Storing vegetables and fruits is a challenge for most people, more so in those households where both the partners are working and these things are bought weekly or fortnightly. Here we give you small tips on how to store common vegetables and fruits so that they stay fresh longer.
Onions and shallots (baby onions) should always be stored in paper bags, otherwise they either sprout or moulds develop in these. Onions stay better in dark, cool and airy places so just put the paper bags in a vegetable basked in one corner of the kitchen, NOT in refrigerators.
In case of spring onions, chop these into small ready-to-eat pieces and freeze them in an empty water bottle. When you need them for a stir fry, stew or anything else, shake out what you need and return the rest to the freezer.
Keep garlic in a dark place away from light. There is no need to refrigerate it. Peeled garlic should be stored in closed containers and used within 2-3 days as otherwise they turn brownish and spoil fast.
Wrap fresh, unwashed leaves in plastic wrap and store on the top shelf in the refrigerator, against the rear wall. These remain fresh for long if stored at cold temperature and the coolest part of most refrigerators is usually on the first shelf against the rear wall.
Don’t store lettuce with apples, pears or bananas as these fruits release ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent that will cause the lettuce to develop brown spots and decay quickly.
You can also keep salad leaves in wide jars with airtight lids to keep them fresh and crisp for long.
Spinach and other greens
These vegetables have long shelf life. When kept wrapped in paper towels, these can remain fresh for up to three weeks. Try not to keep cut leaves as these will rot easily and fast.
Herbs like mint, coriander, basil etc should be kept in ice cubes. Just place these in an ice cube tray, fill with water and place them in the freezer. When required just pick up the cube and use.
Store fresh, raw, peeled carrots in a plastic bag or aluminum foil in the refrigerator. The less they come in contact with oxygen, the more they will last.
Green tomatoes should be stored in cardboard boxes while ripe ones should be kept open in vegetable basket in kitchen. Both should be kept in cool corners, away from heat and sunlight.
Store unwashed lady finger in plastic bags in refrigerator. Wash it only when you need it for cooking. Never cut the lady finger and store, as it will not only turn brown but also become very sticky.
Apples and potatoes
Keep apples in plastic bags in refrigerator separated from all other fruits and vegetables except potatoes. The gases that come out from the apple will stop the potatoes from sprouting, but the same gases tend to spoil other vegetables and fruits.
Since it is not advisable to keep bananas in refrigerator, banana rots easily. To prevent this, just tape the banana stumps. Doing this will keep them fresh and ripe for long, without getting over-ripe.
Nashpati remain fresh for long when a fresh slice of onion is kept next to these. Science says, the sulphur that the onion releases stops the avocado from oxidising and turning brown.
Pineapple will remain fresh for long if its green leafy top is cut, and the fruit is kept upside down. Keeping it upside down helps redistribute the sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping and keeps it fresh for longer.
Store unwashed grapes in paper bag (with some holes) or net bags in refrigerator. Do not wash grapes before storing as moist grapes attract bacteria.