Once you’ve got in your food shop, you want to keep in tip top condition so it won’t go mouldy and end up in the bin.
Using simple every day techniques, I’m going to go through how you can store your fruits and veggies without any complicated processes, but by simply using your kitchen’s basics – fridge, cupboards, fruit bowl.
Before we begin I’m going to explain the reasoning behind the logic and that’s hormones. (Feel free to skip this bit if you want to. I’m a fully fledged geek 😉 )
Did you know that certain fruits and vegetables emit a hormone gas called ethylene? Or as I like to call it, ‘the ripening hormone’. (That’s not scientific, I am not a scientist.)
Fruits tend to give off more ethylene than vegetables and vegetables are more sensitive to it, however once you understand this, everything slots in to place because some fruits give off more ethylene than others.
For example, if you put green bananas in a bag, in a couple of days they will have turned yellow and in a couple more gone mouldy. That’s because they’ve been stuck in a cloud of ethylene.
Begin by separating your fruits and veggies
As vegetables are more likely to go off when stored near fruit, it’s best to separate them.
Then think. Where has your food come from?
A good rule of thumb is by storing your fruits and vegetables as close to their natural weather condition as possible. For example tropical fruits like bananas fruit bowl, English grown apples, fridge.
In The Fridge
Apples, berries, pears, grapes, tomatoes and oranges will sit quite happily in the fridge.
Melons can go off pretty quickly when near other fruits, so I keep mine in the fridge and on a different shelf.
Out Of The Fridge
While tropical fruits such as mangoes, bananas, papaya, other citrus fruits like lemons and limes will be happy in a fruit bowl. In fairness oranges will as well if you haven’t got room, but your morning OJ won’t be cold.
Dirt Or Darkness, Whichever Haha!
Potatoes and artichokes store best in dirt. If your kitchen doesn’t come with draws full of soil and many don’t, then dark and cool if your best bet. Onions as well love this environment and need good air circulation around them. Pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes also need a dark and cool space.
Parsnips, carrots, beetroot, leafy greens and salads including radishes and cucumbers all need to be put in the fridge.
Leafy greens love a damp cloth and being placed in one will keep them crispy. Not the same situation however for salads which will go mouldy if water is near them.
A note on avocados.
This might be an unpopular opinion but I’ve never been one to shy away from honesty so…while I might enjoy avocados and especially guacamole, I don’t agree with the devastation they’ve caused to the environment and to the people who grow them since they became extremely popular a few years ago.
Also, they’re a pain in the ass when it comes to storing! It’s a 50/50 on whether you’ll get a decent one to begin with and then some prefer the fruit bowl and others the fridge.
I’m not saying don’t eat them. But if you’re looking at ways to lower your carbon footprint and eat seasonally, maybe consider other options and just buy them occasionally.
When you do buy them, to tell if they’re ripe though, flick off the top stalky bit, if it’s bright green you’re good to go. If it’s brown, it’s gone off. You can also tell by giving them a gentle squeeze. Mouldy ones with be super squishy while ripe with gently give but still be firm.
Tips And Tricks
Many recipes will call for ripe fruits and normally because they’re sweeter.
If you’re making a recipe, maybe like my French inspired Pear and Vanilla Cake but your pears aren’t ripe enough, put them in a paper bag with an apple or banana and leave it.
After a couple of days the gas emitted from the apple or banana will have sped up the pears ripening process.
You’ll Save Money And Reduce Food Waste
By storing your produce correctly, not only will have fresh and crispy food, but you’ll save money and food waste by preventing it all going mouldy.
Lowering your food waste is the No1 thing we, as home cooks, can do to help our world and it also saves us money so it’s a win-win!
Along with the daily journal posts here, each Wednesday at 12pm BST I’ll be going live on my instagram @therebalancechef to recap on the week’s progress and show you around my kitchen. Depending on the weather you might even meet my rescue hens!
The main point of this challenge is to have fun with it, learn new skills and refresh old ones.
I want to see your creations so don’t forget to tag me and show off what you’ve been doing!
I’m taking part in the Rebalance May Cookery Challenge! Check it out here http://www.therebalancechef.co.ukTweet
What’s Coming Up and Your Ingredients List
Over the next 3 days we’ll be looking at how you store herbs, meat and fish properly.
After that, we’ll be starting knife skills and you’ll be making your first recipes, salsa, stock and proper roast potatoes!
Day 9 ingredients list:
- 1 lime
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander (a small handful)
- 150g fresh tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- Salt and Pepper
- Optional: 1/2 red chilli
Day 10 ingredients list:
- Chicken carcass
- Onion, carrot, leek scraps or 1 of each if you’d prefer
- Black peppercorns
- A selection of herbs including rosemary, parsley, bay and thyme