Nutritionist On Why You Shouldn't Store Fruits And Veg Together

Balancing fruits and vegetables as part of your diet is great, but storing them together in one compartment? Not so much. Turns out that keeping fruits and veggies in the same space can actually decay your veggies much faster and that’s because of ethylene gas. Nutritionist Deepsikha Jain revealed in a recent Instagram post that fruits and vegetables must be stored in different compartments in your refrigerator.

“After your fruits mature they release ethylene gas which is a ripening hormone and that gas can deteriorate your vegetables and spoil them especially cruciferous vegetables that are ethylene-sensitive like broccoli, and cabbage. If you want your vegetables to stay fresh and crisp, please make sure you store it in a different compartment and not with fruits,” Deepsikha shared on Instagram recently. 

It’s important to note that they often share similar nutritional benefits, fruits and veggies, don’t always ripen similarly. Fruits generally have a higher respiration rate than most vegetables, so they produce more heat and carbon dioxide as they ripen. They generally contain higher levels of natural sugars compared to most vegetables which affects the flavour development during ripening. 

Fruits often have higher acidity levels compared to vegetables, especially when unripe. The balance between sugar and acidity is responsible for the flavour of ripened fruits. In many vegetables, such as leafy greens, the ripening process involves the breakdown of chlorophyll, which is responsible for their green colour. As chlorophyll breaks down, other pigments may become more visible, altering the vegetable's colour.

What Is Ethylene Gas?

Ethylene is a naturally occurring plant hormone that serves as a signalling molecule in the ripening process of many fruits, triggering physiological changes that result in softening, colour development, and flavour enhancement. While ethylene is important for ripening fruits, it can accelerate decay and spoilage in veggies. 

Some vegetables are particularly sensitive to ethylene exposure and are prone to deterioration when stored in close proximity to ethylene-producing fruits. Besides cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions are also ethylene-sensitive.