Summer season comes bearing the colours of joy and those colours can be well spotted in the kaleidoscopic seasonal fruits and vegetables. In India, people tend to welcome the summer season with a smile despite the scorching heat, especially when they factor in the delicious summer fruits and vegetables in the cards. But procuring your stock of fresh summer produce, might not be half as difficult as making it last.
Before your fresh stock of fruits and vegetables takes the form of mouldy, bruised and wilted produce ready to become compost material, read on to discover 5 proven ways of keeping fruits and vegetables fresh longer.
1. Wash your greens in ice-cold water
An ice bath is an effective way of locking the moisture in your green vegetables, cooling them down, and avoiding that wilted appearance old greens tend to take on after some time. All you need to do is wash your greens in ice-cold water to revive the moisture, followed by patting them dry with some paper towels. Now, after tossing aside any rotten leaves, place your clean and dried fresh produce in an air-tight container.
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2. Freeze some of your fruits & veggies
When it comes to storing your fresh produce, preservation is truly better than cure. An effective strategy for keeping your fruits and vegetables fresh longer involves freezing them. A technique well mastered by frozen food brands, you can freeze items such as bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, strawberries, mushrooms and a bunch of other fruits and vegetables in order to make them last. Just be mindful about blanching your produce in hot water, before you stick it in the below-freezing temperature of your freezer. This is an important step to neutralize bacteria and thus, delay decay.
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3. Wrap in paper, place in plastic, store in freezer
If you want to consume fresh produce rich in nutrients, you should ideally consume it within 1-3 days after the date of purchase. But if storing them away is your only viable option, extending the life of your greens would require you to wrap the unwashed leaves in a paper towel, allowing the towel to absorb excess moisture. Now, put your wrapped green leafy vegetables in a plastic bag and place the bag in the fridge. Remember to store different varieties in different bags.
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4. Give your berries some hot water therapy
Referred to as "thermotherapy", this produce hack involves exposing your berries to hot water for a set period of time as a way of making them last. To save that fuzzy layer of fungus from taking up space on your berries, you need to immerse and swish them around in a pot of hot water. This is a great way of killing off any mould spores on your stock of berries and thus making them last longer. Once the berries are clean, place them in a towel and allow them to breath before storing.
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5. Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator
Contrary to what you might have been led to believe, storing your tomatoes in the fridge will have an effect opposite to what you're striving for. Exposure to cold temperature drains tomatoes of their natural flavour, in addition to ruining the texture of the produce. What you can do instead, is put them in a bowl lined with a paper towel, with the stems up. Store your bowl of tomatoes in room temperature, and away from any sources of heat or direct sunlight. There are also special containers you can purchase that come with controlled ventilation and ridges to ward off the moisture.
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Get to it! Like we've already mentioned, when it comes to storing your fresh stock of produce, preservation is truly better than cure.