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How to store vegetables to maximize freshness

Posted by Nyambura Gitonga on

Shopping for several days’ worth of groceries saves on both money and time; not having to run out to get vegetables every other time you need to cook. However, it is disappointing after a few days in, you notice your veggies are losing freshness and you have to throw away some. If you are wondering how you can maximize the shelf life of your fresh produce without compromising the nutrient content, relax, we got you!

When storing your vegetables, it is important to keep in mind the following:

  1. Every vegetable is different from the other and therefore there is no single best way to store all your vegetables.
  2. Storing certain vegetable together plays a critical role in determining the shelf life of your produce.
  3. There are different practices like washing or peeling veggies that can either shorten or lengthen the freshness of your produce. Moisture speeds up spoiling, so hold off on washing vegetables until you are ready to use them.

Here’s a guide on how to make sure your veggies stay fresh for as long as possible

Potatoes

Before storing potatoes, inspect them for damages or soft mold. Remember only perfect potatoes are suited for long term storage. Place them in a ventilated bag (not plastic as this won’t allow them to breathe) or box with good ventilation and store in a dark place at room temperature to prevent sprouting.

Note: Keep you potatoes away from onions as they both release ripening gas that can cause flavor transfer or premature ripening for both.

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Onions

Ideally, onions should be stored in a well ventilated place at room temperature to prevent molding and sprouting. Avoid storing onions in any environment that fosters moisture to prevent spoilage.

Choose well cured onions when shopping.

Note: Keep onions away from other produce to prevent flavour transfer.

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Tomatoes

Tomatoes are well stored at room temperature on the counter. When buying tomatoes, it is important to keep in mind the ripening process. You don’t want to have all tomatoes ripening at once, so mixing ripe and unripe tomatoes when shopping goes a long way.

If they are all ripe, storing them in the fridge will slow down the ripening process. Remember to take them out of the fridge a little earlier if you want to use them.

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 Fruits

Most fruits produce ethylene gas which speeds up the ripening process. That’s why you can ripen an avocado by placing it in a bag with a banana or apple. It is therefore safe to keep them away from your vegetables to avoid spoilage.

Store your fruits in the fridge to slow down the ripening process and to keep them fresher for longer.

Leafy Greens

Two things affect the longevity of your leafy greens: moisture and air.

Rinse leafy greens and wrap them in a paper towel and then refrigerate in a container or sealed plastic bag. And voila, they can stay up to a week fresh!

Carrots

As hardy as carrots are, poor storage can cause them to be all soggy and wilt within a couple of days.

Carrots can be stored in two ways: in a water container with a lid then refrigerate. Pour out the water and refill once it starts looking cloudy after a few days. Another way to store carrots is in an air tight zip lock bag to keep out moisture.

Hopefully, these tips will help to maximize freshness of your produce and minimize food wastage.

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