Food has a lower shelf life when it is healthier. This is due to the absence of any preservatives, chemicals, or artificial additions. If you’re concerned about where and how to store all of your fresh food, there are several options for keeping it fresh for longer. With these vegetable and fruit storage tips and tricks, you’ll not only save time, energy, and money — but you’ll also be feeding your body more nutritious and healthy food!
Nutralina makes it our objective to help you have better days ahead of you. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to keep and eat more fruits and vegetables, which will keep you strong and energized!
1. Store coffee beans in the freezer.
Excess coffee beans that you won’t use in the coming few weeks can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container. Just make sure to let the frozen beans completely thaw before opening the container.
2. Wrap leafy greens in paper.
Greens, such as lettuce, herbs, and spinach, are subject to bruising. They wilt quickly when exposed to air, heat, and humidity because they are fragile and have a high water content.
To maintain your greens fresh and free of blemishes, do the following:
- Wash the leaves gently in cold water or with a vegetable cleaner.
- To drain excess water, gently pat them between sheets of paper towels or spin them in a salad spinner.
- Wrap the leaves in a clean paper towel and set them aside. Do this in batches to them. (Tip: Make each batch enough for one serving so you can quickly grab some for your next salad.)
- Refrigerate them in a Ziploc bag or other airtight container.
3. Add lemon juice to sliced apples
It’s the most tried-and-true trick in the book. The enzyme that causes browning is deactivated by the high acidity and low pH of lemon juice. Essentially, the acid interacts with the enzyme before the enzyme and oxygen have a chance to react with the apple.
Give the apples a quick spray of lemon juice, or soak the apple slices in a few drops of lemon juice in water.
4. Rinse strawberries in vinegar.
Storing fresh strawberries, even in the refrigerator, usually results in them becoming soft, grey, and moldy. This is due to the presence of invisible bacteria and residue within and around these berries.
Follow these steps to clean your strawberries and keep them fresh for weeks:
- In a bowl, mix 4 parts water and 1 part vinegar.
- Soak your fresh strawberries for 5 minutes in the water-vinegar solution.
- Rinse the berries in a colander with cool water.
- Using a paper or cloth towel, dry the strawberries.
- Refrigerate the strawberries wrapped in a paper towel in an airtight container.
5. Jar your peppers and cucumbers.
Buying vegetables in bulk, such as cucumbers and peppers, can sometimes be less expensive than buying them in smaller quantities. Put the vegetables in a glass jar with some brine to make the most of your bulk purchases. Not only will you have a tasty condiment, but they will also keep fresh for months and retain their crunch!
To make homemade pickles:
- sterilize and dry some jars in hot water.
- Cut your vegetables (or use them whole) and place them in clean bottles.
- You can also add your favorite spice blend, fresh herbs, or peppercorns.
- Combine 1 part vinegar, 1 part water, and some salt and sugar to taste in a small saucepan.
- Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Fill the bottles midway with the liquid mixture (also known as brine or pickling solution).
- Allow the bottles to cool completely before placing them in the refrigerator. Allow the bottles to remain sealed for at least 48 hours before opening for the best results.
6. Keep mushrooms in paper bags.
Fresh mushrooms are approximately 92 %, which is why they quickly become wet and moldy. Keeping mushrooms in paper bags rather than plastic bags allows the paper to absorb excess moisture while also preventing the mushrooms from absorbing other liquids in their surroundings. Mushrooms shrivel and lose flavor when left at room temperature, so store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator.
7. Keep citrus fruit cold.
Citrus fruits have porous skin, as demonstrated by the countless small holes on their peels. Citrus fruits dry out quickly when exposed to warm temperatures because of these breathable air pockets. Place your citrus fruits in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Bring your oranges and lemons to room temperature before juicing them because it is easier to squeeze out the juice when they are warm.
8. Use airtight containers for storage.
For keeping pre-cut and ready-to-eat fruit and vegetables, airtight containers such as sealed jars, Ziploc bags, and Tupperware containers are suitable. These containers are able to retain extra moisture and oxygen, both of which are factors for bacterial development, which is responsible for mold and rotting.
9. Add an acidic solution to your apples and pears.
You may notice that apples and pears brown quickly after being chopped. This is due to the oxidation interaction of their enzymes with the air, which discolors the fruit. Spray or soak your apple and pear slices in a water and lemon or vinegar solution to prevent browning. This trick also keeps your fruit slices crisper for longer.
To soak the fruit, do the following:
- 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar
- Put the mixture in a bowl and soak the apples and pears for a minute.
- You may also spray the solution on your fruit slices if you put it in a spray bottle.
TIP: If you hate the taste and smell of vinegar, you may substitute it with fresh orange juice.
10. Apply heat to raw vegetables.
Blanching allows you to keep vegetables like carrots, corn, beans, and cauliflower crisp for extended periods of time. Blanching is the process of short cooking food in steam or boiling it in salted water, then immediately cooling it in ice cold water. This procedure enhances the color, texture, and shelf life of your vegetables and is used in the packed vegetables seen in the frozen food section of the store.
To properly blanch your vegetables, follow these steps:
- Bring 4 liters of water to be boiled. 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- Before putting your veggies in the water, wash and chop them.
- Blanch your veggies in half a kilo (500 grams) portions to avoid the water becoming too chilly. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and beans require around 3 minutes in boiling water.
- Strain your veggies and set them in a bowl of cold water for 3 minutes to chill.
- Dry the veggies with a cloth or paper towel before storing them in Ziploc bags or other airtight containers. They may be stored in the refrigerator for one week or the freezer for three months.
11. Store avocados in water.
Avocado flesh, like apples, bananas, and pears, has a tendency to brown after being sliced open. This is due to a chemical reaction known as oxidation. Browning happens when certain fruits’ enzymes are exposed to air. Storing an avocado face down in a container with some water and a spray of anything acidic, such as lemon juice or vinegar, will help keep the fruit fresher for longer.
Fruits & Vegetables You Should Leave at Room Temperature:
- Unripe fruits & vegetables (allow them to ripen first, that transfer them to the fridge)
Fruits & Vegetables You Should Store in the Fridge:
- Ripe fruits and vegetables
- Fresh herbs
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy Greens
Do you have any additional tips for extending the life of your fruits and vegetables? Please share with us in the comments box below.