Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Keeping Fruit Fresh
Fruits and vegetables have distinct rules about freshness. I hope that using this guide, you can ensure that your fruit don't spoil and you don't waste money because of wasted food.
Fruits spoil quicker based on their high water content.
Melons have a really high water content. Of all melons, watermelon spoils the quickest. I've experienced watermelon spoiling within one day of opening it one summer. Cantelope and honeydew last a little longer but definitely do not have a long shelf life.
Another fruit that has a short shelf life because of its high water content is grapes. Grapes spoil quickly, but if you're like me and you only like grapes when they're hard, you'll want to finish them up even quicker. Strawberries last a bit longer than grapes do, but still should be finished up quickly.
Citrus fruits have a high water content but don't spoil so quickly. Acid works as a preservative so I assume that the citric acid in citrus fruits helps them last longer.
Citrus fruit can get soft and wilty looking after a bit of time (more than 2 weeks usually), but even once they start looking a bit funny they work fine for freshly squeezed juices. I assume that my readers know what is a citrus fruit and what is not, but even so I'll write the list:
Lemons, oranges, tangerines, tangelos, pomelos, ugly fruit/sweeties, grape fruit, clementines, kumquats. These all have a long shelf life.
The harder a fruit, the longer it lasts. Often you can buy unripe fruit and they will ripen in your refrigerator. The countdown to spoilage only starts once they are ripe.
Melons can be bought unripe. They will be hard and not smell like anything. When a melon smells like melon, it means it is ripe. If you want it to last longer, buy it before it has a strong melon smell.
Bananas can be bought green. Mangos can be bought hard. Plums, nectarines, peaches, persimmons and pears can all be bought hard.
Apples, in my experience, last the longest of all fruit. I usually buy a big bag of apple and don't even keep it in my refrigerator and it stays fresh over 2 weeks.
As I said in my vegetable post if a fruit is cut or opened, their shelf life decreases exponentially. Don't buy pre-cut fruit if you want your fruit to last a while and use up the fruit soon after you cut it.
When planning your menus, keep in mind which fruit last longest, which need to be finished quickly, to ensure that your food doesn't spoil before you ave a chance to eat it.
If you liked this post, you may like:
Keeping Vegetables Fresh
Extending Vegetable Shelf Life