Summer is an amazing time of year, it’s warm and the sun is shining but most importantly, it’s the season to stock your home with fresh fruit to dig into. Whether you prefer whipping up a colourful fruit salad or blending a tasty smoothie, everyone can find something to enjoy.
However, we all have the same problem; we want to pack our kitchen full of fruit every week but find ourselves throwing half of it away as it spoils, often leaving a messy fridge that has to be cleaned in its wake. There is sometimes just too much juicy goodness to eat it all!
Most households throw away over a quarter of the fruit and veg that they buy, but you don’t have to be one of these households anymore. With these tips, you can save your fresh produce along with some money.
The first thing to think about after bringing home shopping bags packed with fruit and vegetables is to figure out where is the best place to keep it all (you can’t just put it anywhere you want and have space!)
Know your ethylene-producing fruits from your ethylene-sensitive fruits. Ethylene, a gas which all fruit and vegetables produce, prematurely ripens foods that are sensitive to it. Science and good common sense dictates that you should keep these two apart:
- Ripen fruit faster:
Use your knowledge to your advantage. You can ingeniously ripen fruit faster using ethylene. If your fruit isn’t ripening fast enough, keep it next to a high ethylene-producer to hurry its ripening process.
- Don’t mix:
Fruit and veg don’t mix well with the other, at least during storage. Keeping them in separate draws will help prevent ethylene building up.
- Citrus fruits:
You can extend the lives of citrus fruits by keeping them in the fridge. Citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes will last for a week in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight but you can make them last longer by storing them in the fridge, provided they aren’t kept sealed.
Cut the tops off your pineapples and store them upside down. This helps redistribute the sugars throughout the fruit and will help to keep longer.
- Grapes and berries:
Don’t wash your grapes and berries until you’re going to eat them. Excess moisture will encourage mold growth.
- More berries:
Thermotherapy. Instead of washing your berries under a cold tap, give them a hot bath. To kill off mold spores, immerse and swish them around in a pot of hot water (around 50 degrees Celsius) for 30 seconds. Air dry them on paper towels afterwards.
- Ripening fruits:
After fruits ripen, put them in the fridge. Some fruits need to be left out on the counter to ripen. However once they’re ripe, if you aren’t going to eat them straight away keep them in the fridge.
Tip: prevent bananas from turning brown as quickly by putting them in a plastic bag.
- Fruit covers:
Fruit Huggers! These are special fruit covers designed to keep your fruit fresh longer. Sur la table offers some of these nifty covers as well as reusable rubber wraps that serve the same function.
- Fruit cases:
Perfect if you want to take your fruit on-the-go. Plastic cases shaped specifically for different fruits. We find the banana case particularly useful as they bruise easily.
- Dried lettuce:
Refresh lettuce and herbs with an ice bath. Leafy greens can shrivel up in the fridge. You can restore them by placing them in a large bowl of ice water for a couple of minutes.
- Potatoes, onions and tomatoes:
Keep them out of the fridge as the cold will ruin their flavour. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry place.
- Leafy greens:
Use plastic containers to keep your salads, herbs and other leafy greens fresh. Storing them in a sealed plastic container in the fridge keeps them fresh for longer and safe from potentially being crushed.
Wrap your salads with paper towels. If the leaves retain excess moisture, they will rot faster.
Your herbs last longer – up to 3 weeks. The stem is submerged in a controlled amount of water keeping them alive much longer as they have access to water.
You should wrap celery in aluminum foil if you want it to last longer.
- Carrots and broccoli:
Some types of produce start to spoil as soon as they’re picked, place these in separate plastic bags in your fridge. This includes carrots and broccoli. Make sure they are dry, as we know, moisture will make them rot faster.
If you find any rotten food, throw it out straight away. Otherwise it will start to spoil other foods.
- Be realistic now:
Buy only what you need. Don’t delude yourself about how much fruit you think you’ll eat. It’s better to shop more frequently instead of doing one huge shop only to throw half of it away. If you don’t have the time, try making a quick plan of how much fruit and veg you intend to eat per week, so you know roughly how much you’ll eat.
- Never get forgetful:
Store any containers in your fridge in plain sight, that way you’ll remember to eat what’s inside before it goes off.
- Save time:
Prepare food at the beginning of the week. Cut up your fruit salad in advance and store it in a plastic container filled with water making sure it’s fully submerged. The water will stop things such as apples going brown so quickly.
When you get hungry you just have to spoon it out and at the end of the week you can stick half a bottle of rum in whatever is leftover to make a ‘healthy’ punch! Now that’s clever thinking.