Increase Shelf Life Of Vegetables In Summer With These 7 Tips

One of the biggest worries in summer is to protect the vegetables from rotting. You may be refrigerating them, but they still go bad. This can lead to frequent visits to the farmer’s market or sabzi mandi and a wastage of money as well as food. Though the rising temperature decreases the shelf life of vegetables, you can surely follow a few kitchen tips to keep them intact for a long time.

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Whether it is tomato (technically a fruit), gourd, okra, French beans, bell pepper, capsicums, etc. the challenge is to prevent them from rotting and stinking the refrigerator. The task, though not easy, is not impossible. Here are a few tips that can come in handy for you in the kitchen this summer season.

Moisture Is The Enemy

There is a saying in Hindi 'ganth bandh lo (remember this thing forever)’. You must always remember that moisture is the enemy of vegetables in the summer season. It does not mean that you will not wash them after the purchase, but you cannot store wet veggies. You must completely dry them and store them in either an airtight container or air mesh. This will prevent moisture, moulding, and rotting.

Keep Ethylene-Producing Vegetables Separate

Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli produce ethylene, which is also referred to as the death or ripening hormone. They can impact other vegetables, change their colour, cause premature ageing, add bitterness to them, and even lead to rotting. If you want to increase the lifespan of vegetables, you must keep them away from these vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes, bananas, mangoes, and avocados. You must keep them in a ventilating mesh cover.

Avoid Washing Before Storing

Though in most videos on YouTube or other social media platforms, you see that people wash vegetables before storing them, you can skip this process and only wash before cooking and eating. If you are washing them before storing them, make sure you dry them in the air and clean them with paper towels to ensure not a drop of water remains on their surface.

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You might not be running a restaurant, but you have to treat your vegetables like customers - first come, first out. The vegetables that have been in your refrigerator before the recent purchases must be consumed first. Even if you have two tomatoes in the pantry, use them for making sauce or curry. You must not add them to the fresh produce because they might start to go bad and turn others as well (one fish can pollute the whole pond).

Control Temperature

It is crucial that you maintain the temperature of the refrigerator in summer (it is the reason why the expectancy of your vegetables is short in this weather). The ideal setting is between 1.6°C to 4.4°C. It slows the ageing process in the vegetables and keeps them firm and juicy for a long time. You should also avoid cluttering the refrigerator and ensure there is enough space for the cold air to pass through.

Use Preserving Techniques

There are a few preserving techniques that you can make the best use of to increase the shelf life of vegetables. You can chop, blanch them, and store them in the refrigerator. You can freeze chopped vegetables. You can make curry paste in advance and freeze it into ice cubes. Pickling and canning are also among the best options. You can take half of the purchased onions, chop or slice them and keep them immersed in vinegar. 

Keep A Close Watch

Like a guard or watchman in your society ensures no criminal can act at night, you have to be equally vigilant about preventing your vegetables from rotting. One of the easiest ways to check in the morning is if any vegetable seems like it is going for a toss soon, you should try to cook it the same day and incorporate it into your diet.