Make your fruit & veg last longer

Some great tips we collected from fellow gardeners on how to store your garden bounty and fruit and veg you bought in the shops:

Make berries last longer

Wash berries in vinegar, dry them thoroughly and store them on a paper towel lining in the fridge. This will reduce the risk of going mouldy – they can last for up to 1-2 weeks.

Keep tomatoes on the counter with the stems facing down

Store tomatoes outside the fridge so they don’t lose flavor and get a mealy texture. Placing them upside down keeps the air of the delicate stem surface which keeps them fresh.

Keep produce whole, clean and dry

Clean and dry produce before storing. This avoids browning of cut edges and makes it harder for bacteria and mould to grow. Wrap leafy greens in a dry paper towel that absorbs excess moisture.

Treat herbs like flowers

Fresh herbs last longer when you trim the stems and keep them in a jar filled with enough water to cover the bottom tips. Most herbs last longer in the fridge, all basils and tender herbs are happy to stay at room temperature – in the fridge they turn black.

Trim the ends and then place them in a glass jar, like a bouquet of flowers. For basil and coriander, store them at room temperature.

A constant supply of salad greens

Refresh salad greens from the garden by placing them in a sink with cold water for 30 minutes. This turns most limp leaves crisp again. Select healthy leaves, wash thoroughly and spin dry. Keep the dried leaves in a clean and sealed plastic bag in the fridge. Top up once or twice per week for a constant supply of salad greens.

Some fruit and veg don’t like the fridge

Cucumbers, basil, pineapple, citrus fruit, bananas and plantains, eggplant, garlic, ginger, persimmons, watermelon, papaya, mango, pomegranates and capsicums don’t really like being stored in the fridge.

Keep avocados and guacamole green

Spray with cooking oil or rub with lemon juice to avoid oxidation. Keeping the seed in also makes them turn brown much slower.

Stock up your freezer

Washed, dried (to avoid freezer burn) and finely chopped ginger, galangal, turmeric and lemon grass keep well in the freezer – at the ready for your cooking. Pestos also freeze well, they just need a bit of stirring to homogenise after thawing.

No mushy mushrooms

Mushroom don’t sweat in a paper bag and won’t go bad quickly. Plastic bags trap moisture. Keep mushrooms in the fridge or in a cool, dry place.

Apples keep potatoes from sprouting and onions make them sprout

Apples produce ethylene gas that keeps potatoes from sprouting. Store them together in a dry cool place. Keep onions away from potatoes, they facilitate sprouting.

Potatoes go sweet in the fridge

Never store potatoes in the fridge. The starch in the potatoes is slowly converted into sugar when they are stored too cold.

Keep potatoes in the dark

Potatoes turn green when exposed to sunlight. The green itself isn’t a problem — it’s chlorophyll. But they also produce solanine, a toxin that causes nausea and intestinal upsets. Too much of it will even cause neurological problems. Green potatoes shouldn’t be consumed.

Ethylene, the gas that ripens fruit

Apples, avocados, bananas, plums, nectarines, pears and peaches produce ethylene gas that induces ripening in fruit that is close by. If you’d like to facilitate ripening place your unripe fruit in a closed bag with some ethylene producing fruit for a couple of days. Make sure the fruit don’t sweat in the bag. Keep those fruit apart from fruit that you want to store for longer.

Sunlight helps to ripen fruit

Avocados, tomatoes and other fruit ripen much quicker when exposed to sunlight. Place what you want to ripen on the window sill and keep out of the light what you want to store longer.

No slimy green onions

Leave the roots on the green onions and place them in a jar of water, replace the water every other day. If you place them in a bright spot they might even grow. Cut up green onions stay fresh in a plastic bag for up to a week, if kept dry.

Sweet sweet corn

Corn looses it’s sweetness when stored too long, especially when stored in the fridge. Keep the husk on as long as possible to keep it sweet.