There are lots of things that are wonderful about summer: the days are longer, the sun is shining (sometimes), and there’s so much seasonal fresh fruit to choose from.
Stocking up your kitchen with this delicious summer fruit is always appealing – open the fridge and admire the colourful, healthy view! But we all have the same problem. This fruit doesn’t last long, and we often throw a lot of spoiled produce out before we get a chance to enjoy it.
On average, households throw away a quarter of the fruit and veg they buy, so we’re here to put an end to this waste and help you make the most of your juicy summer produce! Here are 19 tips that will save you money and make your fruit go further.
1. Read up on ethylene
Ethylene is a gas produced by all fruit and veg, which can speed up the ripening of some produce. Knowing your ethylene-producing fruits from your ethylene-sensitive will allow you to store them correctly, and extend the life of your fresh fruit.
2. Ripen fruit faster
If you need fruit on a certain day and it’s not ready to use yet, don’t waste money buying more. Use your ethylene knowledge to ripen fruit faster, too. If your fruit isn’t ripening quickly enough, keep it next to a high ethylene-producer to speed it up.
3. Don’t mix
Fruit and veg don’t mix well with each other, at least during storage. Keeping them in separate drawers will help stop ethylene building up and spoiling your produce.
4. Keep citrus fruit cold
Extend the lives of your oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes by keeping them in the fridge. They’ll last for a week in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight, but you can make them last even longer by storing them in the fridge. Be sure to store them loose, rather than in a sealed container.
5. Turn your pineapple upside down
Keep pineapples fresh for longer by cutting the top off them and storing them upside down. This helps redistribute the sugars throughout the fruit and means the tropical taste will be fresher for longer.
6. Don’t wash grapes
Don’t wash your grapes until you’re going to eat them – the excess moisture will encourage mold growth. Not very appetizing…
7. Bathe berries
Instead of washing berries under a cold tap, give them a hot bath. To kill off mold spores, dunk them in a pot of hot water (around 50 degrees celsius) and stir them around for 30 seconds. Air dry them on paper towels afterwards.
8. Put ripe fruit in the fridge
Some fruits need to be left out at room temperature to ripen. However, once they’re ripe, keep them in the fridge if you aren’t going to eat them straight away. This should slow the ripening right down.
9. Cover cut fruit
These “Fruit Huggers” are special fruit covers designed to keep your fruit fresh longer. These handy gadgets from Sur la table mean you no longer have to choose between eating all your produce in one go or throwing away the dried remains.
10. Bag bananas
Prevent bananas from turning brown too quickly by putting them in a plastic bag. If you have some bananas that turn too ripe before you get a chance to bag them, don’t throw them away. They’re perfect for baking banana bread!
11. Refresh lettuce and herbs
Soft greens such as lettuce and herbs can start to wilt in the fridge. But all is not lost! Revive them by placing them in a large bowl of ice water for a couple of minutes.
12. Avoid the fridge sometimes
Potatoes, onions and tomatoes shouldn’t be kept in the fridge, as the cold ruins their flavour. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry place. Potatoes will last even longer if kept in the dark, too.
13. Seal up salad leaves
Use plastic containers to keep your salads and other soft greens fresh. Storing them in a sealed plastic container in the fridge not only keeps them fresh for longer, but also saves them from potentially being crushed.
14. Water your herbs
Keep the cut stems of fresh herbs submerged in a glass of water in the fridge. This will allow them to carry on drinking – like fresh flowers in a vase – and will mean they keep even longer.
15. Take some tin foil…
…and wrap it around your celery. Leave it in the fridge and it will stay fresh and crisp.
16. Separate carrots and broccoli
Some types of produce start to spoil as soon as they’re picked, and this includes carrots and broccoli. Place these in separate plastic bags in your fridge. Make sure they’re dry, as moisture will make them rot faster.
17. Stop it spreading
If you find any rotten food, throw it into the compost straight away. If left next to other fresh fruit and veg, it will start to spoil them as well. Make sure to clean up any mess left in your fridge, too, to keep the remaining groceries fresh.
18. Never forget
We’ve all done it: cut up fresh fruit or veg with the best intentions, and left it in the fridge, forgotten. If you’re storing produce in containers, make sure to leave them at the front of the fridge, in plain sight. This will remind you to eat what’s inside before it goes bad.
19. Save time (and make punch)
Cut up your fruit salad at the beginning of the week and store it in a plastic container filled with water, making sure it’s fully submerged. The water will stop the fruit going brown so quickly. Whenever you’re hungry, simply spoon out some fruit salad for an instant snack.
At the end of the week, throw half a bottle of rum into whatever is leftover to make a ‘healthy’ punch! Who knew fruit could be so exciting?
Do you have any tips for keeping produce fresh that we’ve missed? We’d love to hear them!