How many times have you opened your fridge to only find old and rotten food? It happens to the best of us. According to EnviroStats, in Britain alone it is estimated that all households waste a combined total of 8 billion pounds (that’s currency, not weight) of food. Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables don’t come with expiration dates. So how exactly does one go about preventing the waste of food?
Not all fruits, for example, should be refrigerated right away. Oftentimes, bananas purchased in store are still green and ripe and should be kept out on a shelf for several days before being refrigerated, if at all. Apples and bananas actually produce a gas that can cause other fruits to ripen more quickly and thus should be kept either out of the refrigerator or away from other fruits. My grandma always tells me that apples are the one fruit you should stock up on because they are the healthiest and last the longest. Plums and peaches can also be kept out for a few days until fully ripened. Once they are fully ripened though, they should be placed in small perforated storage bags and placed at the top part of the refrigerator. Most produce continue to “breathe” after they are harvested. Using perforated bags allows there to be an exchange of gases.
Root vegetables, such as potatoes, yams and onions should be stored at room temperature in perforated storage bags that are placed away from the ground. This is in order to protect them from insects and vermin. Black spots or bruises on onions or roots growing out of the “eyes” of a potatoe can be signs that they are rotting. Root vegetables should not be washed until needed because the moisture can speed up the rotting process. Furthermore, refrigerating starch products can actually cause them to lose flavor.
A crisper drawer allows you to keep vegetables at a colder temperature but does not necessarily keep them crisp for much longer. Celery, carrots, lettuce and cabbage can be kept in a crisper drawer but should be used quickly and kept dry. Before placing produce in your drawer, lay a paper towel at the bottom or place them in perforated storage bags. If one happens to get moist and is exposed to the others, it can cause them to rot as well.
Despite popular belief, refrigerating fruit isn’t always a good thing and can often damage the fruit. For a detailed chart visit this link and when in doubt, just ask your grocer or look it up. The Internet is filled with useful information and your grocer will be able to offer the same information on the spot!