How to keep fruit fresh longer without a fridge is something many homemakers grapple with. Fruits will always be more flavorful and retain their nutrients when eaten fresh. Unfortunately, in spite of having ample refrigerator space, there is always the occasional situation when ref space becomes inadequate.
Some homemakers solve refrigerator space by not shopping for too many supplies. Unfortunately, this approach will bring you more often to the grocery or market, which can also be a chore. The other side of the coin is if you shop for more supplies, you might end-up forgetting you bought something. There is nothing more frustrating than finding rotting or expired goods hiding in a drawer somewhere.
So, what are the different ways that I can keep fresh fruit longer without fridge storage? Let us explore the many ways that we can keep fruit just a tad longer than usual, minus the benefit of a chiller.
Give Them A Thorough Wash
Keeping fresh fruit clean is an excellent technique for keeping them fresh longer. Try rinsing them using a gentle bleach solution. Doing this ensures that all bugs and pathogens are removed. Fruits have a tendency to be a haven for bugs more than vegetables.
As you rinse the fruit, be very thorough and go over the entire thing. Be especially meticulous with small fruit such as strawberries and grapes. These fruits also tend to harbor most residual insecticide. You will also be able to determine which ones are bad or overripe so you can throw them away. Those that are already ripe can be set aside for the next meal.
Once you are done washing, you can lay the fruit out to dry naturally. Ideally, dry them under direct sunlight, as this gives an added measure of sanitation thru the UV rays of the sun. The moment you notice that they are totally dry, then they are ready for storage.
Fresh Fruit Storage for Longevity Without A Fridge
To keep fruit staying fresh longer, you will need storage areas that have very good ventilation. These areas will also have to be very dry and free from moisture. Fruits do not really benefit much from being kept in total darkness, unlike vegetables. Also, use bins that are easy to clean and wash.
A good material for storage bins is plastic since it works the best. Whenever it gets dirty you can bleach it and it dries very fast. If ever you decide to use wire baskets and gear hammocks, pleased be aware that their surfaces are irregular and will cause points of pressure on the fruit. That will eventually result in bruising, so if you use these kinds of cases use a lot of padding. The great thing about gear hammocks for fruit storage is they can be hung and remain unencumbered.
Visibility Of The Items
The storage bins and other containers have to be in a place where you can easily do a visual inspection of the fruit every day. What you have to look out for is any bruising. If you do spot bruising or some discoloration, put the fruit on the dinner menu immediately. Just in case you miss spotting some of it, those fruits could now be spoiling or molds may have taken root.
Throw those out right away as you discover them. Also, clean the container or bin with mild bleach to get rid of any bacteria or fungus. Another tip is that if you see fruit flies, This is a telltale sign that something is rotting, so investigate the fruit until you find the bad one.
Specific Fruits And What They Require
Citrus fruits include crops like lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits, and pomelos. To store them for longevity, wrap them individually in aluminum foil. Avoid keeping them near apples as this will result in the apples rotting. It is also imperative that the citrus fruit is totally dry before wrapping it in foil, or else you might have mold growths.
If you follow this procedure, you could have fruit that will last a couple of weeks to even a whole month. By contrast, if you keep the fruit minus the individual wrapping, it will last for 7-10 days on average. In case you notice some molds on the skin, deal with this situation by wiping off the growth using a gentle bleach mix.
When it comes to citrus fruits such as limes, oranges, tangerines, and lemons, they will last longer than your other fruits by keeping them alternatively in a cool dark place storing them in a perforated plastic bag to allow ventilation. This method will make them hold up fresh for a week to 10 days.
Though similar to citrus fruits (but technically not one), to keep your pineapples tasting fresh, here is a simple technique. Remove the leafy tops off your pineapple by cutting them off. Another trick to keeping your pineapple is to store it upside down, or on its head. What this does is redistribute sugars that have gone to the bottom during transport due to gravity. This will keep the fruit fresh longer.
Give Berries a Hot Bath
When the weather becomes warm we have a propensity for eating a lot of berries. This fruit has a reputation for getting moldy very rapidly. A way to stave off fungus other than using pesticides is by giving your berries a wash with warm water before keeping them.
This process is known as thermotherapy. The procedure requires immersing berries in a pot of hot water. The hot water in turn gets rid of mold spores, keeping the berries fresher longer. As a general rule, blueberries’, strawberries, and raspberries can tolerate 125 degrees for 30 seconds. After immersing them, spread them out on a piece of cloth to allow them to become dry for storage.
Especially if they are organically grown, ripe bananas are difficult to keep longer than 48 hours. Those that are grown in methods other than purely organic will spoil much more slowly. Otherwise bananas are just way too prone to bruising.
A good strategy is to find bananas that are not yet ripe. They will usually be green in color and the banana peel will feel quite thick and firm to the touch. If you are lucky a green bunch will last about a week. After that period they will all ripen at once so be ready to consume them.
Tomatoes Should Not Be Refrigerated
Tomatoes are always somehow part of a dish, regardless of the culinary origin. Unfortunately, keeping them fresh especially in the summer can be challenging. Keeping tomatoes in the refrigerator might seem like a great way to keep them fresh longer, but that turns out to be false. This is one of the most common food storage errors.
As a matter of fact, placing tomatoes in the fridge diminishes their flavor and even changes their texture in just a few days. Instead of the refrigerator, place them in a bowl lined with a paper towel. Position them with their stems at the top. This is because the softest part of the fruit is right around the stem. This tender part is most likely to bruise, hence leading to spoilage.
Temperature is another vital consideration when keeping tomatoes. Rather than chilling them in the fridge, room temperature is preferable. Just make sure to keep them from heat sources and direct sunlight exposure. If for some reason you are not consuming them quickly, make sure not to disturb them around in their storage bowl or container to avoid bruising.
If you do not habitually check your stored fruit, you can also buy a special container with regulated ventilation and ridges to keep moisture at bay. Expect your tomatoes to last for at least 7 days.
These are fruits that like bananas, are also difficult to keep from bruising. One of the most effective ways I have tried storing them was to place them in a sock and then in a gear hammock. If you do not place them in a sock, the gear hammock strings will create bruising because of their weight.
Be ready to also manage storage expectations. Even if you buy hard, unripened avocados, they will not last longer than 7-10 days especially when the weather is warm. Should you purchase them ripe, expect them to only last a couple of days, so be mindful of this short window for eating them.
More Tricks and Tips To Keep Your Fruits Fresh Longer Without Fridge Storage
Many fruits like pears, plums, tomatoes, avocados, bananas, kiwis, and mangoes emit a gas known as ethylene as they become ripe. This gas can precipitate the ripening of foods that are sensitive to it. As a preventive measure, keep ethylene-emitting foods apart from ethylene-sensitive food like broccoli, carrots, apples, leafy greens, and watermelon. Store these separately in a different place.
Moist conditions and getting them wet makes them prone to the growth of mold. Furthermore, also bear in mind that some fruits can lose their flavor when stored in the refrigerator. Therefore keeps onions, potatoes, and tomatoes in a dry and cool place, and not in the refrigerator.
The Reasons Why Fruit Begin To Spoil
Understanding science can help us better manage the rotting process of our fruits. Fruits are living organisms and they continue to be such even when we have severed them from a tree or plant. All fruits have distinctive compounds that trigger them to react differently when they are stored.
As a result, there is a mix of things that can affect fruits and their spoilage. Knowing these factors can give us clues to keeping them fresh longer, especially when refrigeration is not available. Keeping fruit fresh as long as possible is also important to keep the most amount of nutrients they have. Here are the main considerations directly linked to their deterioration.
Many fruits will begin to dehydrate once exposed to air. Various fruits react differently as they start to lose moisture from continued air exposure, especially stagnant oxygen.
As discussed earlier, fruits are abundant with natural enzymes that give us many health benefits. Enzymes change once exposed to oxygen by peeling or cutting. They are latent before the fruit is harvested. Enzymes react to heat and will cause the fruit to spoil quickly unless kept in a cool place.
Warm or hot temperatures and direct exposure to sunlight combined with oxygen conspire to accelerate fruit spoilage. To prevent the fast rotting of fruit, keep them away from sunlit areas and store them in a cooler part of the room.
Fruits not handled safely during, before and after harvest can pick up germs that may cause their rapid deterioration. Oftentimes these microorganisms like bacteria or fungi cannot be cleaned and the infected fruit becomes unfit for eating.
All fruits have a shelf life, regardless of the strategies you employ for freshness. Do not mistakenly expect any method to keep your fruits fresh indefinitely. Always keep in mind that fruits are living organisms and if not eaten during their freshness window, will go bad.
Also mentioned earlier, ethylene is a natural plant hormone in gas form that accelerates the ripening of fruit the moment it interacts with oxygen and carbon dioxide. Many fruits emit ethylene gas as they are ripening. Consequently, some fruits are very reactive to ethylene, so it is advisable to keep the ethylene-producing and ethylene-sensitive fruit separate from each other to avoid accelerated spoilage.
Moisture and Wet Conditions
Humidity can be advantageous for fruit but too much moisture can make them rot rapidly. For instance, one should not allow the fruit to stay in stagnant water. This unfortunately always happens after washing them once bought. Strive to keep fruits always dry and moisture-free.
In Conclusion About Fresh Fruit and Fridge Storage
We are so used to the idea of freshness associated with our refrigerator, and rightly so. We after all live during a time when modern amenities make life more convenient and comfortable. While technology has vastly improved over the last decades, bear in mind the refrigerator is a relatively new and modern device.
Many generations before us got by using storage methods of fruits without a fridge. In fact, many fruits lose nutritional content and even rot more rapidly when they are placed in colder temperatures, such as in the refrigerator. The above tips will allow you to store your fresh fruit longer, and also maintain the most amount of nutrients.