How we store, handle and use our fresh fruit and vegetables has an impact on our environment. Correctly stored produce lasts longer, which is great for your budget, and means less waste. Also, fresher produce tastes better!
Save your paper bags and plastic bread bags to help store some of your fruit and vegetables. Cloth or mesh bags also work well for storing refrigerated produce.
Store these at room temperature in the fruit bowl
Fruit that you plan to eat within a few days like apples, pears and kiwifruit last well in a fruit bowl. To keep longer, store them in the fridge.
Bananas should be ripened at room temperature and eaten once ripe.
Fruit than needs to ripen like summerfruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots) should be stored at room temperature then refrigerated once ripe.
Tomatoes retain their flavour better at room temperature.
Fruit that produces ethylene like bananas, apples, pears, kiwifruit and summerfruit should be stored separately if you don’t want these to ripen in a hurry.
Store these in a cool, dark place (pantry)
Remove from bags and store potatoes, kūmara, onions and garlic in the pantry. Keep potatoes and onions apart.
Store these in the crisper drawer in the fridge
Vegetables including leafy greens, brassicas, carrots, parsnip should be stored in a bag in the crisper drawer in the fridge.
Asparagus – stand in a glass with a little water in it and loosely cover the tips
Fruit that you want to keep longer than a few days:
Berries – make sure you have ventilation holes or lift the container lid to allow air circulation
Keep herbs fresh with a damp paper towel around their stems.
Store mushrooms in a paper bag.
Don’t forget the freezer
For produce you can’t use while it’s at it’s best, try freezing it.
Root to stem cooking is about using the parts of fruit and vegetables that are often thrown away. Not only does this reduce food waste but we benefit from the nutrients in the skin and stems of fruit and vegetables.
Broccoli & cauliflower stems – turn them into rice using a food processor or slice them into match sticks to add to a stir fry.
Kūmara and potato peels – scrub the vegetables and leave the skins on for extra fibre or toss the skins with olive oil and roast in the oven (you can store the skins tossed in olive oil in the fridge for a day or two.)
Save the leafy tops of beetroot, carrots, celery and asparagus ends to make a stock or blend the leaves into sauces and pestos.
Pumpkin skin softens when cooked. Try roasting it with the skin on. Pumpkin seeds can be washed and roasted in the oven for a crunchy snack.
Overripe fruit can be stewed for a dessert or used in baking. It can also be made into jam using chia seeds to set it rather than sugar.
Kiwifruit can be eaten with the skin on. Try using the skin in a smoothie for added flavour and fibre
Remember to use lemon and orange peel – use the zest to flavour water, add to baking and salad dressings.