Published: 09/26/2005 - Updated: 06/07/2017
The great diversity of available fruits and vegetables can become a problem when it is not stored properly. Failure to do so correctly can lead a considerable loss of nutrients and / or flavor. It is very difficult to organize all the food storage because each requires different conditions. Leave everything in the refrigerator in paper bags is by no means the best strategy.
Always keep in mind that, in general, fruits (and tomatoes) do not ripen in the refrigerator. Putting the fruit in the refrigerator before they are ripe will be more harmful than beneficial. While
32 ° F (0 ° C) is a good temperature to keep fruits and vegetables, this temperature is not ideal for all. Some prefer to remain at approximately 45 ° or 50 ° F (7-10 ° C).
- Avocados, melons and tomatoes (best to keep them separate from other vegetables, and stored in the maturation process as expel gases that can damage the rest)
- Vegetables such as beans, cucumbers, the okra, potatoes and summer squash (they are especially vulnerable to these gases) and eggplants, oranges, peppers, pineapples and watermelons.
If vegetables and fruits have some cuts and bruises or are damaged by frost, there is no doubt that the process of putrefaction will accelerate, so that cooling is a way of delaying it.
For certain foods, higher temperatures are recommended, between 55 ° -60 ° F (13-15 ° C). Among these are bananas (which produce gas), the boniatos (susceptible to gas), the grapefruit and various tropical fruits. Also in this category are the ginger and squash that are almost the only vegetables you prefer to be stored in a dry environment. Garlic (cold-loving) and onions (very 'experienced') also prefer a dry environment.
With most vegetables, is essential to prevent dehydration. It is advisable to immerse the base of the stems in cold water before storing, and spray with water while green vegetables are in contact with air. To prevent drying, you can also store them in airtight compartments or plastic bags in the refrigerator. (¡Wash the bags and use them again!)
When it comes to potato, as this is a very peculiar tuber, should be stored in a dark place to keep it in good condition and without upper layers becoming green. These green areas and the areas surrounding the eyes of germination, are slightly toxic and fatal know.
Fact that certain vegetables and fruits, when stored properly, remain intact for many months after harvest has been a blessing to the nutritional and economic history. Thus, even in areas with short growing season, the supply of certain varieties of local plants can be kept in good condition throughout the winter.
Legumes with these features have become essential elements of the culinary tradition in many cultures. This is the case of potatoes in Ireland and South America, potatoes in some tropical areas and a variety of tubers in the Caribbean. Other examples of foods that can be kept stored for a long time after the collection are carrots, beets, turnips, kohlrabi of the parsnips, Daikon radishes, onions and "root vegetables "in general. Also in this category include pumpkins, apples and most of the pears. Foods whose 'meat' is orange are important sources of vitamin A. In general, root vegetables are good sources of vitamin C than when cooked for too long.
When it comes to preparing, the steps are simpler than those in storage. For fruits and vegetables you want to use raw, always try to minimize the time that the area has been cut is exposed to air, light and high temperatures. When cutting, cell walls are broken and protective nutrients are lost easier via dehydration and oxidation. Prepare what you want to use just prior to being consumed instead of storing the food cut for use later.
When cooking food, this heat makes it lose a large amount of nutrients and some vitamins. Therefore we recommend that when cooking, use the lowest temperature possible and the minimum time is needed to reach the desired texture. Do not add ingredients that provide an acid pH (such as lemon or vinegar) before cooking because it prolongs the time of softening, and therefore even more nutrients are destroyed in the cooking process.
Do not throw water where you've cooked vegetables, as a large amount of nutrients has been there! Use as little water as possible, or otherwise do not use more fluid than you're willing to drink besides vegetables (whether taken at once, or used for something else, how to prepare a soup or a sauce, etc.).
The best way to prevent loss of nutrients in the cooking water is eligible to prepare vegetables like tubers and squash in the oven. Most of the calories in the frying comes in oil and refined oils rather from vegetables itself. Thus, a plate presumably chosen to give prominence to the vegetables in the diet actually added more prominently fat, some refined products at high temperatures and chemical solvents, and no fiber. You should consider this before deciding how much to fry.
As a final tip all be summarized in: Think FRESH, obtain the best nutrition, choose fruits or vegetables as fresh and as natural a state possible.
Bob LeRoy has an article of Nutrition and Public Health, and a master's degree in Community Nutrition Education.
Source: EVU News, No. 4 / 1996