Keep fruit and veg fresh in the fridge for longer

Ahhh the joy of the snap of leafy greens or the crunch of raw carrots. But keeping your produce perky once you get them in the fridge is not easy. Here are a few tips to prevent them from perishing before you get the chance to eat them, and minimise food waste.


Start fresh

Selecting the freshest fruits and veggies is the first step to getting the longest storage life. Lucky for you, Parcel of Plenty has you covered super fresh, locally sourced fruit and vegetables courtesy of Newcastle Markets. 


Consider the conditions

The freshness of your fruit and vegetables can be affected by several factors - temperature, humidity, how long ago an item was harvested before you brought it home. 

A lot of produce keeps well in the fridge, while some items like potatoes, onions, and garlic are best left in a cool, dark location. Produce that keeps best at room temperature needs air circulation. Even if the bananas, potatoes, or onions you bought came in a perforated plastic bag, they’ll last longer if you take them out and let them breathe.

Some fruits and vegetables naturally emit ethylene gas—such as apples and bananas. ethylene gas speeds up the ripening (and eventual decay) of certain other fruits and vegetables that are ethylene-sensitive, like cabbage, leafy greens, lettuce, and broccoli, just to name a few. Whether you refrigerate or not, you should keep ethylene-sensitive fruits and veggies separate from the gas-emitting ones.

Most refrigerated produce stays fresh longer when sealed, such as in reusable silicone pouches, or containers with tight-fitting lids. These containers hold in moisture, preventing produce from dehydrating, and they help protect sensitive produce from the effects of ethylene gas. You can even recycle a plastic bag to keep produce fresh. Pop it in and tie a knot at the top.


Where and how to store the different types of produce


Potatoes and sweet potatoes:

  • Don’t refrigerate. Store in a cool, dark place with relatively high humidity.
  • Keep separate from onions, bananas, and other ethylene-producing items.
  • Avoid warmth if you can as this will lead them to sprout. If they go green, toss them out. Personally we've found that as long as the potato is still firm, you can cut off the sprouts and eyes before you cook and be just fine. 

Other roots and tubers

  • Remove any leafy green tops.
  • Refrigerate in a plastic bag for the longest life.
  • For a shorter term (up to two weeks), store loose in your crisper drawer.
  • Beetroot, carrots, parsnips, and ginger aren’t fussy about where in the fridge you keep them. 

Onions and garlic

  • Don’t refrigerate. Store in a cool, dark place with low humidity.
  • Allow some air circulation.
  • Keep separate from potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Cabbage family

  • Refrigerate in sealed containers.
  • Uncut heads can be refrigerated without a bag.
  • Once cut, seal in an airtight container.
  • Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are hardy and versatile. Whole crowns stay crisp for up to two weeks in plastic bags or in containers with lids.

Pumpkins

  • Store at room temperature while whole.
  • Keep away from bananas and other ethylene producers.
  • Store cut pumpkin in a sealed container or plastic bag in the fridge.

Leafy greens

  • Refrigerate unwashed -excess moisture causes leafy greens to rot faster in the fridge.
  • Seal in resealable plastic bags or sealed containers.
  • When stored properly, your greens can keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. 
  • To get the longest life out of your leafy greens, remove and discard any brown or slimy leaves before refrigerating.
  • Celery is a little different. It’ll stay crisp for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator sealed in a sealed bag. Or you can cut the stalks into sticks and refrigerate them submerged in water, sealed in a container.

Apples and pears

  • Refrigerate in a plastic bag because apples release ethylene gas, which makes the other fresh produce in your fridge spoil faster.
  • Ideally, use a crisper drawer that you’ve designated for non-ethylene-sensitive fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, navel oranges, and raspberries.
  • Apples prefer the cold; after harvesting, producers keep them at near freezing temperatures to maintain their crispness year-round. 
  • Pears: underripe pears should stay out at room temperature in a bowl or a paper bag. Stash ripe pears in the fridge, where they’ll stay ready to eat for a couple of weeks (sometimes up to three).

Mangoes

  • Store unripe at room temperature.
  • Once ripe, refrigerate loose, and separate from apples and pears.

Citrus fruit

  • Store on the countertop for up to a week.
  • Refrigerate loose for longer storage.

Berries

  • Wash berries in a vinegar bath (3 parts water to 1 part vinegar). Drain, rinse and dry well on paper towels.
  • Store berries in a clean container lined with paper towels, with the lid ajar so condensation can evaporate. 
  • Change the paper towels if they get damp over time.

Each year millions of tonnes of food waste goes to landfill in Australia and over half of this comes from households. Experts say saving food waste can do more for the environment than switching off the lights. 

So give our food saving tips a trial in your kitchen. After all, not only will you save your money, you will also be saving the planet. 

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