We all want to get our 5-a-day, the trick is managing to do it consistently every day. A lot of that relies on knowing how to keep fruit and veggies fresh so that you can eat them throughout the week and that’s why we’ve put together this guide on keeping fruit and veg fresh – from learning when and how to wash vegetables to where to store them, we’ve got you covered.
How to keep fruit and veg fresh
Some golden rules to follow include:
- Keep foods separated. Some fruit and veggies cause premature ripening in other foods due to gasses they produce. Avocados and bananas should always be kept away from broccoli and carrots, for example.
- Know what to store where. Cool, dark places are best for onions and potatoes while the worktop is made for bananas, pears, peaches and plums. Putting citrus fruits in the fridge inside a mesh bag can help extend their shelf life.
- Use the right storage method. Celery likes to be wrapped in foil but salad vegetables and herbs should be sealed tightly in bags.
- Wash before eating, not storing. Moisture can encourage the growth of bacteria and mould, even if stored in the fridge.
- Remove spoiled fruit and veg immediately to prevent it spoiling other food. If you don’t want to waste it, then you might enjoy our article on composting.
How to wash vegetables and fruit
Now you know the basics of how to store fresh produce, what about doing a fruit and vegetable wash before you eat them?
The general advice is that you should give fresh food a quick fruit or veggie wash before eating them to get rid of any pesticides, fertilisers or other nasties on the surface. We don’t advise doing this before storing fresh produce as the moisture can encourage mould.
You don’t need any specialist equipment to learn how to wash fruit or veg. Simply rinse the item under a cold tap for a few seconds, scrubbing at any visible dirt with your hands, and then pat dry with a paper towel.
Got a burning question about fruit and veg storage? Check out our FAQs to see if we can help.
How do I keep bananas fresh?
Keep them separate from other unripe food and remove any ripe bananas from the bunch. This will prevent them from spoiling the other bananas they’re stored with. Some people also claim wrapping the stem in a little bit of plastic film is useful when learning how to keep bananas fresh.
What is the best way to store bananas?
Hanging from a stand on the worktop and free of any packaging. The cellophane that some bananas are come backed in can trap in moisture, causing condensation which softens the fruit so it’s best to remove this as soon as you can. Bananas also like to be stored as similar to their natural environment as possible and that means hanging them on a stand.
How do I keep cut fruit from turning brown?
Coat them with lemon juice or another acidic juice – orange and pineapple work well. It’s important to remember that not all brown fruits and vegetables are unsafe to eat, but they may not taste or feel as you like. If in doubt, don’t risk it.
How do I keep potatoes from turning green?
Keep them away from direct sunlight. Potatoes and other vegetables that grow underground last longer when you store them similar to their natural environment. That means a lack of light but good air circulation and high humidity.
It’s so important to eat lots of fruit and veg – and knowing how to prepare and store them correctly can help make it easier to do just that. With these tips, getting 5-a-day should be a walk in the park.
To keep your fruit and veg fresh, follow these key steps:
- Take them out of any plastic wrapping as soon as you get home.
- Store them in conditions that reflect how they’re grown.
- Check your food regularly and remove any parts that are over-ripe to avoid spoiling the rest of the bunch.