Who does not know the problem: the lettuce you bought at the market the day before yesterday lies withered and sad in the fridge today, the carrots are no longer fresh and crisp and the strawberries are already partly moldy.
Almost 13 million tons of food end up in the garbage in Germany every year, almost 7 tons of which come from private households. 40% of this garbage could be avoided if people bought less, stored their groceries better and simply didn’t throw away leftovers without hesitation.
But what should be stored where? Do tomatoes belong in the fridge? Can I put apples in the fruit bowl next to the bananas? In the following list, we share with you where to store your fruits and veggies so that they stay fresh for as long as possible and retain all the important vitamins and nutrients.
Apples and pears
Apples and pears are great for storing in the refrigerator. They belong to the climacteric species, which means that they emit ethylene, a ripening gas. Once picked, this fruit continues to ripen. Apples and pears, therefore, do not belong in the fruit bowl, as they can quickly spoil other fruit there.
Berries must be consumed within 1-2 days, as they are very sensitive and mold quickly. For perfect storage, take the berries out of the plastic tray, discard the crushed berries, place the rest on a plate and store in the refrigerator.
Lemons and other citrus fruits
Can be kept in the refrigerator for a relatively long time. Before use, however, they should be taken out briefly, as they regain their flavors at room temperature.
Can easily be stored in the refrigerator. Similar to citrus fruits, however, they should be removed shortly before consumption in order to regain their aroma.
Tropical fruits (mango, papaya, kiwi, pineapple)
They don’t belong in the refrigerator, but can be stored at room temperature for 5-7 days, depending on their degree of ripeness.
Who hasn’t been annoyed with the dark bruises on bananas? To prevent this, it is best to hang bananas and not put them in the fruit bowl. Bananas emit a relatively large amount of ethylene, which is why they should not be stored with other fruit. Another trick is to wrap a piece of cling film around the banana stalks, this also prevents the emission of ethylene. (To avoid producing more waste, you can of course reuse this piece of cling film many times).
Did you know that the banana is actually a berry?
Tomatoes should be stored in a bowl in a not too warm place without any other fruit or vegetables. Do not stack on top of each other, otherwise they will quickly get pressure marks. Unfortunately, tomatoes quickly lose their taste, and can acquire an undesirable mealy texture in the refrigerator.
Carrots need a high level of humidity, otherwise they will become soft quickly. It is best to store them in a thin, perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator, in which you also put a piece of kitchen paper to absorb the moisture. (I know, we want to avoid plastic bags as much as possible but you can reuse it for this purpose several times). If stored like this, carrots will keep for a good two weeks in the refrigerator. The same applies to other root vegetables such as celeriac, beetroot and radishes.
Like carrots, fresh beans can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, in which you also put a piece of kitchen paper.
Fresh peas should be consumed as soon as possible. They only last a very short time.
Lettuce and leafy vegetables
Lettuce and other leafy greens can be kept upside down in an airy plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. The moisture can thus run down the large leaves and does not get inside the lettuce.
An unripe avocado should never be kept in the refrigerator. It is better to allow it to ripen at room temperature (the ethylene from apples can be helpful here).
Potatoes can be stored for a long time in a dark, cool place. I store them in a wooden wine box with a lid that I put on loosely. Small shoots can be cut off, but if the potato has green areas, it has produced the poisonous substance solanine and the potato should no longer be eaten.
Cucumbers should be consumed relatively quickly because it is actually too cold for them in the refrigerator, but too warm at room temperature. It is best to wrap them in a kitchen towel and store them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.
What applies to cucumbers applies to eggplants. It is best to consume them quickly. For longer storage, keep them wrapped in a kitchen towel in the refrigerator.
Broccoli, cauliflower and other types of cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator, but not next to pears and apples, as they react strongly to ethylene and thus spoil more quickly.
Zucchini should also be eaten quickly. For longer storage, keep in a kitchen towel in the refrigerator.
Bell peppers can be stored in the refrigerator in the vegetable compartment.
Keep loosely packed in a plastic bag and in the refrigerator away from other fruits and vegetables for up to seven days.
Champignons and other mushrooms
They are relatively delicate and can be kept in the refrigerator for about three days. Make sure to take them out of their plastic tray and store them on a plate in the fridge.
Asparagus needs to be eaten relatively quickly, but it can be wrapped in a damp kitchen towel and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Pumpkins don’t belong in the refrigerator. They can be kept in a cool, dry place for weeks.
Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic can be stored together in a dark place. However, please do not store them together with potatoes, as onions allow them to germinate faster.
They hold up best if you put them in a vase or a large glass of water, just like flowers. Shorten the stems at the bottom a little and pick out the stalks that have already withered.
A clean refrigerator
Another basic requirement for fresh fruit and vegetables is a clean refrigerator. It should be cleaned regularly, if possible every three months, otherwise, germs and bacteria will lead to the food spoiling more quickly.
Make sure to buy mainly local and seasonal fruits and vegetables. If the produce comes from abroad, it has already traveled a long way and is more likely to spoil after a short time. Not to mention the environmental impact that an imported product has.
Fruits and vegetables should only be washed after you take them out of the fridge to eat, otherwise, the chances of mold formation increase significantly.
The list of the fruits and vegetables mentioned here is of course not complete. It can be helpful to approach the vendors at the market and ask them how to best store your fruit and vegetables; in most cases they give you good advice.
MARA // Bordeaux