We need to eat high quality, nutritious fresh produce. At the same time, we need to spend less money, reduce our grocery costs, and reduce wasteful spending. So, how we can select high quality fruit in the market, make sure it is ripe, and then keep it fresh at home? There are a few basic rules:
- Buy fruit when it is in season where you leave. Produce can be marked “in season now” when it’s imported from another country or location where it is in season, but that doesn’t mean it will be ripe and flavorful by the time it arrives in your home.
- Fruit won’t ripen in the refrigerator, so make sure it is at it’s peak before exposing it to cool temperatures.
- While refrigeration will slow the decay process, it can also alter the texture of fruit. Fleshy fruits like peaches can become mealy, while crispy fruits like apples do well in the refrigerator. If you aren’t sure, check our storage guides below.
- Never seal fruits and vegetables in an air tight bag. Produce needs to “breathe”, with air circulation, and air tight containers speed up the decaying process.
- Some fruits emit ethylene, a natural gas that speeds ripening. Other fruits and vegetables may be extremely sensitive to ethylene, and will decay within days if stored together with ethylene-producing fruits. Check the guides below to see which fruits and vegetables should be stored separately from each other.
The following pages provide specific information for buying and storing fresh fruits. These also provide the basics for extending the shelf lives by freezing, canning, or drying, including:
- when to buy/ when it’s in season
- what qualities, colors, and aromas to look for
- what the major difference is in organic growing
- pesticide contamination concerns
- how to store
- how to freeze
- basic shelf lives
Bananas and Plantains
Blackberries and Boysenberries
Grapes and Raisins
Lemons and Limes
Photo Source: Kevin Coles