Picking out Produce

Keeping Produce Fresh

14/May/16 / 15:09

Summer is upon us.
 
One of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts to us at this time of year is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Who doesn’t love to see the rainbow array of colors find its way to our tables? But, it is important that once you get produce home you it is important that you store it properly to prevent good (and often times expensive) produce from going bad.
 
HGTV has a fun quick video that might surprise you –  Don’t Let Good Veggies Go Bad.
 
Here is a handy guide that will help you extend the life of fruits and vegetables.

     

  • Cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions should not be refrigerated. Rather, they should be left on the counter or in the pantry. Tomatoes like to have lots of breathing room so be sure to space them on the counter. Eggplant, ginger, jicama, peppers, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash and winter squashes should also be stored at room temperature.
  • How do you best keep asparagus fresh? Treat it like you would a flower. First, leave the rubber band around the bunch. Trim half an inch or so from the ends of the stalks. Then fill a bag or jar with an inch of water and then store the asparagus upright in the container and refrigerate. It will keep for one week.
  • Fresh basil should be covered with a small baggie and then stored on the counter.
  • Potatoes thrive in a dark place such as the pantry. If you store potatoes and onions in the pantry be sure to separate them as onions will cause potatoes to sprout.
  • Need parsley and cilantro for a great tasting dish? They will wilt in five days unless you put them in a glass of water, cover with a small baggie and then refrigerate.
  • Store garlic, mushrooms and okra in a paper bag.
  • Vegetables to be refrigerated include artichokes, beets, Belgian endive, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cut vegetables, green beans, herbs, kale, leafy vegetables, leeks, lima beans, spinach, sprouts, summer squashes, yellow squash and zucchini. Further, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, green onions, lettuce, peas and radishes should be unwashed and stored in a plastic bag before refrigerating.
  • Fruits to be stored at room temperature include apples, bananas, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, mangoes, oranges, papayas, persimmons, pineapple, plantain, pomegranates and watermelons.
  • Refrigerated fruits include apples if older than seven days, cantaloupe, apricots, Asian pears, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cut fruits, figs, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries and honeydew. Be sure that blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are placed in the refrigerator unwashed and in a single layer.
  • Fruits/veggies that it is best to first ripen and then refrigerate include avocados, kiwifruit, nectarines, peaches, pears, and plums

 
A Google search will yield plenty of helpful tips and suggestions in terms of preserving fruits and vegetables while maintain their nutrient value. Enjoy Mother Nature’s harvest!
 

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