Ripe? Not ripe? Too ripe? Help! Storage is the key.

Proper storage is essential for making your fruit and veg last as long as possible, so make sure you are storing them properly.

Fruits like avocados, tomatoes, mangoes, melons, apples and pears will continue to ripen if left out on a countertop, whereas berries should be refrigerated. Citrus fruits, ginger and turmeric will also last much longer if kept in the fridge.

Stone fruit, such as nectarines and mangos and avocados, should ripen in a fruit bowl and then be moved to the fridge once they’re ready to eat. This will halt any further ripening. (see chart)

Freeze your herbs

Why not save yourself some time and money by preserving fresh herbs with olive oil? All you need is an ice tray, mix your oil of choice with herbs and pop them in the freezer. Easy as that, they’ll be ready to be added to any meal!

While we’re at it, chop your onions and spring onions and freeze them inside a re-sealable bag. Once they are frozen, simply take out what you need and return the rest to the freezer.

Create some space

Some fruit and veg don’t go together. Bananas, apples, avocados and peaches, for example, produce ethylene gas, which can speed up the ripening process of other foods nearby. Because of this, if you want to ripen something quickly, stash it with your apples. But if you want it to last, split everybody up! That means: Bananas should have their own spot, DO NOT store potatoes and onions together, and keep apples in a designated part of the fridge.

Speaking of berries...

Wash them in a vinegar-water bath: Pop them in a bowl with 1 cup of white vinegar to 8 cups of water. Let the berries sit in the vinegar bath, gently rubbing them to help remove any dirt and allowing the vinegar to kill bacteria. Don’t forget to rinse them thoroughly before eating, you don’t want a leftover vinegar taste in your berries! That should keep your berries fresher for longer.

Floppy herbs? Hell no.

Soft herbs like parsley, coriander, dill, mint and basil can be stored upright at room temperature in a glass with cool water

Hard herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage and chives, will last longer if stored in the fridge: wrap them in dry kitchen paper before putting into airtight containers or resealable bags.

Bag it.

A plastic bag (please reuse, recycle or just use the bag your produce came in) or a beeswax wrap will help prevent moisture in veggies from evaporating, this will avoid the veg from going limp after a few days. This also goes for hardy greens such as kale, spinach broccoli or celery: Remove the thicker stems, then tuck into a plastic bag or lidded container.

Let’s talk root

Root vegetables like carrots, beets and turnips will continue to pump energy into their leaves even after they’ve been picked and made their way to your home. So, make sure you chop off the tops of these veggies before storing them to keep the nutrients in the root.

March 24, 2021 — Abigail Bakker