How To Keep Your Veggies And Fruits Fresh Longer

How to keep them fresh
How to keep them fresh

One of the biggest challenge faced by many of us to find a bunch of wilted greens, rotten apples, bruised fruits and moldy berries by the end of a week. If you are willing to show a bit of little attention, you can save the fruits and veggies from ending up in the compost bin.  If possible try making multiple trips to the market in a week, if that’s not a feasible thing, make a food plan and buy on those veggies and fruits that’s required.  Also if you happen to buy more in a week, here are a few tips to preserve them fresh for a longer time.

A Few Tricks To Make The Fruits And Veggies Last Longer And Fresher

  • First and foremost thing to keep in mind is to buy only what you need for three days. If that’s not possible, plan out all your meals on a weekly basis and buy only what you need for those meals.
  • Ethylene, a gas is produced by certain fruits and vegetables. This gas prematurely ripens the veggies and fruits. Therefore, keep ethylene sensitive foods away from the ethylene sensitive foods.
  • Also keep food away from direct heat and sunlight. Mangoes, pears, plums and tomatoes should never be stored along with leafy greens, watermelon, carrots, broccoli and apples.
  • To retain the flavor of onions, tomatoes and potatoes, avoid refrigerating them.
  • Cut and store vegetables/fruits only if you are going to use them very soon. Even with proper storage it can spoil fast.
  • Store potatoes with apples so they don’t sprout. Never put onions and potatoes together. Onions are not good for potatoes while apples are.
  • Store mushrooms in brown paper bags and then refrigerate.
  • Chopped greens for salads should be wrapped in paper towel and then placed in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling film.
  • Clean the berries only if you are consuming immediately. If you want to store them after cleaning. Soak them in a mixture made by combining 10 parts water with 1 part of white vinegar. This will remove not only pesticides and dirt but also prevent mold from settling in.
  • Keep bananas away from other fruits because it one of the fruits that produce highest amount of ethylene gas.
  • If you want to delay the ripening of a bunch of bananas, wrap a plastic cover over the crown of the banana.
  • Store your greens and herbs in vases of water as you put your flowers in a vase. However, if you do not want to loot the space of your refrigerator, then store them in an aluminum foil to reduce the spoilage time.

Avoid over loading your refrigerator. Therefore, should proper air circulation inside the fridge else, the food items will get spoiled fast.

Share your tips with us.

How To Freeze Cherries At Home

Frozen cherries to be used in salads and desserts
Frozen cherries to be used in salads and desserts

Cherries are harvested in the month of May and by end of summer it’s time to preserve them so it can be used during the off-season. Fresh fruits are sweet to taste and the color of their skin is deep red. The cherries can be preserved in many ways. In fact, it depends on how you plan to use them later. Like apple and peaches, cherries also freeze well. They can be dried, pickled, made into jam, canned and more. Preserved cherries can be used in baking, making smoothies, jellies, pies and cobblers.

To Preserve

You can use sweet as well as the sour cherries. Once you have decided to preserve the cherries, select freshly harvested fruits that are deep red in color and ripe. You can preserve them with or without seeds.

Preparing To Preserve

Remove the stem and wash the fruits well. If you want to pit, ensure that the pitted cherries are kept in cold water containing 4 to 5 vitamin C tablets or a teaspoon of powdered ascorbic acid in a gallon of water. This is down to prevent discolorations of the fruits. If you want to preserve  it un-pitted, prick the skin on both sides with a clean needle to prevent the fruit from splitting.

Freezing the Cherries

These can be frozen in either sugar syrup or dry sugar.

  • To make sugar syrup
  1. Sour Cherries – Dissolve 2.5 cups of sugar in four cups of water.
  2. Sweet Cherries – Dissolve 1 1/4 cups of sugar in 4 cups of water.

For a quarter kilogram of prepared fruits, add 1 cup of syrup.

  • To Make a Dry Sugar Pack
  1. Sour Variety – For quart of the fruits mix 2/3 cups of castor sugar.
  2. Sweet Fruits– For quart of the fruits use 1/3 cup of castor sugar.

Mix the sugar well with these prepared fruits.

How To Pack Syrup Or Dry Cherries

For dry sugar packed ones leave 1/2 inch of head space in the freezer bags.

For syrup pack use either plastic freezer containers or tapered freezer jars. Here leave 1-inch head-space for syrup pack.

To Freeze The Cherry Without Sugar

You can freeze cherries pitted or with pits without in water, dry or unsweetened fruit juice like orange or grape juice. When thawed the texture will be soft. The sweet varieties should be frozen in shallow trays in single layer before packing them in the Ziploc freezer bags.

Frozen cherries can be used in salads and desserts.

 

How to Freeze apples at home

Use only Ripe and Sweet apples for freezing
Use only Ripe and Sweet apples for freezing

Apples store well in the cellar. They will dry out and wrinkle with time. And subsequently, lose its flavor and taste. However, if you freeze apples it will retain the nutrients as well as the taste, and can be used in the recipes. There are a few things that you need to understand before freezing the apples. Fujis, galas and the similar sweet apples will retain the flavor compared to the tart varieties. How you freeze this fruit depends on how you wish to use the frozen ones.

Frozen whole apple
Frozen whole apple

Freezing Whole Apples

Choose firm, sweet, and ripe fruits. Wash them well and dry. Put them in freezer bags and store them. It sounds easier. But it’s always better to cut the apples into manageable pieces before storing it in the freezer.

Freezing Apples for Apple Pie

  • First things first. Peel and slice the apples into pie sized chunks.
  • Put the slices in to the lemon water to avoid it becoming brown.
  • Rinse the slices well and transfer them into a bowl. To this add sugar flour, salt and cinnamon powder. Mix well and coat the apples.
  • Line the pie pan with a full length aluminum foil.
  • Transfer the mixture into the prepared pie pan.
  • Fold the foil over the mixture and place them in the freezer.
  • After 24 hours, remove the frozen apples from the foil package and transfer it into a freezer Ziploc bag. Seal and write the date on the freezer bag.
  • You can take it out before baking.

Freezing Apples in Honey or Sugar Syrup

  • Peel and slice the fruit and put them in the lemon. Rinse well and transfer the same into the sugar syrup.
  • Store this in airtight freezer containers and put it in the freezer.

How to make sugar syrup

Combine 1 quart of water with 2 to 3 cups of sugar. Heat the mixture until its dissolved. Cool this mixture well before adding the fruit slices .

How to make honey syrup

Boil 4 cups of water. Remove it from the heat before adding the 2 cups of honey. Stir well so the honey dissolves well in the mixture.

Dry Pack Of Frozen Apples

  • Here the fruit can be stored with or without sugar.
  • Peel, core and slice the quart apples and place them in lemon water.
  • Drain well. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar and mix well to coat the slices.
  • Place the apples in the freezer bags, seal well and freeze. Ensure to label the apple freezer bags.

Use these slices in your recipes.

How To Puree And Freeze Baby Food

Carrot pureed and transferred to ice cub trays to be frozen.
Carrot pureed and transferred to ice cub trays to be frozen.

Feeding your bundle of joy can be fun and made simple if you know how to puree and freeze the fruits and vegetables. Its no rocket science to puree veggies and fruits such as zucchini, avocado, yellow squash, water melon, blueberries, red apple, carrots and sweet potato. Here are the steps to puree and freeze baby food.

How To Make Puree  of Vegetables/Fruits

  1. Wash the cut veggies a couple of times before steaming, microwaving, baking or boiling. If you are removing the peels of your fruits, wash them after peeling them. Else you can wash them and chop them before cooking. It’s better to steam the vegetables and fruits because the nutrients are not lost. Also you can cook a larger quantity of vegetables/fruits if you steam, bake or boil.
  2. Microwave the best option if you want to puree in small quantities. But it’s better to avoid microwaving.
  3. Once the cooked veggies/fruits are cool enough, transfer them into a mixer or bowl of the immersion blender. Use the water in which the fruits or vegetables were cooked in, to make the puree. When you use this water, the nutrients are not lost.
  4. You can also puree without adding any water or other liquids. You can preserve the water to thin the baby food before feeding the babies.

Now you need to store the pureed baby food in the freezer.

Pureed food frozen in ice cube trays and then in ziploc bags
Pureed food frozen in ice cube trays and then in ziploc bags

How To Freeze The Pureed Baby Food

  1. Transfer the pureed contents into ice cube trays for freezing.
  2. Cover the ice tray with a cling film. Its wise to avoid aluminum foil. Tupperware ice trays come with a lid. So if that can be procured then there is nothing like it.
  3. Each cube of the pureed veg/fruit is about one ounce.
  4. Once the puree is frozen well. Take the trays out of the freezer and transfer the contents into a thick freeze bags.
  5. Ensure to label the bags with date of preparation as well as the type of food. The frozen pureed baby food should be consumed within a month from the day of freezing.
  6. You can thaw the puree and then reheat it before feeding your baby.

How To Preserve Blueberries

Blueberries - Power packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins
Blueberries – Power packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins

A mouthful of blueberries in the silvery wintry month would bring back the memories of the long sunny summer days. Blueberries are highly nutritious and healthy berries that help to

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Prevent the risk of heart disease
  • Keeps the free radicals at bay as it has antioxidants
  • A rich source of potassium and vitamin C

Since it has the afore mentioned health benefits you should preserve some blueberries for making smoothies, jellies, jams, pancakes, muffins, waffles and other desserts in the months when these berries are not available.

Blueberries can be preserved in several ways. Please note that its always better to use fresh and crisp fruits for preservation.

Ways To Preserve Blueberries

  • Freezing Blueberries

Use only plump and fully ripened fresh blueberries for freezing. It’s not necessary that you need to wash these berries as they may become tough-skinned and mushy. These can be washed later when you thaw them. Remove any visible dirt before putting them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer compartment. You can pull them apart when you want to add it to the muffins, pancakes or any other recipes.

  • Dehydrating Blueberries

These berries can be dehydrated and stored as dry fruits. They can be used in your cereals as a substitute for raisins or muffins. To get a pound of dehydrated blueberries you need close to 7 pounds of fresh berries. Dried berries have a shelf life up to six months and they will retain all the nutrients of fresh berries. The dehydrated berries can be re-hydrated by soaking in warm water for a couple of hours.

Poke the skin of the berries with a needle and lay them on the dehydrator trays and place them in the oven at 115 Degrees F. Else you can boil them in water till the skin breaks. Remove from the water and air dry for an hour on the kitchen towels before putting them on the dehydrator trays. Also note that the process of dehydration takes around three to seven days and this depends on the thickness of the skin of the berries as well as the size of the berries.

  • Canning Blueberries

Blueberries can be canned in sugar or non-sugar syrup and used in pie filling or made into jam. These berries can also be infused in vinegar and can be used as salad dressing.

Stay tuned for more on blueberries.

 

How To Enjoy Lychee Fruit

The Queen of Fruits ,  Lychee
The Queen of Fruits , Lychee

Lychee is the divine fruit that resembles leathery strawberries on the outside, while inside the leathery peel its white and translucent. The flesh is closer to grapes in texture and appearance. Lychee has a unique flavor that is very soothing to the palate and is extremely fragrant.

Enjoying The Divine Fruit Lychee

Selecting the fruit – A unique feature of lychee fruit is that, it has to be fully ripen on the tree. Unlike mangoes or other fruits, it will not ripen after its harvested and un-ripened fruit will leave a bitter after taste in the mouth. Therefore, a fully ripened fruit will be red or pinkish red with traces of yellow, purple or brown. Pick up those fruits that have no or fewer spots, have an excellent fragrance and simply avoid fruits that are green or have cracks on the peel.

peeled-lychee-fruit
Peeled Lychee Fruit

How To Eat Lychee Fruit

The leathery skin of the lychees must be peeled off before eating. Use a knife or simply remove the peel with your finger nails.

Once the skin is removed, pop the lychee into your mouth or you can use a knife to slice the fruit. You will find a single seed inside.

Lychee refrigerated with the peel on turns brown
Lychee refrigerated with the peel on turns brown

How to Freeze/Preserve Lychee Fruit

  1. Refrigerator – The fresh lychees can be refrigerated. Put them in a plastic bag or a container and leave the mouth of the bag or container slightly open. This will prevent condensation and mold from setting in. Though the skin will turn brown and also harden a bit, the flavor of the flesh will not be affected. The fruit can be stored in the fridge for two weeks.
  2. Freezer compartment – This fruit will also freeze well. Though some may peel the skin before putting them in a freezer bag for freezing it’s not necessary. You can simply put the lychees in a freezer bag or container and freeze it. It will stay fresh for about a year.

Recipes Using Lychee Fruits

Lychees are highly nutritious fruit. A cup of fresh lychee has only 125 calories. It is enriched with Vitamin C. Dietary fiber equals that of an apple and is a rich source of potassium. Therefore, you can use it in your recipes  such as

  • Fruit salads and desserts
  • Chicken salad and stir fries
  • As a topping on baked ham
  • Sorbets and ice creams.

Watch out this space to read the recipes and health benefits of devouring lychee fruit.

How To Freeze Peaches The Easy Way

Ripe  peaches for freezing
Ripe peaches for freezing

Peaches is one of the fruits that can be preserved well, and used instead of fresh fruit in the desserts. They can be canned as well as dehydrate. However, if you want the summertime fresh flavor of the fruit to last around the year, then you need to freeze these orangish-yellow fruits.

There are many who are not patrons of cooked fruit in their meal. They prefer to enjoy the fruit instead in their smoothies, along with their oatmeal or as grilled. To enjoy peaches in winter, you need to preserve them in summer. For that you should freeze peaches.

Ways To Freeze Peaches

  • Soaked in the sugar syrup and then frozen
  • Frozen without sugar.
  • They can also be pureed and frozen.

A Simple Way To Freeze Peaches With Their Skin And Sugar

Remove the pit before freezing
Remove the pit before freezing
  • Ripe peaches – 8 pounds thoroughly washed and wiped dry
  • Lemon juice – 1/2 cup
  • Freezer bags –  2 bags og 1 gallon
  • Parchment paper – 2

Method

Cut the peaches all the way around using a sharp knife.

Hold each half of the peach and gently twist in the opposite direction. It will come apart from the single large seed

Slice each peaches into 4 to 5 pieces and place them in a large bowl.

Gently stir in a teaspoon of sugar and lemon juice and toss the fruit well.

Line up the fruit slices on a baking sheet. Ensure they don’t touch each other.

Once the peaches are arranged on the baking tray, sprinkle with ample amount of sugar.

Cover the tray with a cling film and put it in the freezer.

Leave them overnight to freeze.

Also keep the freezer bags in the freezer before packing the peaches.

You need to work quickly and place them in the freezer bags because you don’t want them to thaw.

Place the bags in the freezer and use them whenever you want.

How To Freeze Peaches Without Skin And Sugar

Add Sugar to the sliced peaches
Add Sugar to the sliced peaches

Lets assume that you are using the measure that is given above. You start by blanching and peeling the peaches.

Once the skin of all the peaches are removed, cut them into halves and remove the pits and slice them.

The next step is to quickly rinse the slices and soak them in lemon water for some time. This will keep them fresh for months.

In a large bowl of water add a tablespoon of lemon juice. That is for every 2 cups of water add, 1 tbsp. of lemon.

Gently drop in the slices of peaches and also make sure that they sink into the lemon water.

Drain the water well and spread the peaches on a cookie sheet if you don’t want them to freeze together in a clump.

Put the tray in the freezer overnight.

Transfer the peaches into a freezer safe container or freezer Ziploc bags.

Uses Of Frozen Peaches

Frozen peaches can be used as fresh fruit once they are thawed.

  • Frozen peaches are used in desserts.
  • You can add them with another fresh fruit to make jams.
  • Semi-thawed peaches can be used in flavored yogurt.
  • Heard about up-side down cake. Try using frozen peaches the next time you plan a cake
  • As a topping on the ice-creams
  • Can be used as a topping for the crumble pie.
  • Peach chutney

You should let your imagination run wild when it comes to using frozen peaches in your diet.