Keeping fruits and vegetables longer in the refrigerator is an art in itself that goes along with this adaptation of the famous saying: “the order in which the factors are stored alters the conservation of the products.”
With that in mind, we came up with a list of 5 tips that’ll help you preserve them longer and make smart and appropriate use of the space available in your refrigerator.
Are you ready? Do you have a pen and paper? Let the organization begin…
The 5 magic tips for the preservation of fruits and vegetables
#1. What goes outside the refrigerator? Knowing how to discriminate is important. First of all, because it frees up space inside the appliance, favoring what does need a cold chain to stay in good condition. And secondly because, believe it or not, it preserves some food longer.
Take note of the fruits and vegetables that should NOT be refrigerated:
- Onions (if it’s cut it should be refrigerated)
- Garlic (store it in a dark, dry environment)
- Citrus fruits in general
- Plantains and bananas, melon, mango, papaya, avocados, pineapples, and tomatoes (as long as they are not very ripe)
Another important recommendation regarding what should be stored out of the fridge: DON’T put the onions and potatoes together as the latter usually absorb moisture, so they could dry the onions out.
The same goes for apples. Keep them away from vegetables, because they produce ethylene, which makes whatever is fresh ripen too quickly.
#2. What goes inside the refrigerator? You’ll see that after leaving everything we mentioned on the first tip outside of the refrigerator, you will have more space inside the drawers specially designed to store this type of food.
- Celery, eggplant, broccoli, spinach, carrots, and cauliflower go in the refrigerator, inside a bag with holes.
- Asparagus, parsley, and cilantro are delicate to preserve, so it’s better to put them standing inside a glass of water and store them in the fridge as if they were flowers.
- Mushrooms should be stored with dry and absorbent paper underneath.
- Store the lettuce inside a container with an absorbent pad underneath.
- Cucumbers and zucchini go in the refrigerator without a bag.
- Radishes must be kept in their bunch, without the leaves and bag, in the drawer for the vegetables.
- It’s better to freeze blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries if you won’t eat them quickly.
#3. What should be separated? If possible, keep fruits and vegetables separately. As we said before, there are fruits (like apples) that produce gases that oxidize the vegetables around them, so it’s best to use the drawers independently. One for fruits and one for vegetables.
#4. What should be stored unwashed? It may sound crazy, but this tip has an explanation. In general, washing fruits and vegetables accelerates the development of fungi due to moisture. So wash only the ones that are dirty (and dry them well) and of course, do the same before consuming them.
#5. Temperature matters. Keeping the refrigerator at a general temperature between 3 and 5 degrees Celsius is the most important recommendation among these 5 tips. In addition, carefully reading your refrigerator’s user manual will help you take advantage of the cold zones or the systems that each device offers you.
When it comes to the drawers intended for fruits and vegetables, the most modern refrigerators have special ventilation systems to privilege their conservation. However, in most refrigerators these spaces have an average temperature of 10 degrees Celsius, which allows fruits and vegetables to be better preserved.
So, with all this information, you just have to get down to work and organize your refrigerator to optimize its use, keep in good condition, and preserve longer those fruits and vegetables that you like so much.