These Are the Fresh Foods That You Should Never Store Next to Each Other
A healthy portion of the American income goes towards purchasing groceries every week. In fact, the weekly average is $151. Yet one in every 10 Americans admits to spending $300 every single week at the grocery store. That being said, letting groceries spoil in the refrigerator seems absolutely ludicrous. The problem is, no matter how efficient and mindful consumers may be, softened or spoil fresh produce seems inevitable.
Believe it or not, keeping your food fresh only takes a little tweaking of your normal routines. Plus, your weekly trip to the grocery store will not be a total waste. These are the fresh foods that you should never store next to each other.
1. Root veggies deserve their own cool, dark space
Encountering a root cellar these days is a rarity, which means finding an exclusive root veggie storage zone somewhere in your kitchen is in order. The ideal environment to keep your root vegetables as fresh as possible is a 32 to 40 degree Fahrenheit, 95 percent humid dark space. Although your refrigerator may seem to lend itself to the job, beware. Often, root vegetables like beets end up softening and shriveling inside the refrigerator. Try placing them inside a paper bag in the coolest area of your kitchen or pantry.
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2. Treat your herbs like refrigerator flowers
There is nothing more frustrating (when it comes to the likes of fresh produce) than watching your freshly-purchased herbs shrivel up before you get around to using them. Luckily, there’s a workaround for this. Once you get home from the grocery store, snip the bottom of the stems, dry the leaves, place the fresh herbs inside a water-filled mason jar, and cover the leaves with a small Ziploc-type bag. Place the jar in the refrigerator, and they’ll stay fresh for nearly two weeks.
Next: One herb that prefers to stay outside of the refrigerator.
3. Basil prefers warmer temperatures
While basil wants its very own water-filled mason jar, the refrigerator is not where it thrives. Follow the same steps for preserving the life of your herbs (snip the bottom, dry the leaves, place in a jar), but then find a safe place somewhere in your kitchen to put it. The leaves of fresh basil find the cold temperatures of the refrigerator to be quite off-putting and damaging.
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4. Your berries just want a bath
Finding fresh berries at a reasonable price at your local grocery store is a feat in itself, but keeping them from falling victim to a mold infestation is another story altogether. Luckily, all you berry-lovers need to do is balance the pH of the berries by washing them in a water-vinegar solution. Eight cups of water to one cup of white vinegar is the key. Allow the berries to soak in the solution, gently moving them around. Avoid being too abrasive. Once the berries have thoroughly soaked, rinse with clean water, and dry with a towel. The end result will be berries that actually last long enough to eat.
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5. Keep those onions and potatoes away from one another
Despite popular belief, onions and potatoes are two root vegetables that prefer to keep to themselves. It’s the onions causing all the trouble in this dynamic duo, as they cause the potatoes to ripen and spoil faster. Instead, keep your onions and potatoes from mingling, while storing them in the same environment. Each of the root vegetables prefers a dark, cool, and airy space — like a wicker basket in your pantry. If all else fails, they also thrive in a paper bag.
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6. Your avocados will ripen faster next to bananas
It’s normal to feel apprehensive about buying rock-hard avocados. But don’t be dismayed. If you signed up to make guacamole for Taco Tuesday, you can ripen your avocados faster if you store them next to the bananas. It’s the ethylene gas emitted by the bananas that assist under-ripened avocoados in finding their fully-ripened potential (just a little faster).
Next: But what about the bananas?
7. Avoid brown bananas by letting them stand alone
Banana hangers are cool and all, but they don’t serve a major purpose when it comes to preserving the life of your bananas. Research has shown that separating individual bananas from the bunch allows the staple fruit to ripen more slowly. So, if you’re put off by spotted bananas, this trick is for you.
Next: These blushing beauties need the royal treatment.
8. Tomatoes are not friends with the fridge
Because of the delicate beauties that tomatoes are, storing them properly is crucial to their longevity. For starters, do not even consider putting your tomatoes in the refrigerator. They will shrivel, and you will be sad. While room temperature is best, how you position them is also pivotal to preservation as well. Instead of piling your tomatoes into a basket on your kitchen counter, make sure you place them on a flat surface with the stem-side up. Avoid stacking at all cost.
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9. Your cucumbers should always fly solo
Cucumbers are highly susceptible to ethylene gases, and because of that, they need to fly solo in your refrigerator. You’ve probably noticed how quickly your crispy cucumbers become limp and almost mushy inside the vegetable drawer. Luckily, there are a couple methods to keeping the spoiling madness under wraps, and it involves, well, wrapping them. Whether you opt for wrapping your cucumbers in a paper towel or plastic wrap, you’ll find they will remain crispier for far longer than just a few days.
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10. Keep your squash and pumpkins away from ripening fruit
When properly stored, squashes and pumpkins have a shelf-life of three to six months (and sometimes even longer). It’s when squash and pumpkins are stored near ripening fruit that the shelf-life of these vegetables takes a nosedive. The primary culprits assisting in the spoiling of your beloved pumpkins and squashes are apples and pears. The proper storage method is simple: keep them away from the refrigerator and all ripening fruits. Furthermore, storing them in a 50 to 55 degree Fahrenheit area of your home will provide the best environment for the long-lasting produce.
Next: This summertime favorite shouldn’t stay in the fridge very long.
11. Corn on the cob shouldn’t be stored for too long
Corn, in all of its summertime glory, should not get too comfortable in your refrigerator. The storage of corn on the cob is best kept inside the husk, as it prevents the corn from drying out. But overall, its wise to buy corn with the intention of eating it quickly. For best storage results, keep the ears towards the front of the refrigerator, where the temperatures are less chilly.
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12. Apples and oranges do not belong in the same drawer
That ethylene gas continuing to pop up in conversation is the reason apples and oranges are not able to successfully coexist. It’s those gases that are causing your fruits to deteriorate at a much higher speed. So, store your apples away from your oranges — whether they are in the refrigerator or in a fruit bowl. As for the oranges, do not ever store them in a plastic bag, as the bag will create a moldy situation that you’d prefer to avoid.
Next: The key to crunchy bliss
13. The key to crunchy celery
Droopy celery is the saddest-looking vegetable to grace the crisper drawer, but luckily there is an easy fix. It seems uncanny that the plastic bag your celery was sold in is actually the key to its demise. To prevent your precious celery from asphyxiating on its own ethylene gases, remove the entire head from the plastic bag and tightly wrap it in aluminum foil. This method allows the gases to escape and the crisp to stay put. Another sneaky method to maintaining the freshness of celery sticks is to place them in water. The healthy snack with stay fresh for days.
Next: If you’re buying grapes, treat ’em right.
14. Grapes do not belong in plastic
It’s frustrating enough that nearly all produce is sold in some sort of plastic vessel, but nevertheless, we cart home our fruit in layers of the pollutant. Once you have made it to your kitchen with your grapes, remove them from the plastic but do not wash them. Instead, place the grapes in an open bowl or paper bag. Washing the grapes can make them prematurely spoil, so save it for just before eating.
Next: The general rule of thumb
15. The general rule of thumb
There is a lot to take in when it comes to the proper storage of your fresh produce. To streamline the approach, keep your vegetables and fruit separate from one another, and buy what you plan to quickly eat. Furthermore, do not be afraid to store some produce outside of the refrigerator, like root vegetables.