You might not be aware but there’s a science in how vegetables are stored. From frozen to fresh, some of your favourite veggies will rot faster than you can eat if not stored correctly.
In an article published on Health For Mzansi, Pretoria dietitian Jason van Heerden breaks down how ethylene – a natural gas released from some fruits and vegetables – works and what it means for your veggies.
This might sound like nonsense gibberish, but some vegetables need to be stored in the refrigerator, while others need to ripen before being placed in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, some are best stored at room temperature or in a cool, dry place.
Jane Nshuti, founder of Tamu by Jane and executive chef at Bertha House, believes that compared to fruits, vegetables must be treated differently. For example, a potato stored in the refrigerator converts its starch to sugar more quickly, which impacts its texture and flavour.
Edible, but not ideal
“Some veggies lose their crispness but are still edible despite their altered flavour and texture, while others turn bitter,” she says.
Nshuti suggests that it is not a good idea to purchase fruits and vegetables in bulk; instead, you should purchase them weekly to minimise storage challenges.
“Correct storage guarantees that food remains fresh until the time of consumption, while also preventing the growth of harmful toxins due to incorrect storage.”
In the article, experts also unpack frozen versus fresh and how to increase consumption of healthy foods at home.
Meanwhile, caterer and founder of SJ Events, Siyanda Jayiya, says veggies are delicate foods that are perishable and ready to consume.
In the same way, spinach must be stored in the refrigerator for at least one to two days. It may be difficult to properly keep these items, he adds, otherwise they will begin to dehydrate gradually.
“All dry vegetables and fruits, such as apples, tomatoes, kiwi, and papaya, can withstand a certain temperature in the refrigerator, although they can dehydrate with time. The ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 4°C; most foods can readily withstand this temperature.”
This article was first published on Health For Mzansi.
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