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Storing seasonal fruit and vegetables: 5 mistakes we make often
Storing seasonal fruit and vegetables: 5 mistakes we make often

Who hasn't happened to open the refrigerator and find himself overwhelmed by a whiff not exactly of violet that hit him in the face?

And after that, things got even worse: from the fruit and vegetable compartment we looked at us maliciously in order at the sprouted garlic cloves and the unmade salad. Very sad spectacle as well as meaningless waste.

Moreover, with the first heat, things get even worse, refrigerator and pantry run the risk of walking alone carried by hordes of germs, bacteria and various molds.

How to do it then? Giving up our healthy vegetables just because we aren't capable of keep them at their best nor to ensure them a life free from mold and heat, and above all a little longer?

But no, some attention will be enough, some malice, some error to correct to preserve and enjoy our vegetables even in the scorching heat of summer.



Let's consider the refrigerator, this unknown: if the average temperature inside is 4 ° C. (I underline, MEDIA), we consider that not all areas of the fridge are the same. There are considerable variations in temperature: they range from 8/10 ° C. in the vegetable section (the closed one, at the bottom) at 2 ° C. about the colder areas.

Knowing the temperatures of the various shelves of the fridge allows better preservation of food: in fact, if in the coldest areas we arrange highly perishable ones such as meat, it is good to keep delicate food in the less cold areas.

Take fruit and vegetables: it is true that in theory they have a dedicated compartment, but it is often small, not enough. Where then, in our fridge, do we put all the good things we have just bought? In a cool area but not too cool. And what is this area?

The physics rule learned in middle school helps us: the hot air goes up, remember? The same happens in the fridge too.

Then, having exhausted the capacity of the special compartment, we arrange the vegetables starting from the top, the least cold area, trying not to get to the bottom compartment, the one just above the vegetable compartment, the coldest. Or at least, to get there only as a last resort: always better than thirty degrees in the shade.



Woe to not knowing him. Woe to mistake it for a chemical additive for "fine" wines or for a disinfectant for hospitals.

Ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone produced by plants responsible for the maturation of all plants. Those interested in learning more can do it on Dario Bressanini's website. In any case, two basic trifles about ethylene must be known for the sake of your vegetables.

All vegetables produce ethylene. In fact, all vegetables ripen. But they don't produce any in the same way. Here lies the importance of knowing Mr. Ethylene a little better.

In fact, vegetables such as apples or bananas that emit a lot of them (we will call them "climacteric") ripen earlier and those placed nearby ripen faster.

On the other hand, vegetables that lack ethylene ("non-climacteric"), such as strawberries, citrus fruits and berries, certainly benefit from the proximity to their prodigal brothers, the climacteric, because they make them mature more quickly.

This explains why our grandmothers often put them next to apples in order to ripen fruit that they just didn't want to know: apples produce a lot of ethylene and spread it in the environment abundantly, just like bananas.

So, be careful: if you already have almost ripe fruit, plus the outside temperature is thirty degrees in the shade, putting bananas and apples together, perhaps outside the fridge, is not the best idea. If, on the other hand, you have unripe oranges, leaving them alone with each other while beautiful apples languish in the other room is another mistake.

In practice, once you understand the reasoning of ethylene and climacteric fruits, no one stops you anymore: you can play your cards to make it ripen or, on the contrary, not to facilitate the ripening of everything that comes under fire. Even if only of vegetable origin.

For greater clarity, here is an incomplete list of climacteric and non-climacteric plants.

Climaterics: apple, apricot, persimmon, avocado, banana, fig, kiwi, mango, nectarine, papaya, peach, pear, plum, watermelon, melon, tomato, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, cauliflower.

As these vegetables ripen quickly, it would be advisable to keep them in the refrigerator, where the low temperature slows down their metabolism and "breathing".

Not climacteric (mainly grapes, citrus fruits and berries): blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, cucumbers, grapes, grapefruits, lemons, limes, olives, oranges, peppers, pineapple, eggplant, pumpkin, pomegranate, potatoes.


Tomatoes for the tomato soup
Tomatoes for the tomato soup

I know you all do. I do it too. Yet for tomatoes, a separate discussion applies: the low temperature of the fridge breaks the external membranes, interrupting the ripening process at the expense (also) of consistency.

Furthermore, the cold reduces some chemicals that give tomatoes their typical flavor. You know the tomatoes from the supermarket? That's why they don't know anything.

Even if it's hot, tomatoes can last for about four or five days outside the fridge. And now go, run and take the tomatoes out of the fridge, and never put them there again.


French fries
French fries

Well yes, I confess it. I also put the potatoes in the fridge, as much as in the vegetable compartment. But you, don't do it. In fact, with the cold, potato starch quickly turns into sugar and accelerates the sprouting process by promoting the formation of solanine, a toxic substance (you all know, right, potatoes when they turn green? effect of solanine).

Moreover, giving the potatoes an unpleasant taste and causing excessive browning once fried with greater production of acrylamide, a potentially harmful substance. And that's not good, not at all.

Instead, it is okay to store the potatoes in a cool and possibly dark place as even the light increases the amount of solanine. And you don't want to get stomach pains, do you?

So, go, take out the potatoes you have in the fridge and put them in a cool, dry and dark place for a couple of weeks: magically, the sugar re-turns into starch allowing you to enjoy them quietly.



But then say it! Put the basil, garlic and onion in the fridge as well, but what is a refugium peccatorum?

Garlic and onions do not go because the humidity makes them sprout and the aromatic herbs because they collapse due to oxidation. Instead, put the first two vegetables in a net by stacking them one on top of the other (yes, like garlic: this also applies to onions). Retina that could be an old pantyhose. Obviously clean: the combination of garlic, onion and unclean tights could be lethal.

And the aromatic herbs? Those look good in a jar filled with water as if they were flowers. The more industrious, on the other hand, can chop them, mix them, add oil and freeze them in the container of ice cubes: they will thus have a supply of beautiful and ready-to-use flavor, only to be defrosted.

And now that we're done with the mistakes, here are two helpful tips now as we head into the early heat.



Delicate beyond measure for them, mold is just around the corner. It is avoided by washing them with a solution consisting of ten parts of water and one of apple cider vinegar, taking care to dry them before placing them in the refrigerator. I've never done it, just to say.



Do you want to give it some strength? Leave it under the jet of fresh water for a few minutes, don't be like me throwing everything in the dustbin.


Man does not live on the fridge alone but on everything that comes out of the freezer door: if the fruit suffers too much from the very low temperatures, you can instead freeze the vegetables after having preferably cut them into squares and perhaps - unnecessary step - blanching them for a few minute.

Then put in the special freezer bags it represents your very personal emergency soup.

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