It happens every time: you get home, place your unripe fruit in the fruit bowl and, bang, a few days later the bananas are spotty, the nectarines are soft and the apples are powdery.
While Australia's warm temperature doesn't help, most of us aren't storing our fruit and veggies properly, which can lead to soggy, off produce and a lot of unnecessary food waste.
To help keep your fruit and veg happy, and to reduce food waste in your home, here are 12 easy tips for storing produce properly.
See ya later, floppy celery and carrots.
Have a serious case of brown, spotty bananas? A common reason for this is because the bananas are kept with other fruits.
Many fruits and vegetables are high in ethylene, a natural plant hormone in the form of a gas which ripens fruit. Other fruits, on the other hand, are ethylene sensitive, so storing the two together doesn't end well.
To prevent fruit from becoming overripe too soon, keep ethylene producing and ethylene sensitive produce away from each other.
- Ethylene producing fruit -- bananas, tomatoes, all stone fruit, rock melon, honeydew melon, mangoes and paw paw.
- Ethylene sensitive fruit -- apples, carrots, beans, lettuce, potatoes, watermelon, eggplant, broccoli, cucumbers and asparagus.
Nobody likes soft, wilted celery. Not even peanut butter.
To keep celery stems fresh and crunchy, wrap the celery tightly in aluminium foil and store in the fridge. When you need a celery stick, simply cut off what you need and wrap tightly again.
Hand up if you keep your onions and potatoes together. Yep, us too. Storing onions and potatoes together actually sends them off faster.
To get the most out of them, keep them separated in a cool, dark place -- and no plastic bags.
Rather than keeping your potatoes loose in the cupboard, extend their life by placing them in a paper bag in a cool (not cold) place.
Avoid storing potatoes in the fridge -- this overly cool temperature helps convert the potato's starches into sugars more quickly, turning them into gritty, sweet potatoes.
To keep herbs crisp and fresh, lay them out on a damp paper towel or fresh cloth wipe. Gently roll up the herbs within the wet paper, place in a plastic zip lock bag and store in the fridge (not too close to the back wall, it's too cold!).
Herbs stored like this should last up to two weeks.
Basil will actually wilt faster if stored in the fridge. Instead, trim the bottom of the herbs and place in a jar or glass filled with a few inches of water -- just like flowers.
Store out of direct sunlight and change the water every day. The basil should last for up to two weeks.
Keep asparagus crisp and fresh by placing them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature. They should keep for a week outside the fridge.
Say farewell to sad carrots once and for all.
First, cut the carrot tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place the carrots in a closed container with plenty of moisture (either wrapped in a damp towel, or dunk them in cold water every couple of days).
Tomatoes are most flavoursome when kept at room temperature, so don't refrigerate them.
Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay on the counter for up to two weeks. To speed up ripeness, place the tomatoes in a paper bag with an apple.
If you get home from the shops and wash your strawberries before storing them in the fridge, unfortunately you're not doing them any favours.
Strawberries don't like to be wet. To keep them fresh, place them in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week. Check the bag for moisture every other day.
To keep your apples fresh and crisp, bypass the fruit bowl and store them somewhere cooler -- your fridge.
The fridge is the best place to keep your apples after you buy them. This keeps apples juicy, crisp and fresher for longer.
If your mangoes aren't ripe enough, store them at room temperature between 18-22°C and out of the sun for a few days until the fruit ripens. Alternatively, place a few mangoes in a paper bag to quicken the ripening process.
To get the best taste out of your mangoes, here are some extra storage tips from Mangoes Australia:
- Mangoes should not be refrigerated until they are ripe
- Fully ripe mangoes can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days
- Never store mangoes in plastic bags -- mangoes need air!
Produce storage tips courtesy of IGA.
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