You know that whatever the diet you’re following, eating vegetables and fruit will usually always be included. However, not all fruit and vegetables are equal in nutritional content. In fact, once vegetables and fruit are picked, depending on the variety, they have a limited shelf life depending on how they are stored.
Here are 5 ways to make your fruit and vegetables last longer, to boost your nutrition and to reduce food waste – a massive issue for UK households, estimated to be in the region of 7 million tonnes, costing the average household £470 a year!
1. Don’t wash all your food before you need it
This is a tough one – because it’s temping to get home and wash it all – so read up about why. Washing your fruit and veg removes the outer layer, which encourages ripening. So next time you come back from the market, or unpack your delivery, maybe try just to put your goods away and wash them just before you need them instead. Notice how much longer they last (which means they retain their nutrients for longer too).
2. Give your fruit & veg some space in the fridge
Veggies and fruit need air circulating so that they don’t ripen so quickly. This is especially so for green leaves. So keep the nutrients for longer by organising your fridge better and giving them some space.
Veg and fruit like being wrapped in paper or cloth – not plastic bags or plastic boxes because your food likes to breathe! Root veg don't like a fridge so much.
If you can store garlic, onions, potatoes, squash and such like in a cool, dark space away from your cooker and allow your fruit and veg to keep their nutrients longer.
3. Buy a fridge fresh & a veg cushion!
Even if it’s a small blue egg type of fridge fresh – get something that will help your fridge look after your food. Because if you’re like us at Raw Energy then you eat mostly plants and veg and you get through a LOT each week and you want to optimise your food.
You also spend money on organic, seasonal and locally sourced food. So you want a good return on your money and this will definitely make your fruit and veg keep their nutrients longer. You would also be wise to get a cushion for your more delicate items like mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. Layering your fridge shelf or the crisper sections with a veg sponge will encourage the air to circulate even more.
4. Ripen in the sun
When you do want to ripen your food – take it out of the fridge and give it light! Tomatoes, and avocados love being on a sunny window sill. But keep an eye on those pesky avocados – you know that it’s no, no, no, RIPE, over ripe!
You can also take out your other leaves, fruit, etc. and leave on the sill for a few hours for a nutrient boost. Think about it – strawberries in the sun for a morning before you eat them will be far tastier than straight out of the fridge in any case, and will have been sunbathing and ripening and be bursting with nutrients! Letting nature do its work will help to ensure your fruit and veg keep their nutrients longer.
5. Don’t buy veg or fruit that’s been prepped by the supplier
We’re talking half a cucumber, or cut carrots in a bag or a container of prepared fruit. Tempting though it is – research has shown that they will loose 10-25% of their nutrient value over a few days because the surface is exposed to oxygen. And you don’t know how long they’ve already been in the bag before you get it home and stick it in the fridge yourself.
I know it’s a bit more fiddly – but you will get used to cutting and chopping the more you do it!
When you ensure your Fruit and Veg Keep Their Nutrients Longer you will save money – and get more nutrition from the food you’ve bought!
So there’s five ways that you can optimise your food, Fruit and Veg Keep Their Nutrients Longer. Thanks to Food Matters for the original article, which inspired us to do a bit more research.