Summertime means fruits galore, including our very own favourite – the mango. It is highly tempting to stock these by kilos. But as a smart shopper, you should be aware of the shelf life of the fruit you are buying, the signs to look for ripeness and where to store the fruit in order to avoid waste. Fruit goes bad as it naturally decays and bacteria and enzymes are produced.
There are few steps to ensure that you are guaranteed maximum fruit pleasure :
FRESH FRESH GOES LONG – Buy only the freshest, best quality fruit at your local market, fruit wallah or grocery store. Watch out for bruising, soft spots and mold and avoid any fruits that seem overripe. Sometimes, super markets bundle up fruits and shrink wrap them. Examine carefully as the soft spots or bruises on the fruit may not be visible from the outside the wrap.
TANTALIZE YOUR SENSES – Smell and feel the fruit before you decide to take it — the riper the fruit, the sweeter it will smell. Different fruits appear differently and smell differently at various stages of ripening. Know what to look for.
TREAT THEM WELL – Know where to store your fruits. Store most fruits in the refrigerator, with the exception of few like apples. Never store fruit and vegetables together, as the ethylene produced by vegetables will make fruit decay faster. Store fruit in perforated plastic bags to allow air flow, or place them in a bowl and cover it with perforated plastic wrap. Store bananas, apples, melons and pineapples outside of the refrigerator in a cool, dry location. Do not store fruit in full or direct sunlight, as it will spoil more quickly.
GIVE THEM A RINSE – Wash fruit only before you eat it, never before you store it. Fruit will spoil faster if it’s stored wet. Pat fruit dry before storing if it is damp when you get home from shopping.
DUMP THEM– Throw away pieces of fruit as when you begin to see signs of spoilage. Fruit produces an odorless, colorless gas known as ethylene as it becomes ripe and then decays. If one fruit is rotting and producing ethylene, the other fruit around it will also begin producing more ethylene and will spoil faster.
How long will they last?
Bananas: Green bananas, if you buy ripe ones they will last 2 days before spoiling. The smaller yellow variety will last 4 days before spoiling. Store bananas outiside the refrigerator.
Mangoes: Buy them in varying stages of ripeness from ripe (to eat right now) to rock hard (to eat in 10 days to 2 weeks). As the rock hard ones ripen, they’ll ooze a bit of sugary juice, so store them in their own bin or container or box.
Apples: Apples will last up to a month if you can protect them from bruising. Don’t store these with citrus fruits (will cause the apples to over-ripen) or bananas (will cause the bananas to over-ripen).
Strawberries: Will only last 2 days on the outside, if fully ripe when purchased. Will last a week in the refrigerator when stored in paper bags or containers. Check each day for moisture.
Grapes: Will usually last at least 2 or 4 days or sometimes more when stored outside. They will last for about 7 to 10 days when stored in the refrigerator.