Keeping fruits and vegetables fresh longer

Vegetables in the cooling compartment of a refrigerator. © colorbox

Every year, around 75 kilograms of food per capita end up in the garbage in Germany. A large part of this is fruit and vegetables. Much would still be edible, but may no longer look appetizing because of improper storage. Proper storage not only makes food last longer, it also saves a lot of money while protecting the environment.

Storing vegetables properly

At Carrots and radishes turn off the greens – they draw water from the vegetables and cause them to wilt more quickly. Then wash the vegetables and store them in a plastic box in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, if possible. Radishes last at least a week this way, carrots even longer.

Fresh carrots and beet with leafy greens © colorbox

Lettuce Unpack after purchase, wash well and spin dry. After that, it is best to store in portions in sealable plastic bags or wrapped in damp kitchen towels. So it stays fresh for at least two to three days. Cucumbers after purchase it is best to wash it, dry it and wrap it in a cloth. This is how delicate vegetables keep in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for about five days

Special fresh food compartments, such as those offered by many modern refrigerators, are practical for storing fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are best stored in them at optimum humidity without packaging.

Tomatoes should not be kept in the refrigerator, but are best stored in a bowl. They continue to ripen, secreting the ripening gas ethylene, so store them separately if possible. Also Peppers, Eggplants and Zucchini are better kept outside. They do not tolerate the cold in the refrigerator and are well protected against germs by their thick skin.

Potatoes and onions are best stored in the dark

Potatoes © photo: farbkombinat

Potatoes and Onions like it cool and above all dark. When exposed to light, potatoes produce the toxic bitter substance solanine. This can be recognized by green spots and sprouts. To prevent this, store potatoes – just like onions, which quickly go moldy in the refrigerator – best in the cool, dark cellar.

Herbs are best stored in a plastic box in the refrigerator. So they last quite long. When placed in a jar like a bunch of flowers, they wilt. Packed Mushrooms always take them out of the packaging, as water accumulates in them and they then quickly become moldy. If possible, store mushrooms in the refrigerator for only one or two days and consume them quickly.

This is the best way to store fruit

Two pineapple halves on a wooden table © Fotolia photo: Salex9500

Apples also secrete the ripening gas ethylene. therefore always store separately – either in the refrigerator or alternatively at room temperature in a separate bowl. If stored outside the refrigerator, consume within a few days. Fruits like Pineapple, Mango or Grapes feel most comfortable at room temperature. If they are not yet ripe, they ripen in a basket. The sweeter the fruit tastes, the faster it rots it. So if fruit tastes particularly sweet, it won’t keep for long.

Strawberries must be kept in the refrigerator in any case. bacteria and germs quickly settle on the large and very delicate surface of these fruits. Cut fruit offers a lot of attack surface for germs, so it is better kept in the refrigerator. The cold slows down the sprout growth.

Storing eggs and cooking oil properly

Because of their special composition Olive oil and Sunflower oil store in the dark in the cupboard – in the case of dark glass also on the shelf. In the refrigerator it would become streaky. Linseed oil, Rapeseed and Pumpkin seed oil on the other hand, are better off in the refrigerator.

Fresh Eggs do not necessarily need to be in the refrigerator for the first ten days, as they have a natural protective layer that protects them from germs. But once they are in the fridge, they have to stay there, because the protective layer is destroyed. In the refrigerator, they should go in the door or far up in the compartment, as it is a bit warmer there.

Fruits and vegetables: what should go in the fridge?

These varieties belong in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator:
Fruits: apples, pears, kiwis, nectarines, plums, peaches, table grapes, apricots, strawberries, figs, cherries
Vegetables: kohlrabi, leeks, artichokes, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel, carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach, asparagus

These varieties don’t belong in the fridge:
Fruits: pineapples, avocados, bananas, pomegranates, mangoes, papayas, citrus fruits
Vegetables: eggplants, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, squash

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