Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Nothing beats a well-developed strawberry, with all of the juices flowing and the sweet taste running down your chin. Perhaps you are not a big fruit fan, but a full crown of broccoli really gets you going. Either way, whether you like fruits or vegetables, or a combination of both, there are different ways to store them so they retain their freshness. Here are a couple of ways to store your delectable delights:
Some fruits and vegetables are not supposed to be chilled. Bananas, for instance, are best left to their own devices, on the counter. Avocados are another fruit, believe it or not, that are usually left to ripen out in the open. The best judgment call to make is, however you find the fruit and vegetable in the grocery store, is probably the best way to store them at your house.
While some fruits and veggies are best left in the open air, others need to be refrigerated in order to maintain their vibrant color and great taste. Again, use the rule of thumb, wherever you find them in the store, keep them the same way at home. Leafy greens and vegetables with stalks or stems usually do best in the refrigerator, which slows down their ripening process.
A great way to store fruits and vegetables for the long haul is by freezing them. This takes them at the peak of their flavor and color and puts a sudden halt to the ripening process.
Before freezing vegetables, they should be blanched for a few minutes. This allows the colors to come out and the flavors to develop. Once they have been blanched, they should be left to cool to room temperature and then frozen individually before being bagged up. Laying them out on a sheet pan and put into the freezer for three to five hours can do this. Once they have started to freeze, then and only then, should they be bagged together.
Fruits are a little different. Because of the sugar content in most fruits, the cells need to retain the sugar content, so it is advised to freeze the fruits in simple syrup or a sugar compound with a little ascorbic acid to slow down the oxidation process. When oxidation occurs, the fruit turns discolored and brown, making it difficult on the eyes to stomach.
Another popular storage method for fruits and vegetables is to dry them in a food dehydrator. Dried foods can be stored in an air-tight container in your pantry for extended periods of time without worry of spoiling. Consult your dehydrator for the appropriate drying temperature and length of time for best results.
No matter how you store your fruits and vegetables, make sure you pick them at the peak of their ripeness and during the appropriate season. Once stored properly, you will be able to enjoy the best foods all year long and while others are digging through the grocery store, you can have the juices running down your chin.
Some items I recommend to help keep your foods fresher, longer are zip-loc baggies, air-tight containers and of course a vacuum sealer. All these items will help the process!