Fall is creeping up on us faster than ever, made clear by those damn Halloween superstores popping up everywhere. Oy vey.
But fall also means a new slew of produce to play with: squash, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkins, quince and on down the line. But before we hoard colorful gourds and stock up on crispy apples, let’s discuss storage. Thrilling.
You may not know it, but many of our cherished fall fruits and veggies run with the bad crowd. Don’t be fooled by their demure exterior, potatoes, apples and onions have something to hide. Despite their lack of mischievous intentions, these produce bandits will cause your other food spoil exponentially faster.
Knowledge is power, my friend. With these trusty tips, you’ll be able to wrangle in these offenders in no time, increasing the shelf life of both that rogue red onion and those sweet strawberries it has its eye on.
These delicious-when-fried apples of the earth are finicky little suckers, and can either sprout, sweeten or shrivel up at the drop of a hat leaving them inedible. Like us, they are living, breathing creatures made up mostly of water yet they hate humidity. Ironic, isn’t it.To keep them at their optimum crispy texture, store unwashed potatoes in a paper or plastic bag (with air holes) in a dark, dry and cool place like a garage, pantry or closet. The fridge doesn’t count! The refrigerator will increase the chances of fermentation.
So if you don’t intend to make vodka, keep ’em out of the fridge. Plus potatoes, also like humans, emit a gas that will spoil anything in it’s immediate vicinity. Yet another reason, to keep them all by their lonesome instead of letting them commingle with the more delicate produce.Mature potatoes will keep for up to 2 months. Those of the ‘new’ variety, will only keep for a week.
Just like potatoes, onions tend to cause trouble, harming their neighbors with yet another pungent gas. So they are better off alone. Pull off any of the flaky, dry bits to clean them up. This might seem a bit off, but honestly panty hose is key. Cut off the leg of an old pair, and drop in the onions, tying a not in between each onion. Whenever you need an onion, just cut the bottom onion out! Hang the onions in your pantry, garage or kitchen as long as it is a cool, dry place.
For those without an excess of panty hose, a plastic bag with holes will also suffice.This is again a ‘No Fridge’ vegetable. There is just too much moisture in there, making your onions slimy. If you encounter a slimy onion, throw that sucker out. Trust me, you’ll be better off. Yellow onions store the best. All others like white, red and brown are slightly more perishable.
As we turn to our last bad seed, you may be noticing a few patterns here so let’s recap:
The humidity is too high for these guys, and they can’t be trusted around other produce.
They need a cool, dark and dry place to live
Don’t wash them until you need them.
Washing them introduces moisture, speeding up spoilage, defeating the entire purpose of this diatribe.
So what else do we need to know about storing apples? Keep them in a plastic bag with air holes in a cool, dark place. Now apples are one exception to the no-fridge rule. They are actually quite content sitting in somewhat frozen comfort, as long as it’s not below 30F and they are kept isolated from others. This sequestering is not just for the benefit of the other refrigerator inhabitants, but to protect the apple as well. Apples are porous, and tend to absorb whatever flavors are hanging around in the air. So if it is an option, your safest bet is a pantry or garage setting because a salmon apple would NOT be a ‘cool hybrid’.
When stored properly, apples can stay in great condition for up to 5 months. It seems like there are a gazillion varieties of apples nowadays, and they all ripen at different rates. So store each variety separately if you are stocking up.
Want more food storage tips? Check out the Episodes One & Two including a complete guide to herbs, tomatoes, berries, carrots, mushrooms and greens.
Is there a fruit or veggie you are curious about? Let me know and you might just see it in a future post!