Simple Tips to Keep your Fruits and Vegetables Fresh
As I just walked into my kitchen for a snack, I notice that my fruit bowl is now filled by a bunch of brown bananas. But I just bought them three or four days ago.... Then I remembered, I used to have a banana hanger, and that little sucker worked great. And what about those green produce bags, I have some of those somewhere, and they worked great too. Why aren't I using them? Then I realized, why not write a hub on simple ways to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh? So here we go!
First and foremost, the banana hanger. How does it work? Bananas release a gas called ethylene. By keeping them hanging, the gas will diffuse away, slowing down the enzymes that ripen the fruit. TIP - the worst place to keep bananas? A fruit bowl....
A good place to buy a banana hanger? eBay of course. But be careful, as this writer just found out, searching for a "banana hammock" gets you very different results indeed!
How do those Green Produce Bags Work?
So how do those green produce bags work anyway? Back to ethylene. Almost all fruits emit this gas, a gas that feeds the enzymes that ripen fruit. Not only that, certain vegetables are especially sensitive to ethylene gas, such as broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, leafy greens. Storing your ethylene emitting fruits in the fridge crisper drawer is a double whammy.
Green Produce Bags work by using a mineral called zeolite. This mineral is used to soften water but also absorbs ethylene gas. So by placing your fruits in these bags, you not only slow down the ripening, you help protect nearby vegetables as well.
Note - while searching on eBay for green bags produce bags, I stumbled upon green storage containers as well. It looks like they might have zeolite as well, but I'm not sure.
Fruits that emit ethylene include -- bananas, tomatoes, avocados, pears, and apples
You can always Freeze your Veggies
Do you love the Farmer's market as much as I do? Buy a little much did we? You know, you could always freeze those veggies, but you have to blanch them first.
Steps to blanch fresh Vegetables:
- First you need to boil 1 gallon of water per pound of vegetables
- Then use a wire basket to submerge the veggies for 1 to 2 minutes (Don't cook them!)
- Pull them out of the boiling water and submerge them in ice water for another 1 to 2 minutes
- IMPORTANT -- don't wrap them in plastic yet! Place them on a tray in a single layer and let them freeze. Once frozen, pull them out ans THEN wrap them in plastic or ziploc bags and store them in a freezer.
Where to Store 'Em?
As a general rule, fruits need a DRY environment. Vegetables go in the crisper drawer.
Here's my "Cheat Sheet"
- On the Counter -- Tomatoes
- In The Pantry -- Garlic, Onions, Potatoes, Squash
- In the Crisper -- "The Greens" -- Lettuce, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, artichokes, cucumber
- NOT IN A FRUIT BOWL -- bananas
TIP-- Don't wash produce until your ready to use it, moisture will help spoil the produce
Go to your Farmers Markets!
I found a GREAT website to help you find farmers markets, family farms, and more.
Check out localharvest.org to see what's growing near you!