How to buy, store and keep your produce fresher for longer (and save money too!)

How to buy, store and keep your produce fresher for longer (and save money too!)

Admin |

April 9, 2022

Do you just throw everything into the fridge and hope for the best? (Guilty of this! Especially in Bali ;)) 

If you find yourself throwing out rotten fruits and veggies every time you clean out the fridge, it might be time to starting thinking about how you’re actually storing them. Not all fruits and veggies need the same kind of loving! 

 

Tip 1 – Buy fresh to start with! 

Buying old, wilted produce isn’t going to magically be brought back to it’s former self just by storing it correctly. Your produce needs to be fresh from the minute you take it home.⁠

All our fruit and veggies are organic and delivered to us directly from the farmers – so you can be guaranteed to get the best quality from us!⁠

That said, you can also train yourself on how to spot the freshest products! Here are 3 basic rules to follow:

  1. When choosing leafy greens, you’ll want to look for those with a deep green colour. You want to avoid leafy greens that are discoloured or look wilted.
  2. For fruits and vegetables, you’ll be looking for tight skins and super fragrant smell. Smell the tops of fruits to check. Stay away from produce that feels soft to the touch. Don’t buy discoloured fruits and vegetables. This is very different to buying the odd fruits and veggies – often organic produce is not “perfect”. But you don’t want to buy bruised items.
  3. Think about when you plan to eat your fruits and vegetables. Buying underripe tomatoes and avocados for later in the week is a way to prevent them from turning sooner than you wanted

How you store your produce matters!

You can’t put all your produce in the crisper section of the fridge. On the flip side, leaving everything out won’t work either.

Some produce releases a gas called ethylene. This naturally occurring gas is what causes other produce to turn when it comes into contact with them. So you will want to keep ethylene-sensitive produce away from fruits and vegetables producing this gas. Applesbananas, melons and pears are ethylene producers. Tomatoes are moderate ethylene producers. 

Fruits and vege that are sensitive to the ethylene gas include Apples (Yes they are producers and also sensitive!)  Asparagus, Avocados, Bananas, Broccoli, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, LemonsLettuceLimesMangosOnions, Sweet Potatoes and Watermelon. 

So for example – don’t store your apples and bananas in the same fruit bowl unless you want them to ripen and spoil.

So – where to store your goodies!

Fridge storage

Storing Onions, Garlic, and Shallots

Keep your onions, garlic, and shallots out of the refrigerator. Store them in a cool place that is free from moisture and away from root vegetables. A dark cupboard is good place.

Fun fact – Onions and garlic cause potatoes and root vegetables to sprout.

If you use half an onion, you should place it in the fridge. Make sure to seal it in an airtight bag. Did you know that onions absorb everything around them? 

Leafy Greens

Moisture is the enemy of leafy greens – a killer in Bali. Store these in the fridge, but do not wash and then store. The moisture on the leaves will turn the leave soggy. Was leafy greens just before use.

Greens last longer in bags designed to keep produce fresh. Like these from Ibu Bumi where the organic cotton material allows your greens to breathe and releases ethylene, to keep product fresh for up to 2-3 weeks.

Potatoes and Root Veggies

There’s a reason your mum always kept potatoes in the pantry. You want to keep potatoes at room temperature. They turn brown when stored in the cold. Keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables like bananas and onions.

Other root veggies like beets and carrots can be refrigerated. They don’t produce ethylene so you can keep them next to leafy greens and berries.

Citrus

Good old citrus – a hardy fruit. You can refrigerate, or you can leave it out.

Not all citrus responds to ethylene the same. Oranges and grapefruits aren’t sensitive while lemons and limes are.

Citrus best suits a dual approach. Keep it out, and then refrigerate whatever you don’t use before it turns. We love the low fuss nature of citrus and they do well in climates like Bali however you leave really.

Apples, Pears, Bananas

These three fruits emit a high amount of ethylene. Keep them away from leafy greens, sensitive root vegetables, and citrus fruit.

You can refrigerate apples and pears. If you do, put them in one of these Ibu Bumi bags to keep produce fresh. They last longer bagged.

It’s not recommended to put bananas in the fridge. The cold air causes them to turn brown!

Berries and Avocados

We got nothing for avocados LOL. They are a nightmare.  You buy them hard as a rock, but before you’ve managed to cut them open they are brown. Although we do get amazing feedback on our local, organic avocados – and we offer a replacement if you get home and your avo is already brown!

But in all seriousness, you can keep ripe avocados in the fridge. Firm, unripe avocados can last up to two weeks refrigerated.

Berries soften and grow mould if not refrigerated.

Refrigerate these fruits, but keep them away from apples and pears. They are ethylene sensitive.

So Corny!

If you live in Bali – this is one you’ll want to take note of as it’s likely corn is a regular feature on your menu. The secret to keeping a cob of corn fresh is to not let it get dry. Don’t remove the husks until you’re ready to cook, and store the cobs wrapped in plastic in the crisper drawer in your fridge. You’re welcome 🙂

Hack your fruit and vege!

Some of these tips and tricks might help to save you the heartache of rotten food and also save you money!

Paper and Paper Bags

We love paper bags at Alive! Paper bags can extend the freshness of produce such as mushrooms. The paper absorbs moisture, keeping your mushrooms and corn fresh and dry.Storing tomatoes in paper bags causes them to ripen. It’s a great trick for when you have a green tomato you want to eat soon. 

While we a re talking tomatoes…Don’t store them in the fridge! Did that one surprise you?. It’s a sin! Best to leave these beauties on the bench.

We often get asked about how to keep broccoli fresh! A piece of paper towel is all you need! Cover your broccoli head with a moist paper towel in the crisper drawer of your fridge to keep it cool, crisp, and fresh.

Water

Use water to keep your produce alive longer! Most produce loses life when it loses water. 

Vegetables like celery, asparagus and kale store well in jars of water, just as you would put flowers into a vase – veggies make beautiful table arrangements too.Trim the ends and submerge them in a jar filled with tap water. They’ll keep in your fridge for up to two weeks!You can also use this hack to get extra life out of your fresh herbs!

celery

Freezing

Buy a bunch of herbs for a dish and end up finding the remaining herbs a month later rotten at the back of your fridge? This hack will save you and your herbs! Freezing fresh herbs in olive oil is the key! Use an ice cube tray, chops the herbs, fill the tray and top up with oil. Once frozen these keep up to 6months in the freezer!

Citrus also freezes really well. Slice and dice them or however you would normally serve them, then freeze on a baking sheet. Once they’re frozen, bag and store in your freezer.

We hope these tips help you to keep those beautiful fruits and veggies in tip top shape for longer, so you can enjoy fresher tastier food and also save a few dollars too!

Let us know if you have something to add to this list – we are always learning too and regularly ask our wonderful farmers for advice!

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