Storing vegetables and fruit in the correct way prolongs their freshness, colour and taste. The best
way to store produce varies depentding on what you have. Some veg keeps better in the fridge,
others in cool dry cupboards. Here’s the Lee Greens guide on how to keep your vegetables fresh for
as long as possible.
Tomatoes and potatoes
These fare better when kept in the cool dry space as refrigeration alters the taste and texture of
tomatoes and potatoes. As long as they are kept out of direct sun light and heat, tomatoes should
keep fresh for at least a week. Potatoes will keep a lot longer but be careful not to keep them in a
place which is too dark or too warm, this will provide them with the ideal conditions needed to
Salad and herbs
Soft leaves such as spinach, parsley and coriander are best kept in the fridge in tightly sealed bags.
To avoid using plastic though, you can keep salad leaves and herbs in glass of water, the same way as
you would keep a bunch of flowers. This works particularly well for long stemmed leaves such as
chard. Salads and herbs can deteriorate quickly in the fridge and are best eaten straight away, so if
they are looking a bit sad when you come to use them, try reviving them in an ice bath.
Fruit give of a gas called ethylene. This naturally occurring hydrocarbon is released during the
ripening process and bananas release lots of it - it is what causes them to turn from green to yellow
and then brown. To keep your fruit bowl fresh its important to store bananas separately so the
ethylene doesn’t accelerate the ripening of other fruit. Alternatively, bananas can be a great way to
speed up ripening when needed. Keeping bananas next to hard avocados will ripen them in about 24
hours. Fruit such as pears, kiwis, plums and melons should be kept in a fruit bowl until they are ripe,
once they have ripened, they will keep best in the fridge.
Carrots, parsnips and other root vegetables
Fridges can easily cause root vegetables to lose their crispness or rot. The best way to store
vegetables such as carrots and beetroot is to put them in the lowest drawer of the fridge and place a
damp towel over them to stop them from drying out. Before storing beetroots and turnips in the
fridge chop of any leaves to prevent growth. The leaves are edible too and make a great addition to
stir-fry or soups.
Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic like cool dark places. Like potatoes they shouldn’t be kept where its going to be
warm as they’ll start to grow. Onions should be kept so the air can circulate around them, avoid
keeping in a bowl and mesh produce bag and hang them up if possible. Garlic should be kept in total
darkness in the cool. A terracotta garlic pot is ideal.
By Joanna Kimber, Enviromental Consultant