diet

The Food Coach's guide to storing autumn fruits and vegetables

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Food Coach Judy Davie gives you the lowdown on how — and how long — you can best store fruit and veggies as the weather cools...

With the cooler weather, produce is typically much hardier and lasts longer. That said, to avoid nutrient loss and ensure it stays fresh, you should know where to store produce, how to store it and how long for. To enjoy it at its fresh best follow our storage tips below.


Autumn fruits

Storage method

Ideal storage time once ripe (days)

Apples Autumn is the best time to enjoy apples before they have been kept in cold storage for too long. To test whether apples are crisp, flick the skin with your fingernail. A crisp apple will give a clear tap sound. Apples can be stored either at room temperature for up to 7 days or in the crisper section on the fridge for a couple of weeks. 7-14
Avocados Ripen at room temperature, not in the fridge. To speed up the ripening process, place an avocado in a paper bag with a banana. Once ripe, eat straight away. 1
Bananas Store at room temperature until ripe. To extend shelf life, ripe fruit can be wrapped in a few layers of newspaper and refrigerated. Even though the skin discolours, the flesh will remain fresh and firm. Watch out though — a ripe banana will speed up the ripening process of the other fruit on your fruit bowl due to their emission of the gas ethylene. 2-4
Custard apples Arriving in stores late Autumn, custard apples are a very delicate (and delicious) tropical fruit. They are best bought under-ripe when the skin is pale yellow-green in colour. Ripen them at room temperature and eat them as soon as they ripen. 1
Figs During March, figs are at their best. They are extremely perishable and ideally should be used the day they ripen. Ripen at room temperature. 1-2
Fuji fruit Fuji fruit can be eaten as soon as they are picked when the flesh is still crisp, or, like a persimmon when the flesh is soft. Store in the crisper section of the fridge for up to 5 days. 5
Grapes Grapes are ready to eat from picking. Store them in the fridge in a plastic container but don’t wash them until just before eating otherwise they will become soft. 5-7
Guava Ripen at room temperature then place in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge.2
Kiwi fruit Kiwi fruit can be ripened at room temperature. Once ripe they can be stored in the fridge to extend their shelf life. 3-5
Limes Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator. 14-21
Mandarins Store at room temperature. 8
Nashi pear Store in the fridge. 14
Oranges Can be stored at room temperature for up to 14 days or even longer in the fridge. 14+
Passionfruit Store at room temperature for about a week or keep in the fridge for several weeks. 7-21
Pears Store unripe pears in a paper bag at room temperature turning occasionally while ripening. They're ripe when they yield to slight pressure. Refrigerate ripened pears and use within 3-4 days. Avoid stacking pears on top of each other.3-4
Persimmons Ripen at room temperature until soft then refrigerate for up to three days. Unlike Fuji fruit you only eat the flesh once it's soft. 2-3
Plums Plums are almost always unripe when you buy them. To ripen place them in a shallow bowl away from direct sunlight. They are ripe when they yield to slight pressure and are slightly fragrant at the stem end. Once ripe, store them in the fridge.3-5
Pomegranate Their tough outer skin means pomegranates will stay fresh for quite a long time refrigerated. 8 weeks
Tomatoes Store at room temperature to ripen over a few days. Ripe tomatoes should also be kept at room temperature and used in a couple of days. If very ripe, store in the fridge but use as soon as possible. Rest refrigerated tomatoes at room temperature for 1 hour before using. 4
Yellow papaw In season until the end of March. Papaws can be ripened at room temperature and are ready to eat when their skin is yellow and they're slightly soft to touch. They can be stored in the fridge for a few days once ripe. Cut: up to 3
Uncut: up to 14



Judy's guide to storing autumn vegetables

Spring vegetables

Storage method

Ideal storage timeframe (days)

Asian greens Wrap in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge. 4
Beans: green, butter, snake Beans can be stored in a dry airtight container in the fridge. 3-5
Broccoli Place in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge.4
Brussels sprouts Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the freezer for no longer than 3-4 days, otherwise they can become bitter. 3-4
Cabbages Cut cabbage should be wrapped tightly in plastic and stored in the fridge for up to 7 days. Uncut will last much longer. Chinese cabbage should be used quicker within 3-4 days.3-7
Capsicums Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator. 10-12
Carrots Baby carrots will store in the crisper for up to 3 days, large carrots for up to a week. Remove the tops before storing. 3-7
Cauliflower Remove the outer leaves and place in a storage bag in the crisper. 3
Celery To avoid wilting, celery should be stored in an airtight bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator. 5-7
Celeriac It's a pretty ugly looking veggie but makes terrific soup. Store in the crisper section of the fridge. 5
Chestnuts Store in a paper bag in the fridge. 14
Cucumbers Keep in the crisper section of the refrigerator. Once sliced it should be kept in an airtight bag. 2-3
Eggplant An early Autumn vegetable. Store in a paper bag to prevent moisture loss. 2-3
English spinach Remove the string from the bunch and refrigerate in a plastic bag in the crisper. Never wash before storing. 3
Fennel Wrap fennel bulbs in plastic and store in the crisper.5
Leeks Trim the uppermost part of the leaves from the leek and store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge. 5
Mushrooms Store in a paper bag in the fridge for up to 5 days. Never store mushrooms in plastic or they will sweat and become slimy. 5
Onions Store with the skin on in a place with plenty of air circulation. Onions will keep for at least a month. Peeled onions should be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for 24 hours. 30
Okra Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge.4-6
Peas Buy them the day you plan to eat them or the day before. Store them in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator. 1-2
Potatoes Old potatoes will keep for weeks in a paper bag with plenty of ventilation. Never store potatoes in plastic bags. New potatoes should be used within a week. Old: 30
New: 5
Pumpkin Store whole pumpkin in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place for up to 2 months. Once cut, wrap in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator.7
Rhubarb Store rhubarb in a plastic snap-lock bag in the fridge.7
Silverbeet Remove the string and the ends of the stalks and store in a plastic bag (unwashed) in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to 4 days.4
Sweet corn Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. 1-2
Sweet potato Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator.10
Turnips Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator. 14
Zucchini Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge. 4



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