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Keep Your Peaches Upside-Down and 9 Other Tips for Storing Summer Produce

Keep Your Peaches Upside-Down and 9 Other Tips for Storing Summer Produce

Make the most out of summer fruits and vegetables

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Here's your guide for storing some of summer's most popular fruits and vegetables.

Has this ever happened to you? You stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market, only to find that a few days later your produce is mottled with bruises, brown spots, and wrinkly skin. The odds are good that this premature rotting has nothing to do with the quality of your produce — it is most likely the result of improper storage.

Click here for the Keep Your Peaches Upside-Down and 9 Other Tips for Storing Summer Produce (Slideshow)

There are a lot of ways that produce can be mishandled between the time it leaves the farmers market and the time that you pick it up to cook or eat. Everything from the way it's packed into a bag and transported home to the way that you place it in your fruit bowl or refrigerator can have an impact on its shelf life.

It would be crazy to memorize an extensive list of do's and don’ts (and even crazier to try and adhere to them every time you shop), but knowing a few tips and tricks for the season’s most popular fruits and vegetables can come in handy. That's why we've put together this list of things you may not know about storing your favorite summer produce.

There are two key secrets to keeping berries fresher longer. First, kill any bacteria that may be on their surfaces (and could contribute to spoilage) by washing the berries in a solution that is one part white vinegar and three parts water — just be sure to rinse them thoroughly after the vinegar bath so that you’re not left with any residual vinegar taste. Then, dry them as thoroughly as possible with a clean paper towel before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cherries


Temperature is key when it comes to fresh cherries. Get your fresh, unwashed cherries into cold storage as soon as possible. If you’re keeping them in the refrigerator, store them in a plastic bag. If you’re planning to freeze them, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them fully before storing them in a plastic bag in your freezer.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.


How to Freeze Peaches So You Can Enjoy a Fresh Taste of Summer All Year

By freezing peaches during peak season, you can get a delicious reminder of how wonderful peaches are any time of year.

Bright, sweet, and a little bit tart, peaches are the quintessential mid-summer sweet. In fact, outside of fresh peach season, it’s easy to forget just how wonderful perfectly ripe peaches taste. By keeping them on hand in the freezer, however, you get a delicious reminder any time of year. Freezing peaches is easy, and you can enjoy them in so many ways, whether on their own or baked into cobblers and crisps (any recipe that calls for frozen peaches will work).

Test Kitchen Tip: If you don’t have a lot of space in your freezer, canning peaches is a great alternative.


How to Store Peaches

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Summer time and the peaches are plentiful! When you have fresh produce, chances are you’ll want to store it safely until you’re ready to consume it. With peaches, there are a few different ways you can store them, depending on whether or not they are ripe and whether you’re looking to freeze them or simply keep them in the fridge for a few days. By learning how to properly clean, prepare, and store your peaches, you can give yourself a slightly bigger window in which you can enjoy them before they go bad.


The Best Way to Store Fruits and Veggies

Use this handy chart to help you know where and how to store your produce, what fruits and vegetables can be stored together, and which ones you should keep apart to keep them from spoiling.

Are you wasting food because it ripens-then rots-faster than you can eat it? (We&aposre sheepishly raising our hands along with you.) Storing food the right way can make all the difference. Ethylene, a natural gas that&aposs released from some fruits and vegetables, speeds up the ripening process. That can be an advantage-to ripen an avocado quickly, seal it in a paper bag-but too much ethylene can cause produce to spoil. And it&aposs not all about ethylene temperature plays a role, as does how and when you wash a fruit or vegetable, and how and where it&aposs stored. Use this handy chart and read on to help you know where (and how) to store your produce.

Fruits & Vegetables to Store at Room Temp

  • Bananas
  • Basil
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Grapefruit
  • Green beans
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Winter squash
  • Zucchini

Store These on Your Counter, Then Move to The Fridge When Ripe

  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums

Fruits & Vegetables to Store in the Fridge

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Cherries
  • Cilantro
  • Corn (whole ears in the husk)
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Grapes
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Should You Store Produce Together or Separately?

Determining whether to store your fruits and veggies in or out of the fridge is really only half the battle. Some fruits and veggies should be stored separately no matter where they land. Ethylene gas, a natural gas that some fruits emit, can speed the ripening process of some (but not other) fruits and vegetables. This can sometimes be a good thing. Want to ripen your avocado faster? Store it next to a ripe banana in a paper bag and let the ethylene from the banana do its magic.

But you don&apost always want your fruits and veggies ripening on fast-forward, because they may end up rotting before you can eat them. A good rule of thumb is to keep high-ethylene gas-emitting fruits apart from other produce. Apples, avocados, stone fruits, pears, bananas and tomatoes are a few of the top offenders, with delicate leafy greens being some of the most susceptible to ethylene gas.

Also, keep onions to themselves. Onions love to share their fragrance with their neighbors (especially after they&aposve been cut), so they should be stored separately and especially away from potatoes, which will wilt and sprout more quickly when onions are present.

How to Store Cut Fruits & Vegetables

Sliced fruits and vegetables are great to have on hand for snacking and to save space in the fridge. Most fruits will last about 5 days after being sliced (some vegetables a few days longer) as long as you follow a few rules: store them in an airtight container and always refrigerate cut produce. Fruits like apples, pears, bananas and avocado are not the best candidates for slicing ahead of time since they brown quickly. Instead, store these ripe fruits (with the exception of the bananas) whole in your crisper drawer. The crisper keeps the moisture in check which, in turn, adds longevity to your produce.

What to Wash and When

It&aposs always a good idea to wash all of your fruits and vegetables before you eat them, even ones you peel. Why? Bacteria that cause foodborne illness can cling to the surface of the fruit or vegetable. (Cantaloupes, in particular, have had problems with Salmonella.) Even if you&aposre not eating the skin or peel, bacteria may contaminate your cutting board and work their way into the flesh. The chances are pretty remote, but it&aposs better to be safe than sorry. On a less scary note, washing simply whisks away dirt, which is never fun to bite into. Most fruits and veggies benefit from a quick shower under cold running water, but there are a few tricks to washing that can keep some of the more delicate produce intact:

Leafy Greens: We&aposve found the best way to wash leafy greens is to separate the leaves from the head and soak them in a bath of cold water for about 5 minutes. Swirl the leaves gently with your hand to loosen the debris and then lift them out of the water and into a salad spinner and spin to dry. If you don&apost have a good salad spinner, it&aposs time to invest. Storing wet leaves can turn your greens into a mushy mess almost overnight.

Berries: Berries are delicate and they hate to be wet, so washing them can be tricky. We&aposve found the best way is to rinse them in a strainer, then spread them out on a paper towel-lined plate to dry before you stick them in the fridge. A microwave steamer (or any storage vessel that has a breathable rack at the bottom) is a great place to store rinsed berries. It keeps them from swimming in any water that may settle.

Herbs: Wash fresh herbs like you would salad greens in cool water and then spin them dry. With the exception of basil, fresh herbs like to be stored in the fridge with a damp (but not soaking wet) paper towel to keep them fresh. You can also store them like a little mini bouquet of flowers in your fridge by trimming off an inch or so of the stem and sticking them in a jar of water with a plastic bag loosely covering the bunch. You can use the same trick for asparagus too it helps keep the flower ends fresh. Ditto for basil, but keep you basil bouquet on your counter instead of in the fridge.

What&aposs the best time to wash your produce? Well, if you&aposre super-efficient and very good at drying, you can wash your produce as soon as you get it home, but that&aposs not practical for most people. Just before you plan to use it is the best time. If you&aposre planning for a party and don&apost want to be stuck washing while your guests mingle, it&aposs fine to wash ahead of time. Just remember, excess moisture is the enemy of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure your produce is dry before you store it.


The A to Z’s of Storing Produce for Longest Shelf Life

Apples – Store apples at room temperature for up to seven days, then in the refrigerator for another week. You can also store them in a cool, dark location for up to four months. Apples are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.

Asparagus – Wash and store in the refrigerator, standing upright in a glass of water with a damp paper towel draped over the tops.

Avocados – Store at room temperature until just ripe, then move to the refrigerator to stop the ripening process, store for up to 3 to 4 days. To quickly ripen avocados, place in brown paper bag with a banana.

Bananas – Store at room temperature bananas give off a lot of ethylene gas and can make all other produce around them ripen quickly. Though brown bananas don’t look very appetizing, they actually contain more antioxidants the riper they get.

Berries – Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days refrigeration will make them spoil faster. Wash berries just before eating.

Carrots – Store carrots in the refrigerator for up to three months wash just prior to eating.

Celery – Store in refrigerator wrapped in foil to prolong shelf life.

Citrus Fruit (Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Tangerines) – citrus fruits last a long time at room temperature and will tend to take on odors if stored in the fridge. Ensure plenty of ventilation around your citrus fruit as they can mold easily in close contact.

Cruciferous Vegetables (Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower) – store in the refrigerator. They are sensitive to ethylene, so store away from high ethylene-releasing produce for longest shelf life.

Corn – leave husks on and refrigerate for up to two days before eating

Cucumbers – Cucumbers do best stored at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator. They are also highly sensitive to ethylene and should be kept away from bananas, melons, and tomatoes.

Eggplant – Best stored at room temperature refrigerating eggplant can make it spoil quickly. It is also easily susceptible to ethylene gas and should be kept away from high ethylene producers.

Figs – Store your figs in the refrigerator and eat them within 1 or 2 days as they are very perishable. Figs are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.

Garlic – Store garlic in a cool, dry location. Use cloves within 10 days after the head has been broken open.

Ginger – To prolong shelf life, store ginger in the refrigerator, wrapped in a paper towel, and in a zippered bag with the air squeezed out.

Grapes – Refrigerate grapes wash just prior to eating.

Greens (Arugula, Chard, Collard, Lettuce, Kale, Spinach) – keep greens in refrigerator and wash just prior to using. Alternatively, wash, spin-dry, and wrap in paper towels, then store inside an open zippered bag to let them breathe.

Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Parsley) – Trim the ends and place like a bouquet in a jar of water on the counter. Storing them at room temperature will ensure they last a week or longer.

Kiwis – Ripen kiwis at room temperature then store in fridge to stop ripening.

Mangos – Ripen mangos at room temperature and eat once ripe. Move to the refrigerator to stop the ripening process, store for up to 3 to 4 days.

Melons (Cantaloupe, Crenshaw, Honeydew, Watermelon) – Store at room temperature until ripe. If you prefer your melon chilled, refrigerate no longer than one day to prevent pitting. Refrigerating melons can also cause their antioxidants to break down. Melons are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.

Mushrooms – Refrigerate store-bought mushrooms in their original box. Store wild mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator for a week or two.

Onions – Keep onions in a cool, dry location. Once cut, onions can be stored in a lidded container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Pears – Store at room temperature until just ripe, then move to the refrigerator to stop the ripening process. Store for up to five days.

Peas – Refrigerate in plastic bag and wash or shell just before eating. Peas have a short shelf life so eat soon after purchasing or picking.

Peppers – Refrigerate for 1 to 2 weeks. Keep them dry of moisture, which can cause them to deteriorate quickly. Alternatively, store in a paper bag in a cool, dry location.

Pineapple – Can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Store upside down for a day or two to allow the sugar stored in the base of the pineapple to spread through the whole fruit before cutting.

Potatoes – Store potatoes in a cool dry place. Refrigeration will break down the starch into sugar and make them spoil quickly.

Stone Fruits (Apricots, Cherries, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Pluots) – All stone fruits do best stored at room temperature, then eaten as soon as they are ripe. Apricots are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.

Squash – Store winter squash in a cool, dry location for a month or more.

Sweet Potatoes – Store in a cool, dark location for up to one month.

Tomatoes – Store unwashed at room temperature and eat when ripe. Storing tomatoes in the refrigerator will make them mealy and spoil quickly. Tomatoes are a high ethylene-producing fruit and should be kept away from other fruits and veggies.

Zucchini – Store zucchini and other summer squash in a tightly wrapped plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.

May these produce storage tips help to save the 14 percent of produce that gets tossed each year.

Ready to take your well-being into your own hands? Download the Chopra App for personalized well-being guidance you can access anywhere.


As produce ripens, it emits small amounts of the ripening hormone ethylene. If ethylene is allowed to build up (in the closed environment of a plastic bag, for example, or a crisper), the gas will activate enzymes that break down and soften the cell walls of produce, speeding moisture loss and spoilage.

With the exception of berries (which we like to wash immediately in a vinegar solution see below), it&rsquos best to wash produce just before you use it. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and bacteria, which in turn causes spoilage. If you do wash produce ahead of time, make sure to dry it thoroughly before storing it.


Peanut Butter

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Your best bet is to store that jar of peanut butter upside down, especially if it's natural peanut butter. Since natural peanut butter consists of just peanuts and sometimes a sprinkle of salt rather than a slew of added hydrogenated oils, you'll notice a thick pool of oil floating at the top. This oil separation is totally natural, but you're just going to have to do a lot of stirring when it comes time for a scoop. The solution? Popping the jar in your pantry upside down will help evenly distribute the plant oils.

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If you're thinking of putting those bottles of red wine in a rack on top of the fridge, just don't. See, you can end up getting more heat on top of the fridge, which is bad for the wine. Instead, you're going to want to be sure to keep that bottle in a cool, dark place around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A low spot in your pantry would work great! And while you're at it, here are 15 Clever Ways to Use Leftover Red Wine.


How to Store Onions

Keep them fresh for over a month with these simple storage tips.

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Photo by: Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images

Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images

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By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen

Onions are a key ingredient in many recipes, so it makes sense to keep some on hand at all times. But though they last for a long while, they don't store forever — have you ever reached into the bag and noticed that a few of your onions have gotten soft and moldy or have started to sprout? With a few simple storage solutions, you can extend the life of those beloved bulbs for up to 2 months.

The Right Conditions

Whether you have red onions, Vidalia onions, Spanish onions or even shallots, they're best stored whole. Their papery exterior serves as natural protection from outside elements. Whole onions should be stored at room temperature in a well-ventilated container, such as a wire basket, perforated plastic sack or open paper bag. Any moisture that gets trapped around the onions will promote early spoilage, so good air circulation is key, as is removing thm from plastic produce bags, if you use those to gather them at the store. Place the container in a dry, dark spot, like in the back of your pantry or inside a cabinet. Sunlight can affect temperature and humidity, causing onions to go bad. Properly stored whole onions will stay fresh for 6 to 8 weeks.

If you’ve already peeled an onion or have leftover pieces you'd like to save, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Keeping peeled onions tightly sealed will not only keep them fresher, it will also prevent other refrigerated items from absorbing any odors from this pungent ingredient.

How to Use Up Onions

Onions can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. When serving them raw, try soaking diced or sliced onions in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes, then drain well and pat dry with paper towels. The cold water will mellow that strong, raw-onion flavor.

If you have an abundance of onions on hand, try caramelizing them! When cooked very slowly over low heat, onions become amazingly tender and sweet, and will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 months. Used caramelized onions as the base of a soup, piled onto a grilled cheese, or stirred into a creamy dip, such as this Caramelized Onion Dip.


Caring for Your Peach Tree

How should you care for your peach tree as it grows throughout its lifetime? Read on to find out.

Watering

Water frequently and evenly, especially while your tree is still young. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to disease. Plan to water every 10 to 14 days during warm, dry periods.

Fertilizing

Feed an established tree with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season. Give a young tree 3/4 of a pound of nitrogen once in the spring and again in the summer. After the third year, give trees 1 pound of nitrogen each year. Avoid fertilizing when fruits are growing or a month before the first frost.

Pruning

It’s essential to prune peach trees each year to prevent overgrowth and to encourage fruiting and yield. It’s fine to prune your peach tree anytime, but if you have a lot to pick off, save that job until the fall. Always get rid of broken and dead branches first and then remove suckers at the base of the tree.

Get rid of weak branches incapable of holding heavy fruit set, too. Prune off branches that are too close together to promote air circulation and prevent knicks that may leave room for disease and pest infiltration.

Proper regular pruning will promote healthy growth, fruit set, and will make it easier to maintain your tree’s health from year to year. When fruit sets, it’s also essential to thin fruits early in the season. Removing some of the young peaches will allow other fruit to grow bigger.


The Best Way to Store Strawberries

Keep those spring favorites from getting squishy and spoiled.

Related To:

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Fresh organic garden strawberries in ceramic plate on white marble table. Copy space.

Photo by: Natasha Breen / Getty Images

Natasha Breen / Getty Images

Get a Premium Subscription to the Food Network Kitchen App

Download Food Network Kitchen to sign up and get access to live and on-demand cooking classes, in-app grocery ordering, meal planning, an organized place to save all your recipes and much more.

By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen

Those first fresh, vibrant strawberries of the season are like little edible gems telling us that winter is over. Though hardier than some other berries, soft and sweet strawberries do require some special care and safe keeping to help them last.

If you’re planning to eat your strawberries right away, storing strawberries at room temperature on your kitchen counter is the best option — they’ll lose a bit of luster and flavor in the fridge. However, if you want to prolong their lifespan for use in baked goods and other recipes, the refrigerator will become your best bet. Here are some tips for storing strawberries in your refrigerator to keep them fresh throughout the season. When stored properly, strawberries will stay firm and fresh for about a week.

Here are a few important tips for how to store strawberries in the refrigerator:

Don’t Pre-Wash Your Strawberries

Strawberries will stay their freshest when dry and cold, and any added moisture will soften the strawberries and encourage mold growth. So instead of washing all of your berries right when you get home from the store, wash them as you plan to eat or prepare them.

Leave the Stems on Your Strawberries

Keep those little, frilly green stems on your fresh strawberries when storing in the refrigerator. Having the stems intact will protect the interior of your berries and prolong their shelf life.

Keep Them in a Single Layer

Your strawberries will stay best when not crushed by layers of berries on top of them.

How to Store Strawberries in the Refrigerator

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to keep strawberries very dry and cold. To do this, line a plate, baking sheet or shallow glass bowl with a couple paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Place your unwashed strawberries on top in a single layer, then cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, ideally within seven days.

If you notice one of the strawberries going bad or turning moldy, immediately remove it and discard. Mold spreads easily and quickly, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on your strawberries for any spoilage. You don’t want one bad berry to ruin the whole bunch!

How to Freeze Strawberries

If you’re planning to keep your strawberries for a longer period of time, your best bet is to freeze them. Remove the stems, then quarter or thinly slice the berries. Place the strawberries on a parchment paper-lined plate or baking sheet, then freeze until solid, at least 30 minutes. Transfer to a resealable freezer bag, and store for up to 3 months. This method will allow you to easily thaw and snack on your in-season strawberries, or simply throw frozen berries into smoothies and frozen beverages.


Watch the video: Pineapple Upside Down Cake Simple and Easy (December 2021).