Planting is over and you’re ready for harvest. You have been lucky to have an abundance of fruits and vegetables to share with the local community. But then the question arises, “How do I prevent everything going bad before I get a chance to eat it?” A family of four throws out 24 pounds of fruits and vegetables each month, according a study from the United States Department of Agriculture in 2008.
Home preservation is not only economical, but environmentally helpful. When you prepare and cook meals at home, you have better control over the nutritional content and the overall healthfulness of the foods you eat. Typically fruits and vegetables can be stored up to a year if stored in your freezer.
Which foods to refrigerate?
Apples, beans, berries, broccoli, carrots, celery, cherries, eggplant, grapes, jalapenos, leafy greens, and zucchini
Which foods to store at room temperature?
Avocados, apricots, bananas, citrus, garlic, kiwi, melons, onions, pears, peaches, pineapple, and potatoes
Some basic tips for storing fruits & vegetables:
- For storing at room temperature, good air circulation when drying is the key to preventing spoilage.
- For storing in your freezer, make sure vegetables are thoroughly cleansed and dried before freezing.
- Always make sure that your harvest is fully matured and healthy before storing to prevent spoilage. Eat the bruised or immature vegetables and fruits fresh first.
- Use cleaned containers or mesh bags for room temperature storage and pressurized freezer bags for storing frozen items.
- Avoid freezing foods that don’t freeze well because texture changes significantly upon thawing. Examples: cucumber, watermelon, lettuce, celery.
Iannotti, Marie.”How to Preserve Fruit and Vegetables.” Gardening About.com.
Layarda, MPH, RD, Sofia. “4 Easy Ways to Save Your End-of-SummerHarvest.” HealthCastle.com. July 19, 2012
Martin, Andrew. “One Mans Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal.” NYTimes.com. May 18, 2008