Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Few Tips About Storing Apples and Ripening Fruit Faster

In a recent response to a blog post about Uncluttering your refrigerator's crisper, I posted a reply about the storage of apples. You may find some of these tips useful in your own kitchen. Thanks for reading.

Learning how to best store your produce will save you a good deal of money and improve your recipes. I work for a specialty grocer and knowing how to best store your produce, as a produce manager, reduces what is know in the industry as "shrink" (bad product that must be thrown away).

A quick note about storage. The gas given off by apples is ethylene gas and can be harmful as well as beneficial to your other fruits and veggies.

To speed up the ripening time of produce such as avocados, peaches, bananas, apricots, plums, pears and kiwis place an apple into a paper or plastic bag with the fruit you want to ripen faster. The gas given off by the apple will speed up the ripening process of these fruits allowing you to eat them sooner.

The ethylene gas produced by apples, however, will work against you in the same way. Fruits and vegetables that are placed, stored, close to apples will go bad (wilt, mold, decay) faster.
If you have to store apples close to other fruits and veggies place them in a ventilated bag, however, as mentioned above this will speed up their ripening process and will result in a shorter shelf life. Also, if you put apples into a bag together, make sure to watch that one of the apples in the group does not go bad. A bad apple amongst others will turn the rest of the apples bad because of the excess of ethylene gas produced by the rotting apple. The best advice is to store apples on a shelf, in the fridge, away from odor producing food.

Storing apples away from odorous foods is important because apples, which are a porous fruit, will absorb these odors thus changing their flavor.

One final apple storage tip, once you cut open an apple, drizzle a solution of 50% water, 50% citrus juice on the cut apples pieces to prevent browning. This will buy you some extra time when displaying your apple slices and improve the presentation of your recipes.

Learn the Apple Wrinkle Test in this video and make sure you're getting the freshest apples in the store!

Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker