Produce Storage: Maximizing Your Food Dollars

Abra Snider

As farmers our vegetables and fruits are our children. Precious and requiring great care, we put a lot of love and care into our veggies so that you get the most out of them. To help you do this, we’ve got some storage tips to help you ensure your fruits and vegetables last longer and taste better. Storage : Food storage has changed significantly over the last thirty to fifty years: cold cellars were once quite popular, but with more urbanites living in condos and apartments, these cool, dry, dark spaces are now hard to come by. The ideal storage room temperature should be 7-10˚C and most basements, garages, and cupboards today do not meet these requirements. Refrigeration is your best option, though care must be taken in storing certain fruits and vegetables. Some fruits do not ripen post-harvest, while others will continue to ripen because they produce ethylene gas. Ethylene gas triggers the ripening process, which in turn produces more ethylene, which accelerates ripening. Fruits that continue to ripen include apples, tomatoes, and bananas. These fruits should be kept separate from other fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Generally speaking, bananas, citrus fruits, and tomatoes can be stored at room temperature, on the counter, for up to a week. Apples, avocados, peaches, pears,  and mangos, should be stored at room temperature until they ripen at which point keeping them in the fridge will prevent spoilage. Root vegetables, such as beets, carrots, and radishes should always be kept in the refrigerator. Cut fruits and vegetables should be consumed within two or three days. Store cut produce should be stored in the refrigerator, not the counter. Ripening : To ripen fruits, place in a paper bag and loosely close. If you are trying to accelerate ripening, add an apple or banana to the paper bag along with whichever fruit you’re trying to ripen. You can also place fruits in a bowl and let ripen at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once fruit is ripe, it should be consumed right away or stored in the refrigerator. Washing: Aside from leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables should not be washed prior to storage, as washing produce actually accelerates deterioration. It is therefore best to wash your produce right before consumption. Wash under clean, cool running water. All produce should be washed, regardless of whether the skin will be peeled off or not. At Fresh City, we typically wash, dry, and bag your salad greens within 6 to 48 hours of  it arriving at your doorstep. To optimize your salad mix, consume within one week. If it starts to look a touch wilted by the end of the week, revive it by washing in cool water and dying in a salad spinner. Store remaining greens in a kitchen towel, rolled up and placed in plastic bag. Thank you and happy eating, Abra Snider, General Manager, Fresh City Farms

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