Every year we waste billions of euros on food. Because they buy too large portions, cook too much, or because we leave products until they are no longer good. What a shame! We can solve this by making a few simple changes: make a list when shopping, learn to cook (and save!) with portions and perhaps most importantly: learn where we should store our fruits and vegetables to prevent spoilage. Because be honest: do you know where it’s best to store all the different fruits and vegetables – in the fridge, or not? Some fruits and vegetables ripen too quickly and need to be kept in the refrigerator to prevent further ripening (and thus eventual spoilage), while others taste best when kept outside the refrigerator. If you store your fruits and vegetables in the right place, not only will you have a better chance of not having to throw them away, but your fruits and vegetables will taste better because they will be properly ripe and not too ripe. Therefore I explain you step by step where to store most fruits and vegetables.
Best kept cool
- Leafy vegetables (spinach, endive)
- Lettuce (head and sliced)
- Green beans
- Spring onion
- Forest fruits
What is best to keep in the refrigerator? Raspberries, leafy vegetables, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, forest fruits, strawberries and pre-cut fruits and vegetables can be stored unwashed in the refrigerator. These fruits and vegetables ripen too quickly otherwise they will spoil faster. They do not change their taste by keeping them refrigerated. If you want to keep whole lettuce heads in the fridge, it is best to wash them first and put them in a bag with some kitchen paper. You can also do this with fresh herbs. Asparagus can be stored in the same way or in a container with some water to keep the tips moist. Despite storing them in the refrigerator, these fruits and vegetables do not keep too long. Eat them within a week!
Riper and tastier outside the fridge
- (sweet) potatoes
- Tubers (kohlrabi, celeriac)
- Citrus fruit
Not everyone knows this, but tomatoes are actually better stored outside the refrigerator. This is because tomatoes quickly change flavor and texture in the refrigerator. The coolness causes the flavors of the tomato to dissipate and stops the ripening process – so the tomato literally flattens out in taste when stored in the refrigerator. Tubers are best stored alongside potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and onions in a cool, dry place. The pantry, for example. Bananas should not go into the refrigerator and should be kept at room temperature. These tropical fruits freeze in the refrigerator and then are actually inedible. Lemons and limes are best ripened outside the refrigerator and certainly do not belong in it. Citrus fruits absorb odors from the refrigerator – not so good if you also keep blue cheese in them. Furthermore, cucumbers, eggplants and peppers should also be kept outside the refrigerator, otherwise the taste changes and you get the same “freezing” effect as with bananas.
Delicious both inside and outside the refrigerator
Of course, there are exceptions: fruit and vegetables that can be kept inside and outside the fridge from start to finish. One example is melons. You can keep them outside the fridge to let them ripen faster so you can eat them sooner. If you don’t want to eat them right away, it is better to keep them in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. You can also keep apples in the fridge and outside. However, you should be careful not to place apples next to other fresh fruit or vegetables. Apples, like bananas and passion fruits, secrete ethylene when they ripen, and this substance accelerates the ripening process. In this way, other fresh fruits and vegetables (which are snugly placed next to them in the fruit basket) can spoil faster. Conversely, therefore, a handy trick is to place bananas, apples or passion fruit next to fruit that is not yet ripe enough.
First not, then in the fridge
Finally, there are also fruits and vegetables that should first be left out of the refrigerator to ripen, and then moved into the refrigerator to extend their shelf life. You do this with avocados, nectarines, peaches and kiwis. They are usually not ripe enough when you purchase them, so you must first store them outside the fridge to ripen. Once ripe, store them in the refrigerator so they don’t get óripe.