Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Suggestions for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh

      While reading the "Cooks Illustrated" weekly email last week it occurred to me that you might like to know this, too.  In researching how best to preserve lemons they came to the conclusion that keeping them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator would prolong their freshness for weeks.  Did you know that?  I didn't.  I've always just placed them loose in the vegetable drawer of the frig.
      Hopefully, you will find a new suggestion, or two, in the following list of ways to choose, and preserve other fruits and vegetables which I have discovered over the years.  Some of these ideas have come from friends, some from trial and error, and some from research, but all have kept me from needlessly wasting produce that deteriorated before I was ready to use it.  
     If you have suggestions that work for you, I, and the readers of this blog, would be grateful if you would post them in the "Comments"  below.  All of us are glad to save money.   With the price of food continuing to climb we don't want to waste anything.

Lemons, Limes, and Oranges   I choose those that seem to have a thin, smoother skin because they are juicier.   To keep them fresh for weeks, refrigerate in a zip-lock bag.
Strawberries  will not ripen after picked.  Refrigerate in glass containers with lids.
Lettuce   Wrap in a damp paper towel and store in plastic bag in refrigerator.
Green Onions   Same as lettuce.
Tomatoes    Store at room temperature.  They will continue to ripen.   Do not refrigerate because this breaks down the texture of the tomato.
Bananas  Allow to ripen by hanging on a rack.  They won't bruise as easily.  Then place in refrigerator once they are ripe (no green tips).  The skin will turn brown  but the inside will no longer continue to ripen.  This will extend the freshness 4 or more days.
Watermelon  will not ripen after picked, so choose a ripe one by checking to see if the round area on the bottom of the melon where it rested on the ground while growing, is yellow.  Store whole melon in refrigerator for several days, less if cut up.
Pineapple   I choose one that has fresh green leaves and is somewhat green on the bottom, but then allow it to ripen on the counter a few days.  If I want to use it immediately, I choose one whose leaf tips are just beginning to turn brown and the color of the pineapple is changing from green to brown and it has a slight fragrance.   Once cut up, refrigerate for up to a week.  It seems to get sweeter in the refrigerator.


Anonymous said...

Excellent tips! Thank you!

Sarah said...

Great tips. We eat lots of fruit and prefer it fresh...thanks!