How To Store Fresh Produce To Reduce Food Waste

How To Store Fresh Produce To Reduce Food Waste

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When you concentrate on local weather change, meals waste won’t be the primary difficulty that involves thoughts. But over two-thirds of family meals is misplaced or wasted — a staggering quantity — and roughly 8% of global human-caused greenhouse gas emissions consequence from meals loss and waste. Those emissions enter the ambiance, inflicting global temperatures to rise and drive climatic adjustments throughout the globe equivalent to extra frequent heat waves, stronger hurricanes, and rising sea levels.

Properly storing recent produce helps reduce the quantity of meals we throw away whereas maximizing the time we’ve to take pleasure in it. It may prevent cash and scale back your carbon footprint. Reducing food waste has been recognized as one of many prime methods to fight climate change. Here are a couple of suggestions and methods that will help you retailer your fruits and veggies in order that they last more.

Understand the Ripening Process

Some fruits must ripen on the tree or vine, creating their full taste and texture earlier than they’re harvested and delivered to the grocery retailer. Others want extra time to achieve their peak ripeness (aka tastiness) after you convey them dwelling. This second group of produce, known as climacteric produce, is most frequently harvested unripe.

Some sorts of climacteric produce gained’t ever ripen on the tree and should be harvested to set off ripening, whereas others are merely simpler to move unripe. To set off the flavour improvement and softening that we affiliate with ripening produce, these fruits emit greater ranges of ethylene, a fuel made up of hydrogen and carbon, which acts as a plant hormone to inform all the cells within the piece of produce “It’s time to ripen!” on the identical time.

Avocado on cutting board
Image credit score: Apeel Sciences

Common climacteric fruits embrace bananas, avocados, mangos, and tomatoes. As they soften and alter coloration in your countertop, they produce massive quantities of ethylene. Other climacteric produce is delicate to this fuel and may ripen too rapidly if saved close by. So, we suggest that you simply maintain your climacteric fruits and veggies separate. However, in case you have an avocado that’s onerous as a rock however you simply can’t wait to make guacamole, put it in an enclosed area with different avocados or a ripe banana. You’ll lure within the ethylene fuel they’re producing and pace up the ripening course of.

Non-climacteric fruit and veggies like strawberries, bell peppers, cucumbers, and lemons emit smaller quantities of ethylene, so it’s okay to retailer a majority of these produce collectively. High publicity to ethylene can, nonetheless, set off some undesirable coloration adjustments in these produce varieties (yellowing of cucumbers, for instance). For greatest outcomes, retailer climacteric fruit separate from non-climacteric fruit. Save the chart under for straightforward reference subsequent time you want a refresher on climacteric fruits.

These storage practices can be certain that we don’t pace up the ripening course of and restrict the window we’ve to eat one thing earlier than it turns into meals waste.

Climacteric fruit vs. non-climacteric fruit diagram
Image credit score: Apeel Sciences

Know When To Refrigerate Produce & When Not To

Refrigeration is likely one of the most generally used “improvements” to assist us reduce spoilage and battle meals waste at dwelling. However, some sorts of produce shouldn’t be refrigerated as a result of they last more or style higher when saved at room temperature.

Store produce like tomatoes, bananas, and onions at room temperature. For tomatoes and onions, it’s because they may lose their texture and taste if refrigerated, whereas bananas are temperature delicate and may rapidly go unhealthy from “chilling injuries.” Other produce like celery, carrots, and asparagus want cooler, damp circumstances and can last more when stored in the refrigerator.

You may use your fridge to decelerate the ripening course of. For occasion, put your ripe or nearly ripe avocados within the fridge; the chilly air will decelerate ethylene manufacturing.

overripe fruits in refrigerator drawer

What To Do With Aging Produce

Are you continue to throwing away meals even with these storage strategies? Here’s what you are able to do with aging produce:

  • Utilize your freezer: Freezing is a simple technique to protect perishables to take pleasure in later. For instance, freeze leftover greens or fruit and add them to smoothies.
  • Pickle it: You can maintain pickled vegetables in your fridge for days and add them to every kind of dishes for some additional acidity and crunch.
  • Compost it: Composting is a good way to assist scale back methane emissions from landfills and in addition creates a nutritious amendment on your houseplant and backyard soil.

Sometimes, the most important change begins proper at dwelling, and even incorporating one or two of those practices into your every day life could make a distinction. When we scale back meals waste, we’re doing a lot greater than merely stopping that waste from biodegrading in landfills. We’re additionally stopping pointless emissions, water withdrawals, and useful resource utilization that happens once we develop, retailer, distribute, and buy meals that we by no means get to eat.

About the Author

Jessica VieiraJessica Vieira, Ph.D., is vp of Sustainability at Apeel. Apeel is a food-tech firm that makes use of supplies discovered within the peels, seeds, and pulp of fruit and veggies to create a protecting plant-based coating that retains produce like limes and avocados recent for 2 to a few occasions longer. Learn more about Apeel.