Tips for keeping fruit at it’s very best!

ripening fruit
Some fruit should be left unrefrigerated on the countertop to ripen.

HOW TO KEEP FRUIT AT ITS VERY BEST

You have  just picked up some juicy-looking plums at your local grocery store. As usual, they are not quite ripe. You carefully place them in your refrigerator crisper, thinking they will ripen to chilly perfection in a few days’ time.

Mistake! As you will see below, plums fall into the category of fruits that must be ripened at room temperature in order to reach their juicy best. It is only when they are fully ripe that you should even think about refrigerating them.

Follow the handy guidelines below to achieve the maximum flavor  from your fresh fruit, no matter what the season.

Ripen or Soften at Room Temperature Before Refrigerating                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The following fruits continue to ripen or soften after they have been picked; premature refrigeration will cause them to lose flavor and develop a mealy texture. Store these fruits at room temperature  (placing them in a closed paper sack will hasten the ripening process) until they are fully ripe, then refrigerate: Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Cantaloupe melons, Casaba melons, Cherimoya, Crenshaw melons, Guava, Honeydew melons, Kiwi fruit, Mangos, Nectarines, Papayas, Passion fruit, Peaches, Pears, Persimmons, Pineapple, Plantains, Plums, Prickly pears, Quinces, Sapote and Star fruit.

Refrigerate Immediately After Purchase 

Once the following fruits have been picked, they will not ripen any further. Leaving them at room temperature will only speed up their decay, so you should store them in the refrigerator immediately after purchase: Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cherries, Cranberries, Currants (red, black or white), Elderberries, Figs, Grapes, Huckleberries, Litchis, Raspberries, Rhubarb and Strawberries.

Store At Room Temperature OR Refrigerate Immediately                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The following fruits will not ripen any further once they have been picked and they will last longest if you store them in the refrigerator right away. But it is also fine to leave them at room temperature for a while. Apples, Clementines, Grapefruit, Kumquats, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Pomegranates, Tangerines, and Watermelon.

 

Prepared by Iowa State University FAMILIES EXTENSION ANSWER LINE 800-262-3804 in Iowa, 1-800-854-1678 in Minnesota, and 1-888-393-6336 in South Dakota

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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Easy method to blanch vegetables

Is the garden producing more vegetables than you can use right now, or have you been tempted by the beautiful produce at the farmers market? Here is a quick “how to” on blanching vegetables for the freezer.

Blanching tomatoes
Blanching tomatoes

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a small amount of produce (typically a quart or less) to the pot. When the water returns to a boil, set your timer. If you use a colander or metal basket you can place the vegetables into the boiling water easily and remove them quickly when the timer rings. Next, plunge the vegetables into cold or ice water for at least as long as the blanching time. This step will stop the cooking process. Drain the vegetables, package them, and freeze. Remember to use freezer containers or bags and not storage bags. The freezer bags and containers are not permeable to the air in the freezer and will protect your vegetables until you are ready to eat them.

Hint: If you want to have “free flowing” vegetables like those you buy at the store, freeze the vegetables on a tray or cookie sheet overnight and then place them in the freezer bags.

NCHFPBlanching time for vegetables varies with the type of vegetable. This link will take you to the University of Georgia’s website—The National Center for Home Food Preservation.  This page has a lengthy list of vegetables and the appropriate blanching time for each.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

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