Is there anything more joyous than picking out a perfectly ripe banana to eat? The only problem is, ripe turns to overripe pretty quickly. Correct storage is the key to preventing your organic fruit and vegetables from going off or mouldy.
If you buy wholesale fruit and vegetables in larger quantities for your cafe, restaurant, or shop, it's even more important to utilise correct storage methods. Read our guide on how to make your organic wholesale fruit and vegetables last longer.
At Terra Madre, we don't just claim we're organic. We're the real deal, with an Australian Certified Organic certification to back us up. Check out our range of organic fruit and veg in-store or online today.
How much fruit and vegetables actually goes to waste?
Fruits and vegetables that are stored incorrectly will deteriorate rapidly, becoming soft and smelly or mouldy. While proper storage seems like a simple solution, incorrect storage of fruit and vegetables accounts for quite a lot of food wastage in Australia.
On average, Australians throw away nearly 20 per cent of all produce they purchase. Generally speaking, as a nation, we waste around a quarter of fresh produce due to spoilage and premature browning.
Why do fruits and vegetables go mouldy, and how?
Ethylene is a natural gas that is released naturally from certain fruits and vegetables, and is generally credited for speeding up the ripening process. It's the reason why avocados ripen quickly at room temperature, however, too much ethylene can cause fresh produce to spoil quicker.
It's important to keep the fruits and vegetables which emit high amounts of ethylene gas separately from produce that ripens quickly as a result of ethylene.
Fruits and vegetables that produce a lot of ethylene gas:
- Stone fruits
Fruits and vegetables that are the most susceptible to ethylene gas:
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Fruits and vegetables which are not sensitive to ethylene gas:
How to store different fruits and vegetables
Cool (fridge temperature) and moist (95 per cent relаtive humidity) environments should be used for the vast majority of fresh vegetables and fruits including:
- Brussels sprouts (leаve the stаlks on if possible)
- Sweet corn
Store garlic and onions in cool and dry environments at about 65 to 70 per cent relаtive humidity and cool room temperature. You can also store cucumbers and melons in this environment.
Did you know? Contrary to popular belief, you should never store your fruits and vegetables in completely airtight containers, as this prevents airflow, which may result in decomposing.
Storage for common fruits and vegetables
Paper bags are great for high ethylene producing fruit. If you want to speed up the ripening process for certain fruits, you can pair high-ethylene fruit in a paper bag with ethylene-sensitive produce. A classic example of this is placing bananas with avocados to speed up the ripening processes so you can enjoy your produce sooner.
Wrap leafy greens, including spinach and rocket, in a dry cloth to prevent moisture from reaching the vegetables. Store these in Tupperware, in your fridge.
Consider investing in vegetable bags for delicate produce like lettuce. These bags allow air to flow around the lettuce so it won't grow mouldy as quickly.
Special tips for storing fruit and veg
- Berries hate moisture, so it's best to keep them as dry as possible before storing them in the fridge.
- Wash sprouts before you put them into storage, in order to remove the dead coats and roots, which will assist in keeping them fresh.
- Cut the leafy tops off of radishes, carrots, lettuce, and celery to stunt growth, which will extend the lifespan of your produce.
- Once bananas are ripe, break up the bunch and wrap each stem in plastic wrap to delay the release of ethylene gas and slow the ripening process.
- Store onion and garlic separately to other fruits and vegetables in order to prevent odours from reaching your other produce.
Make sure that the fruits and vegetables you purchase are free from bruising and external damage. Try to avoid purchasing fruit which is slightly overripe, unless you plan on using it within the next couple of days.
If you're looking for a wholesale provider to supply your business with regular batches of fresh fruit and vegetables, choose a reliable wholesaler you can trust.