We're all more and more aware that we should be making some changes to try and boost the health of our planet! One great way to do this is to avoid food waste as much as possible. Follow my great tips for keeping your fruit and veg fresher for longer so you don't end up wasting it, or your money!
The first step to extending fruit and veg life is to make sure the area you are storing them in is clean. Whether that be the fridge or the fruit bowl, ensure it is cleaned regularly to avoid a build-up of dust or moisture. Also keep in mind the temperature, humidity, and air flow – for example don’t store fruit or veg near a cooker or close to a toaster as the heat can speed up the ripening process.
Secondly think ahead. If you can see that certain fruits or veg will go soft before you get to eat them, consider freezing them or alternatively use to make a delicious smoothie. Remember you can also freeze fresh herbs if you're not going to use them quickly. A tip is to chop and freeze in ice cube trays so you can pop out a few as needed to flavour your dish when cooking.
Now we've covered the basics, here are some specifics to help you stretch out the life of your fresh produce!
Top tips to keep your fruit and veg fresh
- Always dry fruit and veg before putting it away (even from moisture produced by being packaged), as too much moisture for most fruit and veg can lead to spoiling.
- Save your avocado from going brown by squeezing some lemon juice on the half you don’t use, and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Even if the fruit or veg you purchased came packaged in plastic – for example bananas, potatoes, or onions – they will last longer if you take them out as air circulation is required to let them breathe.
- Read the packaging for recommended storage instructions, for example a dry dark place at room temperature for onions and garlic, away from moisture.
- To protect green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, or lettuce thoroughly wash and pat dry, then store in the fridge wrapped in a paper towel to absorb any remaining water. The same applies to storing herbs – wrap in a paper towel to keep them fresh.
- You can also store fresh herbs like a little mini bouquet of flowers in your fridge by trimming off an inch or so of the stems and sticking in a jar of water with a plastic bag loosely covering the bunch.
- If you need just a squeeze of citrus juice for your recipe or drink, puncture a whole lemon with a fork or skewer to avoid cutting it in half. This way, you can squeeze out what you need without drying out the entire lemon.
- Don't wash mushrooms until ready for use as humidity can ruin them. The same applies to strawberries and raspberries – avoid washing until eating, as water can make them soft and cause premature spoilage. Do pick out any strawberries or raspberries that have any signs of mould to prevent it spreading and spoiling the rest.
- A great method for storing carrots, asparagus, celery, parsley, or basil to keep them fresh for longer is by pop them in a glass/jar of water.
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.