a capricorn’s guide to storing food

Posted on May 29th, 2012

This is a really daggy post, but helpful. Stay with me. I’ve also shared some clever food storage ideas here, and how to freeze things here.

image via chucksmiscellany.blogspot.com.au

Apples

Store on the counter. Move any uneaten apples to the refrigerator after seven days. In the fridge or out, don’t store near most other uncovered fruits or vegetables — the ethylene gases produced by apples can ruin them (making carrots bitter, for example). The exception: if you want to ripen plums, pears and other fruits quickly, put an apple nearby for a day or so.

Asparagus

Store upright in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with either an inch of water or with a damp towel wrapped around the base, just like you would have flowers in a vase. They’ll last three to four days that way.

Avocados

Ripen on the counter. Can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days once ripe. A clever trick: ripen a hard avocado by sticking it in a paper bag with a banana.

Berries

Unwashed and in their original container. Blueberries and strawberries should keep for five to seven days; more fragile raspberries and blackberries up to two days.

Celery

Keep in the front of the refrigerator, where it’s less apt to freeze.

Garlic

Store in the pantry, or any similar location away from heat and light. It’ll last up to four months.

Herbs

Keep keep them in air-tight containers with a damp paper towel on the top and bottom.

Leafy greens

Refrigerate unwashed. Full heads will last five to seven days that way, instead of three to four days for a thoroughly drained one. Avoid storing in the same drawer as apples, pears or bananas, which release ethylene gases that act as a natural ripening agent.

Mushrooms

Take out of the package and store in a paper bag in the refrigerator, or place on a tray and cover with a wet paper towel. They’ll last two to three days.

Peaches

Ripen on the counter in a paper bag punched with holes, away from sunlight. Keep peaches (as well as plums and nectarines) on the counter until ripe, and then refrigerate. They’ll last another three to four days.

Tomatoes

Spread them out on the counter out of direct sunlight for even ripening. After ripening, store stem side down in the refrigerator and they’ll last two to three days.

Tropical fruit

Mangoes, papayas, pineapples and kiwifruit should be ripened on the counter.

Watermelon

Kept at room temperature on the counter, it’ll last up to two weeks.

Any I’ve forgotten? Anything special you do? 

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  • http://www.livehealthysimply.com Jessica Nazarali (@JessicaNazarali)

    I keep onions in the fridge. I’ve been told this makes them last longer? Not sure if this is fact or fiction but I keep doing it anyway!

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  • http://life-maximized.com Ashna S

    I keep onions in the fridge too! I think it makes them less watery which makes my eyes water less when I’m cutting them – though it may just all be in my mind!

    Unfortunately I can’t follow a lot of these tips: I’ve become an avid juicer, and in order to extract the most juice you want your fruits/veggies to be chilled, so I store most things in the fridge, including apples. But I do use things up pretty fast… Btw, I’ve recently discovered your blog through problogger and I love it! :)

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  • Sarah

    oh I always kept mushrooms out of the fridge, I shall try in.

    Sarah, I bought your e-book the other day, I had to wait because uni has left me dead poor. It was worth buying solely for the sugar-free nutella! I miss nutella a lot and while this doesn’t taste like nutella, it does taste like ferrero rochers and is totally amazing. I’m currently eating gluten for 6 weeks for my celiac biopsy and I have been having it on toast.

    One question: Where to buy vanilla powder? I have tried my local health food shop and the supermarket but all I could find was vanillin sugar or vanilla pods. I used extract for the recipe but would like to try powder to avoid that slight alcohol taste. I was going to try Thomas Dux next…

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    seeker Reply:

    hi sarah,

    i dont know where to get vanilla powder, but i know lee at superchargedfood.com sells vanilla extract that’s alcohol free, so that might help you?

    sweet regards,

    :)

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    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    Lee’s stuff is great. Ovvio in Sydney makes a great powder.

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    Lauren Reply:

    Sarah says in her book that you can get vanilla powder in some health food stores.

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    Kristy Reply:

    Rather than buying vanilla powder, make your own by by using a fine grater (Microplane) and grating a whole or part of a vanilla pod (seeds and all). The aroma is divine, can’t get any fresher or purer than that.

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    Sarah Reply:

    thanks for the advice. grating a vanilla pod is a good idea, I was wondering if it would work. Alcohol free extract would be good too, I’ll have a look

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    amy Reply:

    I got my vanilla powder from here http://sunshinevanilla.com.au/shop! SO yummy

    Deanne Reply:

    I have made my own by drying the pods for about 1/2 in an oven at 120C and then putting through a coffee or spice mill- I picked mine up for $20 at a cheapy shop.
    You can make a vanilla essence/extract by boiling your cut vanilla pods in a little water until you get a thick syrup, you can add a dash of rice malt syrup for a little sweetness.

  • Mia Bluegirl

    Why would you put anything wet on mushrooms? They bruise and fall apart, you arent technically even meant to wash them. I’ve always got best results from keeping them as dry and cold as possible.

    Other than that, cute list. :)

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    Lauren Reply:

    but with fridges now being frost free it means they suck the moisture out of every thing, so keeping the mushrooms damp will stop them from shriveling and drying out.

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    Sarah Wilson Reply:

    correct lauren.

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  • http://www.reikalein.com Christine

    I find that if I only want to eat half an avocado, it’s best to keep the other half stored in the fridge with the stone inside. It’ll keep it from going brown. I think that’s why you’re meant to pop the stone in guacamole.

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  • http://Www.bodybusiness.com.au Christine

    Great tips! So that’s why my celery keeps freezing! Yes to the stone in avocadoes- works well.

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  • Ms Jane

    Sarah I think you rock. I love this post! I did notice that your site is sponsored by Loving Earth this week. I dig all their coconut stuff, cacao powder etc but there chocolate bars are full of agave!! Fructose. Yuck! Ask them to use rice syrup or stevia! Please xxx

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I have …suggested….meantime we just make our own with their great cacao powder!

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  • Steve

    Onions will last an incredibly long time outside of the fridge. I don’t think it is necessary to refrigerate them.

    It’s true that colder onion will be less likely to create the eye stinging vapour. When I used to work at a pizza restaurant we used to stick the onions in the freezer an hour prior to cutting. It worked very successfully for the huge quantities we needed to slice :)

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  • Sarah

    I leave my celery in a (Big) Jar of water on the bench, they’ve lasted about 2 weeks there now! and they’re really juicy…

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  • http://www.bayonnestainless.com/ DanielSmith

    A great piece of information. Very informative. Thanks for sharing

    [Reply]

  • http://arthousehomelife alison

    I’m so disappointed with this post. When you entitled it ‘A Capricorn’s Guide to Food Storage’ I thought it would be about Tupperware.

    I stuck with it though, all the way up to Berries. I’m a Piscean so you sort of lost me after that.

    I will bookmark it though so when I wonder why my Chinese garlic from Coles doesn’t see out the week, I will know where to go…

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  • http://arthousehomelife alison

    I didn’t add a :) or ;) or a lol last night because- well, the Piscean thing. But I was kidding. I hope you knew that. I’m going to move my veges around this morning!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I wasn’t sure if you were kidding… were you really disappointed it wasn’t about Tupperware!??

    [Reply]

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  • jayelle

    A few great tips from my Nanna are to:
    -wrap celery in alfoil to keep it crisp and
    -wrap lettuce in paper towel inside plastic bag to stop it going soggy.
    Both seem to work well. I also heard somewhere to:
    -wrap my bananas in newspaper in the fridge to stop their skin going brown and
    -cover open avacado with damp paper towel, I also leave in seed.
    Thanks for the tip about the ripened apples, never knew they could ruin other fruits and veggies.

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