Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Small Fruits & Berries

Spoiled Rotten?

by Susan Littlefield


All those fruits and vegetables won't do our bodies any good if they spoil before we actually eat them. While produce picked fresh from the garden is best in taste and nutrients, we can't always eat that ″close to the soil.″ Whether homegrown or purchased at the market, we often need to store veggies and fruits before eating.

But according to Vegetarian Times, Americans end up tossing about a quarter of the produce they buy, wasting not only money but nutrients in their diets. That's why Vegetarian Times has compiled a handy on-line guide that tells the best ways to store fruits and vegetables to maintain their good eating quality. Did you know apples release ethylene, a gas that speeds ripening? If you put your spinach or kale in the same refrigerator bin with apples, the greens will go limp and yellow in just a few days.

And while refrigeration helps extend the life of much produce, sealing it in airtight bags suffocates it and promotes decay, according to Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University.

For once-a-week, weekend shoppers, there is even a helpful listing of what to eat first to make it to the next market day without waste. For example, on Sunday through Tuesday, eat your bananas, broccoli, and strawberries; Wednesday through Friday serve up eggplant, grapes, and pineapples; and save keepers like bell peppers, cauliflower and oranges until the following weekend.

To read more about how to store fruits and vegetables, go to Vegetarian Times.

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