10 degrees C and they will freak out and this will cause them to spoil faster. (according to researchers at the University of California at Davis)  If you must put them in the fridge, don’t do it for more than three days. Cucumbers also don’t play well with bananas, melons and tomatoes. They have issues with the ethylene gas they produce, so best to keep them away from each other.

8. CELERY

These guys like to dress up, so to keep them crisp, refrigerate them wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, not plastic wrap, so the ethylene gas it produces can escape. Re-wrap tightly after each use. Here’s where it gets a bit tricky, to make them last even longer submerge in water in a tightly covered container, with their aluminium suit on.  Super high maintenance these chaps!

9. TOMATOES

So many FAQ’s with these guys.  Stem side up or down? Refrigerator or countertop? The debate continues, but it seems like the jury is still out on this one.  Different types of tomato seem to like different things. A thin-skinned, delicate heirloom will have a different result than a thick-skinned supermarket variety. But everyone seems to agree that you should keep tomatoes out of the refrigerator if at all possible. The cold breaks down their cell structure, making them mushy. Once they ripen at room temperature, eat them at peak flavour or freeze them to use later in cooking.

10. BANANAS

These girls like to stick together, but if you want them to keep out of mischief you will need to break up the bunch!  Then wrap each stem in plastic wrap. That will reduce the emission of ethylene gas, and the bananas won’t age (ripen) as quickly. Once a banana reaches the desired amount of ripeness, you can refrigerate it.  The cold will keep it from ripening further, if only that was the same for humans! (after reading this you will see all of the girls walking around wrapped in plastic)

THE ATC PRODUCTS TEAM HOPE THAT YOU HAVE ENJOYED THESE FUN FACTS!