Our markets and supermarkets are overflowing with delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables. This little guide below brings together basics of storing fruits and vegetables to maintain their quality, colour, freshness, flavour and nutrient value.
Green leafy vegetables and salad vegetables (salad greens) are incredibly perishable and therefore should be consumed as soon as possible. They should be stored in the crisper or vented plastic bags in the fridge (plastic bags with holes). Too much moisture is the enemy when it comes to green leafy vegetables and salad greens. So, you shouldn’t wash them at all before you store them as it can cause spoilage.
Apples and pears are best stored in the fridge.
Tomatoes should not be refrigerated. Keeping them at room temperature until needed is the most convenient. Keep in mind that under-ripe tomatoes will ripen best at room temperature. Take tomatoes out of plastic bags to avoid the growth of bacteria. Keep them away from sunlight as it destroys vitamin C. Store in a single layer unless you want the tomatoes to ripen quickly, as heat causes ripening, not light.
Berries, stone-fruit, melons, grapes, kiwi fruit
Berries, stone-fruit, melons, grapes and kiwi fruit should be stored unwashed in the fridge. Just keep in mind that these fruits tend to bruise very easily.
Store at moderate room temperature. If hot, keep in a cool place but do not refrigerate.
Mushrooms can be stored in the refrigerator, but should be wiped clean and placed in a brown paper bag. This way they will keep in good condition for three to four days. Do not store them in plastic because they will begin to decay quickly.
Root vegetables – carrots, turnips, beetroot, parsnips
Store these root vegetables in sealed plastic bags or the crisper compartment of the fridge.
Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Onions and Garlic
Potatoes should not be refrigerated. To store potatoes, remove from plastic bags and place in a hessian or paper bag. Keep them in a cool, dark, dry place with good ventilation. Sweet potatoes, onions (except for spring onions) and garlic should be stored in the same manner. For garlic, you can buy terracotta containers with holes that are designed specifically for garlic.