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How To Store Vegetables and Fruit

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Do you want to know how to properly store vegetables and fruit so that they remain fresh for as long as possible? One of the ways that you can save money on groceries is by cutting down the amount of fruit and vegetables you throw away each week.

We had been noticing that these days the shelf life of the produce we buy seems to be getting less and less and we were wasting more and more. So we decided to do some research into how to store vegetables and fruit so that they last as long as possible without spoiling.

Photo by karimian

The first thing that you need to do is:

Get To Know Your Refrigerator

Photo by alsis35

Yes we know that this sounds a little strange. You just put things in there and they will be fine, right? Unfortunately it isn’t quite like that, but if we follow a few simple rules then we can maximize our storage of not just vegetables, but all food in the refrigerator.

It has 3 Zones. A Cold Zone, a Moderate Zone and a Humid Zone. The ‘average’ temperature will be around 37 degrees but there are variations within the different zones.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the Cold Zone is the coldest part of the refrigerator. It should be on the middle shelf towards the back and all areas of the top shelves.

The Moderate Zone is the bottom shelf, and the front of the middle shelf. Here the temperature will be around 37 degrees.

The Humid Zone is the crisper drawer. This keeps a humid, higher water content environment, and is best for certain types of produce to help the vegetables retain their water content (and so keep for longer with our spoiling).

Make sure that your refrigerator is set at the correct temperature and this will make a difference. It may be helpful to check that the temperature is correct with a Refrigerator Thermometer. If you are having particular problems and food seems to be going off quickly then it may be that your refrigerator is set at the wrong temperature or is not functioning properly.

Where Should You Store Vegetables and Fruit?

Photo by plumandjello

Where you store vegetables is very important for prolonging their storage life. It may surprise you that these fruit and vegetables should be stored on the counter and not put in the refrigerator:

Apples
Bananas
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Garlic
Ginger
Grapefruit
Lemons
Limes
Mangoes
Oranges
Papayas
Peppers
Pineapple
Plantains
Pomegranates
Watermelon

When you store produce on a counter top be sure that they are kept in a cool place (never in sun light) and that you keep fruit and vegetables separately.

These fruit and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator:

Artichokes
Asparagus
Beets
Blackberries
Blueberries
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cherries
Corn
Grapes
Green beans
Green onions
Leeks
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Okra
Peas
Plums
Radishes
Raspberries
Spinach
Sprouts
Strawberries
Summer squash
Yellow squash
Zucchini

Store fruit and vegetables in the warmest part of the refrigerator ideally in the crisper to keep the humidity higher. If you have 2 drawers then store fruit and vegetables separately. Fruits require a lower humidity than vegetables so if your refrigerator lets you adjust this then set is higher for the vegetables than the fruits.

How Should Fresh Herbs Be Stored?

We always found that when we bought fresh herbs they never lasted very long and we would throw most of them away. Since we started using this Prepara Herb Savor we have found that herbs can last for up to 2 or 3 weeks. As the price of fresh herbs is usually quite high this has most definitely saved us money in the long term.

Another way to store fresh herbs is to freeze them in ice cube trays. Simple chop the herbs into small pieces, mis with a small amount of water and pour into ice cube trays. You then have small amounts of herbs to use easily – just put the required amount of ice cubes into your cooking!

Remember that Shelf Life Does Vary For Fruit and Vegetables

We expect a lot of our food these days and often we buy lots of fruit and vegetables all at one time and expect it to last. We never know how long a fruit or vegetable has been on the store shelves.

Even though it is much more convenient to do one weekly shop sometimes, if you shop more frequently, particularly when sticking to meal planning for 2 or 3 days at a time, you will definitely notice those grocery bills coming down – and that you are not throwing away as much food.

Do you have any tips for how to store fruit and vegetables? We would love to hear from you. Just leave us a Comment Below

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1 Comment

  • Reply Thrifty Thursday: How To Store Vegetables and Fruit | Bakersfield Mom October 18, 2012 at 10:13 am

    […] It’s just a waste of money in your produce goes bad before you can eat it. So check it out: How to Store Vegetables and Fruit. Good to know! (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if […]

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