Tips to maintain fruit and veggie freshness and taste

Farmers markets are now open for the season, so to keep fresh produce at its peak follow these storage guidelines for vegetables and fruits.

Farmers markets are now open for the season so to keep fresh produce at its peak here are storage guidelines for vegetables and fruits recommended by Michigan State University Extension. Refrigeration of certain fruits and vegetables is not required until cut or prepared. Onions, garlic, tomatoes as well as white and sweet potatoes, when exposed to cold temperatures can develop unsavory textures and flavors. The University of California-Davis advises that it is best to let tomatoes sit on the counter at room temperature. When tomatoes are chilled, the texture can turn mealy as the membrane inside the fruit breaks down. Onions and garlic can lose crispness and become moldy when exposed to the refrigerator’s moisture. Also, if garlic is refrigerated it can discolor when used for canning. They can also leave their flavors on food stored near them. Potatoes are best stored separately in a cool, dark place in perforated baskets or bins to allow for good air circulation. When potatoes are exposed to refrigerator temperatures their starch content converts to sugar which leads to an unpleasant sweet taste and discoloration when they are cooked. It is also important to note that close storage of onions and potatoes is not a good idea, as this causes the production of gases, which accelerates the spoiling of both. Remember to keep all fresh produce away from direct sunlight. Cantaloupe, watermelon and muskmelon can sit on a counter out of direct sunlight until fully ripened, however, refrigerate all cut melons. Remember to wash well before cutting by utilizing a vegetable scrub brush to eliminate dirt or debris.

Best practice for storage of lettuce, greens, spinach and similar vegetables require immediate refrigeration. Do not wash fruits and vegetables until you are ready to prepare and eat them, because excess moisture can speed up the process of decay. Additional information about the storage, use and preservation of fruits and vegetable can be found on the MSU Extension’s Michigan Fresh website. This site contains various fact sheets and videos to help you and your family’s choices for the best use of the fruits and vegetables you are taking home from the market.

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