When we first began eating a vegetarian diet several years ago, I did a lot of research to learn more about vegetables and how to properly use/store them. Although our diet has changed repeatedly since then, I did for a long time have pieces of paper on my refrigerator with the information I am about to share with you. You see, I did not grow up with a great understanding of vegetables. My mom was excellent about encouraging us to eat our vegetables and such, but I did not really understand what made vegetables and fruits tick. Why did certain items seem to last forever, while others seemed to rot overnight? It was a baffling thing to me, so I set out to do some research about how to best protect our produce so that it could be well enjoyed over the course of the week, or more.
I stumbled upon an article in Vegetarian Times years ago, which addressed this very issue. It was from this article that I wrote down the information on my pieces of paper which were gracing our fridge for years. Here, in a short summary, is the information provided in that article:
- Many fruits and vegetables are “gas-releasers” which means that they expel ethylene, which ripens produce faster. For this reason, gas-releasers must be carefully placed around other produce if you want to avoid spoilage.
- Some produce needs to be refrigerated to keep it fresh longer, and some really needs to be kept out of the fridge. Gas-releasing foods that need to be refrigerated include apples, apricots, canteloupe, figs, and honeydew. Gas-releasing foods that need to be out in the open include avocados, bananas, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, and tomatoes.
- Foods that need to be kept away from the gas-releasers include ripe bananas, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce and other leafy greens, parsley, peas, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, and watermelon.
- Plan your meals using your produce according to the spoilage of the produce. Use the fastest spoilers first and then move onto the slower spoilers throughout the week. Here is the list of spoilage:
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