Fruit And Vegetable Storage Ideas

Your Guide To Proper Fruit And Vegetable Storage

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Tamara
January 20, 2022
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You might only buy fruits and veggies when you feel like cooking or eating them, but this can prevent you from getting enough servings of fresh produce – you need five per day!

These foods are packed with nutrients and learning how to store them can help you to enjoy them for longer. 

Should you store all your fresh produce in the fridge?

While you might think keeping fruits and vegetables in the fridge is the golden rule when storing them, this isn’t always the case.

Here’s everything you need to know about fresh food storage. These guidelines will help you to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, while also ensuring you always have healthy food at home. 

Why Should You Eat Fruits And Vegetables?

fruits and vegetables benefits

You might find it difficult to eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, even though it’s recommended that we consume at least five servings of them every day.

Maybe there aren’t many in-season fruits and vegetables that you enjoy eating, or you don’t see the point of eating these foods. You should!

Fruits and vegetables are highly essential to add to your regular diet. They contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients that you need to be healthy, such as Vitamin C, potassium, and folate.

You’ll also get a good amount of dietary fiber from them that’s good for your gut health and can help you to maintain a healthy weight. 

Here are some other health benefits you’ll gain from eating fruits and vegetables.

They reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease 

benefits of fruit smoothie for heart

The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the lower your risk of getting cardiovascular disease.

In a study, people who had eight or more servings of fresh produce a day were 30 percent less likely to get a heart attack or experience a stroke as compared to those who had less than 1.5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. 

They reduce your blood pressure 

Research that studied the effect of a diet containing many fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products on blood pressure discovered interesting results.

The researchers found that when people with high blood pressure followed this diet they reduced their systolic blood pressure by approximately 11mm Hg and their diastolic blood pressure by approximately 6mm Hg, which is what blood pressure medications can achieve. 

They’re good for gastrointestinal health

Fruits and vegetables contain indigestible fiber. This absorbs water and increases in size as it moves through your digestive system, and it has many benefits.

It soothes irritable bowel symptoms and encourages bowel movements that prevent constipation.

As a result of its bulking and softening actions, insoluble fiber can also lower pressure inside the intestinal tract and could help to prevent diverticulosis. 

Should You Clean Fruits And Vegetables Before Storing Them?

You should avoid washing fresh produce before you store it.

If you’re eager to add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet, you’ll naturally want to buy more from the grocery store.

This means  you should know how to store them. But wait, should you clean your fresh produce beforehand?

You should avoid washing fresh produce before you store it. This is because you don’t want moisture to accumulate on the fruits and vegetables, causing them to deteriorate. You should only wash fresh produce when you’re ready to eat it.

While you might think that’s unnecessary, it’s important. The skins of fruits and vegetables can harbor bacteria that can cause illnesses. You can get contaminated by this bacteria even if you don’t eat the skin of the produce, such as in the case of apples or oranges.

By touching the skins and then touching the fruit or vegetable you’re eating, you can get contaminated. Similarly, if you’re cutting the fruits or vegetables on a cutting board, the bacteria can contaminate the board and end up in the produce.

Bacteria aside, washing fruits and vegetables removes any dirt so you don’t get gritty pieces when biting into them. 

How To Store Fruits And Vegetables 

Different types of fruits and vegetables should be stored in different ways.

Fruits and vegetables to keep in cool, dry storage

Cool and dry place

Some fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be put in the fridge. Instead, you should store them in cool and dry conditions. These fruits and veggies include limes, lemons, tomatoes, potatoes, and bananas. 

However, once you’ve cut these fruits and vegetables and eaten some of them, you can store the leftovers in the fridge to preserve them and make them stay fresher for longer.

Follow the rule that whenever you’ve washed and eaten some parts of a fruit or vegetable, you should then store the rest in your fridge or freezer.

Here are other tips to bear in mind when storing sliced fruits and veggies in the fridge:

  • They will last for about five days. 
  • Always store the slices in airtight containers.
  • Avoid slicing and storing fruits like apples, avocados, and bananas as they become brown quickly. 

Fruits and vegetables to store in the fridge 

storing fruits in fridge

Fruits and vegetables that you should keep in cold, moist storage conditions include eggplant, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, and apples.

They require cold, moist storage with a temperature range of between 32 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Fruits and vegetables to keep in warm, dry storage

You should keep sweet potatoes, hot peppers, winter squash, and pumpkins in warm and dry storage.

Other produce you should keep at room temperature include cucumber, grapefruit, and oranges. Note that warm, dry storage requires a temperature range of between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

What Produce Should You Store At Room Temperature Until Ripe? 

There are some fruits and vegetables that you should store at room temperature until they start to ripen, then put them in the fridge.

By putting them in cooler conditions at this point, you can ensure that they last longer. 

Produce to put in the fridge when ripe include kiwi fruit, papayas, pears, apricots, avocados, nectarines, mangoes, plums, and peaches. 

How Long Does Fresh Produce Last? 

Fresh fruits and vegetables in the kitchen

When stored in the fridge, fruits and vegetables can last for a few days, but there are some exceptions.

Beets, for example, can last for up to two weeks, green onions can last for up to 10 days, and carrots can last for up to three or four weeks. 

Take this into consideration when purchasing fresh produce. If you want fruits or veggies to consume in the next week or so, then choose produce that naturally has a longer lifespan. This will prevent waste.

By comparison, fruits and veggies that you store on the counter at room temperature can last for a few weeks or a few months.

For example, potatoes can last for two weeks at room temperature but storing them in a cupboard can help them to last for two or three months! Tomatoes can last for up to five days, while onions can last for one to two months.

One of the most important things you can do to increase the lifespan of fruits and veggies is to purchase them when they’re in excellent condition.

If they’re already ripe and/or have been bruised, or you can see they’re starting to deteriorate before you’ve brought them home, this will reduce their lifespan. 

Can You Freeze Fruits And Vegetables? 

sliced vegetables ready to freeze

You can store almost every type of fruit or vegetable in the freezer. You just have to be wary that freezing them could alter their texture, even though it won’t change their nutrient value.

Freezing fruits and vegetables can be useful, such as if you want to store produce that’s currently in season so you’ll get to enjoy it at a later stage when it’s not available at the grocery store.

Freezing produce is also great on days when you want to make your own delicious smoothies, as you’ll have the produce you need when you crave it.

Tips for freezing fresh produce

  • When freezing fruits and vegetables you should store them in airtight containers.
  • You should not freeze fruits and vegetables that aren’t ripe. This can prevent them from ripening properly when you later remove them from the freezer. 
  • It’s also important to note that if you’re freezing vegetables, most of them will need to be blanched before being stored in the freezer. This involves boiling the whole vegetable or cut pieces of it for a minute or two, then placing them in icy water to prevent them from cooking. This will prevent freezer burn. After blanching, you can store vegetables in the freezer for up to a year.  

Other Tips For Storing Fruits And Vegetables

  • When storing fruits and vegetables, whether on the kitchen counter or in the fridge, you should ensure that you keep produce that releases ethylene gas from produce that doesn’t. This gas, which is released by produce such as bananas and apples, speeds up the ripening of certain produce, such as leafy greens, broccoli, and cabbage. Keep them away from each other! 
  • If you’re storing fruits and vegetables at room temperature, they require good air circulation. You want to avoid keeping your produce in plastic bags. This can cause the produce to spoil too quickly. So, if you’ve purchased produce in plastic bags, transfer the fruits or veggies into bowls as soon as you bring them home.
  • Fruits and vegetables that you’re storing in the fridge will remain fresher for longer when they’re in sealed containers, such as ziploc bags or airtight plastic containers. This will ensure that you prevent the produce from holding onto moisture or becoming dry.
     

How To Dehydrate Fruits And Vegetables

How To Dehydrate Fruits And Vegetables

You can dehydrate fresh produce so that you have healthy snacks on hand when you’re backpacking, camping, or hiking.

To dehydrate fruits and veggies, you must first peel and rinse the produce, then slice it thinly. You should also blanch your vegetables to maintain their bold colors and prevent them from cooking. Finally, dehydrate the produce in a dehydrator or in the oven.

When dehydrating fruits and veggies in the oven, here are the steps to follow. 

  • Start by preheating the oven on its lowest setting. 
  • You can dehydrate the produce in baking sheets but line them with parchment paper and put a cooling rack on top of it. This will maintain air circulation around the produce. 
  • During the dehydration process, you will need to rotate the baking sheets regularly to ensure even and uniform drying. 

How long does it take to dehydrate fruits and vegetables in the oven?

It can take between six and eight hours to dehydrate fruits and vegetables by using an oven.

Should you store onions and potatoes together?

You should store onions and potatoes separately because they both release moisture. This can make them spoil at a faster rate.  

Conclusion 

Eating more fruits and vegetables is an important part of following a healthy diet as this produce is packed with nutrients and vitamins. However, storing it isn’t always easy.

If you’re sick and tired of bringing home beautiful fruits and veggies only to find that they spoil very quickly, you’re not only wasting healthy food but money. 

In this article, we’ve provided you with the information and tips you need for fruit and vegetable storage, whether you’re keeping these foods on the kitchen counter, in the fridge, or in the freezer.

Sources:

Tamara

Tamara is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. She has dedicated a large chunk of her life to researching healthy food recipes and diet plans, and also teaching people how to improve their eating habits. Using Eatomology, Tamara shares the very best diet plans, cookbooks, and more. Also, for those on a quest to improve their kitchen, Tamara shares some awesome and high-quality kitchen equipment recommendations as well as buying guides on her website.