Australia’s food waste totals approximately $7.8 billion each year with research indicating that up to 40% of kerbside garbage collections consist of food. Much of this food waste is avoidable, and with the rising cost of living, it makes financial sense to store your fruit and vegetables so that they stay fresher for longer.
Know Where to Store Your Produce
There are different ways to store different types of fruit and veggies. Knowing the best way to store your produce will impact upon how long and how well it will keep. Produce is generally best stored unwashed in perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawers of your fridge. Perforation allows for air flow which helps maintain freshness. However, to keep okra and mushrooms fresh, always store in a paper bag when refrigerating. When storing berries in the fridge, they are best kept unwashed, in a single layer to maintain freshness. Keep fruits and vegetables in separate refrigerator drawers as the ethylene produced by certain produce makes it spoil faster. High ethylene-producing fruits include apples, stone fruit, rockmelon, figs and honeydew melon. Bananas, potatoes, pumpkins and tropical fruits such as melons and pineapples should be stored in a dry location at room temperature away from sunlight. By storing these items in the fridge they will last longer, but ensure they are kept away from other produce as these ethylene producers will cause nearby fruit to spoil. Apples, bananas and tomatoes are ideally kept on your countertop and do not need to be covered. These should be consumed within seven days, so only purchase the amount needed to ensure the produce you are eating is fresh. Avocados and stone fruits such as peaches and plums should be ripened on the countertop before storing in the fridge.
Learn spoilage rate of the fruits and vegetables that you regularly purchase. By understanding the shelf-life of your fruit and vegetables, you can plan ahead and anticipate how much you may consume before you next go shopping, thereby minimising wastage.
Plan Your Weekly Meals
Before you go fruit and veggie shopping, decide what you will intend to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the coming week. Planning you menu will give you some idea of how much of each item you will be needing, which means you will have the fresh produce you want when you need it while reducing wastage and in turn, saving you money.
Buy Local, Buy Quality
By choosing locally grown produce, you can ensure that you are purchasing the freshest product available, straight from the grower to you. When selecting your produce look for signs of freshness, such as a rich colour and aroma and always avoid items with bruising, soft spots and mould as fruits and vegetables with any of these characteristics will spoil quicker.