Fruit is an important part of your family’s diet. The nutritional benefits are endless; fruits are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Unfortunately, many fruits spoil quickly. In a matter of days, that beautiful crate of fresh strawberries you just bought has transformed into a fuzzy white mass. (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.)
The following five tips can help you make your fruits last longer and keep your refrigerator’s crisper drawer from looking like a fifth grade science fair entry.
- Patrol Your Fruit Bowl
Keep an eye on your fruit and remove any item that looks like it’s about to turn. Some fruits release ethylene gas as they ripen. The gas can cause other fruits nearby to become mushy and mottled. Don’t let one bad banana spoil the bunch! If you’re too busy to police the fruit bowl every day, consider purchasing an ethylene gas absorber for your fridge.
- Not All Fruits Can Be Stored Equally
It’s so easy to stuff the bag of fresh fruit you just bought in the crisper drawer of your fridge and call it a day. But different fruits require different storage conditions. For example, avocados can be kept in a paper bag on the counter, while apples should be placed in the refrigerator in a perforated bag. The American Heart Association offers a great guide to storing fruit to help you find the right place for them next time you unload a bag of groceries.
- Don’t Choke Your Cherries
For a lot of foods, the secret to keeping them fresh is to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Not the case with fruit. Most fruits continue to “breathe” long after they’re picked. Placing your breathing berries in an airtight plastic bag is a sure way to suffocate them. Instead, store refrigerated whole fruit in a bag that allows some airflow. This also helps prevent mold and bacteria from growing on your goods.
- Buy Your Fruit Last
The next time you go to the grocery store, consider making the produce section your last stop. This prevents your fruits from getting warm in your cart as you load up on non-perishables. Picking your produce last also stops other groceries from bruising your fruit as you place items in the cart. And remember, if farmer’s markets are your preferred produce provider go early in the day to snag the freshest fruit.
- Resist the Urge to Rinse
Washing your fruit before you’re ready to eat it can remove the natural coating that protects it from the elements. (Edible coatings may also be applied to some fruits and vegetables after picking to keep them fresh.) Exposing the fruit to water can also encourage the growth of bacteria and mold. For best results, wash your fruit thoroughly, but only right before you’re ready to eat.
Follow the tips above and you’ll find your fruit stays fresher longer, meaning less waste and more nutritious snacks for you and your family.