What is the Best Temperature for Produce? (And Other Hacks for Fresh Produce)
Everyone knows the best way to store wine, but what about produce? Though your Chardonnay may come from grapes, storage isn’t quite the same. Fresh produce requires a certain temperature and storage to maintain its freshness. Yet how to store different types of veggies and fruits isn’t quite as obvious. But there’s a method to the madness. To avoid moldy or gooey produce that threatens to put your gag reflex into hyperdrive, use these tried-and-true ways to store all your fruits and vegetables.
While certain fruits and vegetables may have specific temperatures to increase their longevity and others are just fine at room temperature, you can still follow these general guidelines:
- Cool-season fruits and veggies should be kept at between 32 and 35 degrees. Some examples of cool-season produce includes apples, cherries, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce, and carrots.
- Warm-season fruits and veggies should be stored between 45 and 55 degrees. Examples of warm-season produce are corn, eggplant, cucumbers, and melons.
- Gourds and tubers can be kept at room temperature most of the time, including pumpkins, potatoes, and squash.
Perhaps you have the ubiquitous open box of baking soda in your fridge to eliminate odors. Well, that just isn’t going to cut it if you want to keep your produce fresh. But this isn’t just clearing out expired or old food. It’s clearing out the clutter to allow air to properly circulate in the fridge.
If the air can’t circulate, fresh produce can be exposed to a constant barrage of ethylene gas, which causes fruits and vegetables to ripe, and thus decay, more quickly. So as much as you’ve been wanting to use up the remnants of that bottle of ranch or the last drop of orange juice, you’re better off getting rid of it.
Another hack to keep your produce fresher for longer involves a mixture of three parts water to one part vinegar. Once you’ve mixed up a batch, use this solution to wash all your fruits and vegetables. Not only will this clean off any dirt, chemicals, or other debris, but it will also prevent the accumulation of mold that can cause you to toss that apple or avocado on the compost heap.
In addition to the temperatures and other ideas above, you can also implement a few hacks to keep your produce fresh. Some examples include:
- Storing fresh herbs in napkins, such as basil and mint
- Removing mushrooms from the packaging and storing them in a paper bag, as this removes moisture and keeps them fresher for longer
- Place whole herbs (herbs with stems) in a mason jar filled with water. The plants can survive longer and remain fresher
- Keep bananas separate from all other produce, as they emit the most ethylene gas of any fruit, which can cause other produce to ripen and decay prematurely
Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of maximizing the freshness of your produce through the right temperature and storage methods, all you need to do is find a great recipe. On second thought, you may as well grab that bottle of wine to help get your creative juices flowing.
At DLJ Produce, we not only enjoy providing fresh produce nationwide, but tips and hacks like these you can simply use in your own home.
If you enjoyed these tips, share with a friend so they can also try these tips in order to keep their produce fresh and delicious.