11 May 2017

How to make your veggies last longer

From Nine To Noon, 9:44 am on 11 May 2017

Sick of foods going off in your fridge before you have the chance to eat them?

New research from the University of Otago has revealed the best home storage methods to lengthen the shelf life of vegetables.

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Photo: 123RF

Dr Miranda Mirosa is a senior lecturer in consumer food science at the University of Otago.

She says the key message from their study is covering or wrapping vegetables is the best way to keep them fresh.

During the study they looked at a total of 17 different ways people keep their avocados, discovering the best option was keeping the pip in and wrapping the avocado tightly in glad wrap before popping it back in the fridge.

“If you do it like this it can last up to four times longer than your uncovered, cut avocado half.”

Dr Mirosa says the theory that spreading olive oil or lemon juice on one half of the avocado to keep it fresh proved to be the worst thing that could be done to preserve it.

The second best option involved storing it in a container with part of a cut onion, and using beeswax wraps were also a good option for covering avocados.

For leafy greens, the same applies, with leaves kept in air tight container lasting best.

Dr Mirosa says keeping some vegetables, including celery and carrots, in a paper towel in a container with them helps control the humidity and absorb some of the moisture, and helps the vegetables last longer.

Using a container to store carrots, rather than leaving them loose in the fridge can keep them fresh for up to 10 times longer, she says.

“After 29 days in the refrigerator the unwrapped carrot was black and shrivelled and absolutely horrendous looking and the one that had been put in the container… with that paper towel looked absolutely like it did on day one.”

While broccoli is relatively resilient, Dr Mirosa still recommends wrapping it in a paper towel before popping it in an air tight container.

Wrapping pumpkin in plastic wrap will also keep get it going about four times longer, but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference if the pips were in our out, she says.