Refrigeration Tips for Storing Fresh Vegetables and Fruit

Here are some quick and useful refrigeration tips that will help you preserve flavour and crispness when storing fresh vegetables and fruit.

Ripen before refrigeration

Some fruits need to ripen before refrigeration in order for their full flavour to develop. These are avocadoes, mangoes, pawpaw, pears, plums and tomatoes. Ripen out of direct sunlight, at room temperature, and then refrigerate. Peaches and rockmelons ripen in the fridge but more slowly than at room temperature.

Do not refrigerate

Don’t refrigerate bananas, garlic, potatoes, onions, whole pumpkins or pineapples.

Prevent dehydration

Fridges have relatively low humidity which can quickly dry out fruits and vegetables, but loose wrapping in plastic bags, containers or film slows dehydration.

Temperature variation in your refrigerator

The temperature in your fridge varies – the bottom, where the crisper is, is the warmest position. In addition to your actual thermostat setting, the number of times your fridge door is opened and how fully it is stacked affect temperature. Some produce is best stored in the crisper, and some produce keeps better in the higher, cooler parts of your fridge.

Store in crisper

These fruits and vegetables require cold temperatures - store in the crisper section of your refrigerator:

• avocado
• beans
• capsicum
• chokos
• cucumber
• custard apples
• eggplant
• mangoes
• passionfruit
• persimmons
• pawpaw
• squash
• tomatoes
• zucchini

Store in higher parts of the fridge

These fruits and vegetables prefer even colder temperatures - so store in the higher parts of your fridge:

• apples
• apricots
• beetroot (remove tops)
• broccoli
• brussel sprouts
• cabbage
• carrots (remove tops)
• celery
• cherries
• cauliflower
• grapes
• lettuce
• mushrooms
• parsnips
• peaches
• pears
• plums
• radish (remove tops)
• rhubarb
• silverbeet
• sweet corn
• turnips


References

Debney, H.G. (1980). Handling and Storage Practices for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables: Product Manual. South Yarra, Vic.:Australian United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association.

Tomkins, B. (1995). Agriculture Notes: Storage Life of Vegetables [online]. Knoxfield: Victorian Department of Primary Industries.

Woolworths Ltd (1993). Fresh Food Cooking: The Healthy Way with Vegetables and Fruit. Epping, N.S.W. : R & R Publishing.

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