A few months ago, my husband and I celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss. When we first moved in together, however, there were a few critical issues to hash out: finances, proper dishwashing techniques, and where to store tomatoes. Having gone to school in England, where refrigerators are the size of laundry baskets, I learned that not everything I was raised to chill actually benefits from being thrown in the fridge. Tomatoes are a good example. In the fridge, tomatoes turn to flavorless mush. (I store them with the stem-side down on the counter and eat quickly.)
Recently, I visited one of our produce partners and got the scoop on how to properly store fruit and veggies. The first place most people will choose to store fruits and veggies is in the fridge drawers. Because of the slower loss of moisture, the crisper drawers are much more humid than the rest of the fridge. Fruits and veggies that need the humid atmosphere should be placed in the drawers, but not necessarily without an added bit of storage prep.
For instance, apples should be placed in a paper bag first in order to slow ripening and keep them from getting mushy. Don’t store apples for more than three weeks, however. Carrots should also be stored in a paper bag, although plastic is almost as good. Asparagus is a special case. Not only are you dealing with the snap effect, but leaving asparagus at room temperature would rob them of almost half their vitamin C power.
When it comes to those shelves you’ll want to make room for any fruit or vegetable that benefit from air circulation. Most berries should be shelved, either in a paper bag or else covered in plastic, and the stems should be left on until ready to eat. Mushrooms should be wiped with a damp cloth, and then stored in a paper bag, the darker the color bag the better. Most tropical fruits should never see the inside of a refrigerator unless they’ve been transformed into juice or have reached absolute ripeness. Everything from avocados to lemons to plums to melons are best kept on the coolest part of your countertop.
One last word of advice: If you have extra nineteen cent bananas from Trader Joes that need eating, freeze them! After you peel them, you can throw them into a freezer bag and when you want pure banana ice cream, simply chop them into chunks and throw them into the food processor. This luscious ‘ice cream’ is, wholesome, cheap and 100 percent fat free!