Best Ways to Select and Store Fruits & Veggies
A simple guide to choosing and maintaining fruits and vegetables.
If you're like me, you grew up thinking all fruits and vegetables go in the refrigerator. Turns out this is a common misconception. Each produce item has its own rules for how it should be stored, and it's key to follow them - for both health and taste reasons. Before you bring your tasty treat home, you need to know how to select the best produce; you can shake, squeeze, and sniff all you want - or you can follow these simple steps to get the most out of those all-important fruit and vegetables:
Look for ones that are deeply and evenly colored as well as firm and heavy for their size. Tomatoes from local farmers are ideal since they're usually sold just after being picked from the vine. It is best to store tomatoes at room temperature and out of direct exposure to sunlight. Refrigerating tomatoes will destroy their flavor, cause them to become soggy and impede their ripening process as well.
You can select the best tasting onions by looking for ones that are clean and well shaped, have no opening at the neck and feature crisp, dry outer skins. The best way to store onions is in a cool, dark place, away from heat and bright light. They should be well ventilated, never placed in a plastic bag. A wire hanging basket is perfect because air will circulate underneath. Do not refrigerate onions.
Cantaloupe does not ripen after it has been picked, so look for one that is fully ripe with a sweet aroma. Try tapping the melon with the palm of your hand and listen for a hollow sound. Look for one that seems heavy in size. Refrigeration helps slow the respiration rate of a ripe cantaloupe and will retain its vitamin content and increase storage life.
Strawberries do not ripen after picked, so choose ones that are fully ripe. They should have a beautiful aroma and be moderately soft and plump; a shiny, deep red color and well attached bright green caps. Look for medium sized strawberries, since they are usually more flavorful than excessively large ones. Refrigerate strawberries as soon as you bring them home. Do not wash them before storing since water advances spoilage.
Avocados do not ripen on the tree. If you are not going to be serving avocados immediately after purchasing, it is better to buy one that is hard, so you can control the ripening process and have one ready when you want to consume it. Avoid overripe avocados and ones that have dark sunken spots or cracks. You should not eat overripe avocados because the brown coloration of the overripe fruit indicates the formation of free radicals. It is best to refrigerate ripe avocados if you cannot eat them right away, because this will slow down the ripening process. Leave hard avocados at room temperature to enhance ripening.
Look for eggplants that are firm, feel heavy for their size and have smooth, shiny skin. Test the eggplant for ripeness by gently pressing the skin with the pad of your thumb. If it springs back, it is ripe; if an indentation remains, it is not ripe. Store eggplant in the refrigerator. The colder temperature will slow the respiration rate, helping to preserve freshness for a longer period of time.
About the Creator
Writer & Social Media Editor for Jerrickmedia who is an avid reader of sci-fi and a fierce defender of women, minority, and LGBTQ rights.
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