Fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, folic acid and potassium. When freshly eaten, the nutrients which our body gets from fruits and vegetables are wholesome. The freshness of these vegetables and fruits indicates the nutrients value in it. By having a look at the vegetable rack in grocery stores, one can identify the freshness level of fruits and vegetables. To preserve the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, the freshness should be retained at its maximum. As pointed by health.com, the loss of freshness in fruits and vegetables can result in the intake of nutrient-less food.
Fruits and vegetables don’t have the same level of ripening or growing level accordingly. Vegetables when eaten fresh, gives maximum nutrients. Fruits nowadays are harvested before the ripening period and left as such to ripen. After picking, ripening is initiated by the continued respiration of fruits. During this process, the moisture and heat are lost, thereby losing the nutrients in it. So storing the fruits and vegetables to maintain the freshness, not only helps in avoiding the spoilage and preserving the nutrient levels. There are several ways by which food produce can be stored safely without losing its freshness and nutrients.
Avoid heat prolonged areas
Fresh produce should be kept out of heat places like, near a stove, microwave oven, bread toaster, etc. Because, this will increase the ripening factor called ethylene, a gas released during respiration of fruits and vegetables.
A Fridge is an essential storage place for fruits and vegetables. Since many other food items are stored along with fruits and vegetables inside it, there are many chances of leakage of other food items. Whenever fruits and vegetables are placed into the fridge, cleaning the racks will be the best way to avoid spoilage caused by the leakage of other food items.
Proper storage method
Fresh produce should always be cut before consumption. As, even a tiny cut results in spoilage of the entire fruit or vegetable. Berries can be washed with vinegar water mix before storing it in the fridge. Leafy greens should never be left in the fridge with water or moisture on it. The moisture responsible for the leaves to turn soggy can be absorbed by placing a towel beneath and covered with a plastic cover. Onions will decay when it is not kept in the air. So storing it in mesh-like material like the pantyhose will allow sufficient airflow. Potatoes can be stored better with apples; the growth of sprouts will be avoided due to the ethylene released by an apple.
Apples when cut and left aside turn brown due to oxidation. This will result in bad taste and nutrient loss. Soaking the apple pieces in cold salt water, patted dry after five minutes and then keeping in fridge avoids bad taste. Packing celery in aluminum foil will allow the ethylene gas to escape through the foil, thereby retaining the freshness. Bananas should be kept alone, as it is the highest ethylene releaser.
Intake of fruits and vegetables is not the key to a healthy life, but eating them fresh with high nutrient levels is the key to a healthy life.