How to store different vegetables without plastic

vegetables

Knowing how to store vegetables, fruit, salads & herbs correctly isn’t as straight forward as it seems. Should I keep potatoes in the fridge? Should I hang garlic? Figuring out what’s best to do with such a wide variety of food types can be hard to get right, most people want their food to keep as for long and as fresh as possible.

To keep food fresh you might think to put it in the fridge, however putting some things in the fridge can reduce their shelf life and increase chances of mold.

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How to store vegetables in the fridge without plastic?

If your looking to reduce your plastic waste a good place to start is in the fridge, most food from the supermarket these days is wrapped in some form of none recyclable plastic. Granted it is hard to reduce this waste entirely, you can make a big difference by buying food from your local Green grocers and butchers.

Produce bought from a butchers or green grocers is far less likely to be wrapped in plastic and will have a lower carbon footprint if sourced locally. You can then transfer your produce from your ‘bag for life’ to your ‘produce bags’ in your fridge or freezer.

Plastic wrap

Why is plastic bad as packaging?

The less plastics in your fridge the better, better for you, your family and the environment. It has long been known that there is a transfer of chemicals from the plastics to your food. The most common chemicals include bisphenol A and phthalates, both cause negative responses in the human body. These chemicals and others have been known to cause health issues including tissue changes, hormonal changes, genetic damage and can cause cancer as well as fertility issues.

If only nature could have wrapped it

Plastic is also air tight and cannot breathe, this can cause food items to sweat in storage. Contrary to belief, plastic can harbour bacteria and most washing methods will not remove all bacteria adequately increasing risk of contamination.

How to store vegetables in the freezer without plastic?

The freezer is a difficult one as there is not much you can do unless you purchase some glass storage vessels that can be frozen without damage. Many vegetables do store well in the freezer if you can find the right storage container for them.

Freezing locks in flavour and nutrients making it a great way to save your fresh produce until a later date. Things like peas and sweetcorn freeze well, locate some freezer proof, glass mason jars that will fit in your freezer draws. Fill them with your chosen vegetable, seal and freeze.

Some vegetables like tomatoes will loose some texture through the freezing process and may be better processed before freezing.

Should I keep vegetables & salads in the fridge?

Not exactly, what vegetables to keep in the fridge depends on a few factors, the main reason people store produce in the fridge is to keep it fresh for longer. It is important to note that some foods like tomatoes and fresh herbs do not last longer when kept in a fridge.

Looking in the fridge

Should I keep fruit in the fridge?

Fruit is a little different than vegetables & salads, the majority of fresh fruit will last longer if kept in a refrigerator. Most fruits will maintain their flavour and texture if kept cold, and much longer than if it was left at room temperature. Fruits and vegetables produce ethylene that speed up the ripening process, this in-turn causes the fruit to go off quicker., this process is slowed by cooling the produce.

Zero waste produce storage

One great storage solution for your fruit, veg and salads in the fridge is to use ‘produce bags’. These bags are reusable and if sourced correctly are not made from plastic. Produce bags keep your fridge organised, hygienic and plastic free and are my favourite way to store my food in the fridge.

How best to store common British fruit, salads, mushrooms, vegetables and herbs so they last longer?

With so much food out there we wont cover every item, instead we’re going to cover the most common fruit, vegetables and salads found in the fridge across Britain, along with some tips on how to keep your food fresh in general – and all plastic free!

How to store potatoes?

Potato

Potatoes do not store well in the fridge, potatoes store best in cool dark & dry places. Not many houses in the UK have a ‘pantry’ these days, but this would be an ideal place to store them. To make the most of your spuds:

  1. Check potatoes for sprouts and damage prior to storing
  2. Place potatoes into a dry storage container like a cardboard box or thick paper potato bag
  3. Store container with potatoes in a cool (around 7c-8c) dark place, like a pantry
  4. Check on your potatoes regularly removing the depreciating ones

How to store onions & garlic?

Garlic

Onions and garlic are another produce that doesn’t belong in the fridge, they favor similar conditions to potatoes, cool, dry and well ventilated. Keeping onions between 4c-10c is ideal, and making sure they have airflow is essential to avoid rotting and disease.

Keeping onions or garlic in the fridge will cause it to loose its texture and spoil much quicker.

Onion

How to store ginger?

Ginger is something that is difficult to decipher, fridge or not to fridge? It is in-fact a fridge item, the best way to extend the life of ginger is to put it in the fridge. Simply put the root in the side draws or on the top shelf with its skin on, you can peel and chop it but it wont keep as long.

Ginger

To freeze ginger you can put the root straight into one of the freezer draws, however, it is better to put it into a storage container to keep it from freezer burn.

How to store strawberries?

Strawberries are best stored in the fridge and should be done so as quickly as possible after purchase. Strawberries begin to perish pretty much as soon as they are picked. Cooler temperatures hinder the decay process so keeping strawberries in the fridge is a good idea.

Strawberry

How to store avocados?

When storing Avocado’s your intention on eating them is important to consider. Putting an Avocado in the fridge will slow the ripening and therefore decay process, a non ripe avocado will not ripen in cold temperatures which is great if you want to store them, not if you want to eat them.

To put it simply:

  • Refrigerate ripe avocados
  • Leave non ripe avocados at room temperature
Avocado

How to store mushrooms?

Mushrooms are quite universal in their storage needs, all common edible mushrooms benefit from being stored in the cool, they also last longer in a dry environment. For this reason it is best to keep mushrooms in a paper bag, this will take any excess moisture from around the mushrooms keeping them fresh and tasty.

Mushrooms

How to store carrots?

Carrots can keep in the fridge for months if kept properly. Make sure there are no greens left on the carrot, allow the carrots to dry in the sun for a day and do not wash them until you are ready to eat them. Store carrots in the fridge but try to keep them separate from most vegetables as they create ethylene which speeds up the decay process.

Store carrots in the crisper draw in the fridge, line the base of the draw with paper towels as this will help keep the carrots dry and fresh. Check the carrots regularly and remove any that are starting to go off, this will save any decaying carrots affecting the fresh ones

Carrots

How to keep leafy greens like salad fresh in storage?

To store leafy greens and salads so they remain as fresh as possible you can use a couple of techniques, both are plastic free! Everyone wants a fresh crunchy salad so it’s important we keep them fresh in the fridge.

The first method is to wash your leaf salads, dry them and store them in a dish or bowl with a paper towel and without a lid. This will keep your greens from getting damp and wilting, keeping them fresh and crunchy.

Leaf salads

Whats the bets storage option? – Reusable produce bags

The best option to store your fresh bought produce from your local suppliers are reusable produce bags. These are bags that can be made from eco friendly material and can be used to keep your produce fresh and organised. Most produce bags tend to be made from cotton making them breathable and washable, perfect for reusing and plastic free.

Did you know?

Pollution facts

Because of pollution in the UK and the EU today, a child born may not be able to breathe truly clean air until the age of 8 years old, this can also lead to adverse health conditions.

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