Following these tips may give maximum shelf life for fresh produce.
By Silpa Sreekumar, Candok Health Coach @ candok.in
There must be several reasons for you to read this- How to store Vegetables:
Every food we consume becomes part of us and has a bigger impact on our health and well-being. Making efforts to buy vegetables and fruits from farmers’ markets help farmers sustainably cultivate and at the same time we could get fresh produce without losing its nutritional value. Local and seasonal produce may have more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than produce that come from far. It is clear that to retain the nutritional values of the vegetables they should be consumed (either cooked or raw) immediately after buying or picking. Most of the time it is impossible unless we have a home garden, the solution we are left with is to buy and store them in the refrigerator or in a cool place.
Tips to store vegetables – The joy of eating fresh.
We face challenges in keeping the vegetables and fruits fresh even if it is stored in the refrigerator. Different vegetables and fruits have different properties and are to be stored differently to retain their freshness, minerals, vitamins and nutritional content.
The points below prevent vegetables from becoming stale or rotten quickly. Once you have fresh fruits and veggies, following the tips below may yield maximum shelf life.
Get the odour out of the refrigerator: Keep baking soda on a large cookie sheet or in an open box in the fridge. If you don’t have baking soda, keep oats and coffee grounds which helps eliminate odour.
Warm place in the fridge: The door of the fridge is the warmest place in the fridge which is suitable to keep condiment dressings and non-dairy drinks.
Carrots and Beetroots: Remove all leafy greens on top of roots and tubers like carrot, beetroot, radish, pack it in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Removing the greens on the top of the root will retain the nutrients which are otherwise absorbed by the greens.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are not to be refrigerated, store in a cool place with good air circulation. Preferably a dark place with high humidity and make sure it is kept away from ethylene emitting foods like onions, bananas, etc.
Onion & Garlic. Don’t refrigerate onion, garlic, and shallots. These are to be stored in a cool dark place with low humidity, allowing some air circulation.
Greens, fresh herbs & asparagus should be sealed in zip top bags and kept in the refrigerator unwashed. This reduces oxygen flow and maintains its nutritional value. Asparagus kept upright in a glass of water leaves it hydrated and fresh for a longer period of time.
Cauliflower & Cabbage: Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower once cut may be sealed in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator. The uncut heads can be refrigerated without a bag.
Ripe tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh, otherwise store them at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
Cucumber and snake ground are to be washed and dried thoroughly. Wrap it in a paper towel and place it in the warmest place; that is the door of your refrigerator.
Mushrooms can be stored together in a paper bag. A brown paper bag absorbs excess moisture allowing the mushroom to breathe.
Celery lasts longer when wrapped in an aluminium foil which allows ethylene to be released. Storing in a plastic bag leaves ethylene to be trapped in it that spoils the celery.
Ladies finger: Place fresh okra in a paper bag after washing or can be wrapped in a kitchen towel and stored in the refrigerator.
Lemons and Ginger are best refrigerated in the crisper drawer with a sealed container or a zip top bag. Rolling ginger in a paper napkin/tissue paper before sealing in an airtight brings additional protection. If you wish to freeze ginger make sure there’s no air in the plastic bag.
Chillies: Store green and red chilies in an airtight container. Place it in the vegetable tray or on the door of the refrigerator.
Pumpkins: Store pumpkins upside down, stalk should be at the bottom. They will be good stored at room temperature. If required, you can keep in the fridge but don’t over freeze.
What’s so good about knowing these? Vegetables and fruits consumed fresh help us get the best available nutrients. A rich and nutrient dense meal supports optimal functioning of the organs and the body.
Candok Health Coach can provide guidance, prepare a customized diet plan, suggest basic physical activity and guide you through your journey to health and wellbeing. If you have any chronic conditions, based on the requirement, the coach will involve your treating physician to monitor and taper medications as required.
Understanding and applying Nutrition Series. Edited by Candok editorial board, Candok Lifestyle. Live Life, Naturally