Tips on Storing Fruit for Optimal Use
The Key to buying fruit, especially, in bulk, is knowing how to store it and for how long. Being informed of the origin of the fruit can allow you to anticipate it’s storage life. Plums imported from Chile will have a shorter storage life than local grown plums, due to the extended exposure to refrigeration in transit. The ripening process is different with each type of fruit. Some fruit will keep up to two weeks, if stored properly, while fruits, such as peaches typically last 5-7 days. If you buy a 40 lb. case of apples, and consume it within two weeks, that equates to an average of 2.8 lbs. per day, or about 5 apples per day. Owning a case of fruit can urge you and your family not only to eat more raw fruits, it can also inspire creative culinary uses.
You can store most fruits at room temperature away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Refrigeration can adversely impact the storage life of fruits. It can diminish water content, compromising the fruit’s flavor and level of sweetness. The best conditions for refrigerated storage of most fruits are to chill just before eating.
Suggested Storage Methods for Specific Fruit
For fruits such as berries, cherries, and fresh figs, refrigeration is advisable. Grapes will withstand either storage method, though must remain dry. If stored at room temperature, they should sit in a dry area where air can circulate to them. If you choose to store them in a refrigerator, first place them in a paper bag. Any fruit that’s cut or exposed essentially requires refrigeration.
Make sure you remove grapes from plastic bags you may have purchased them in, as they draw out moisture and can also lead to mold. Line the bottom of a perforated storage container with a sheet of paper, and place only the fruit on it. Grapes remain fresher on the vine. Citrus fruits are likewise, susceptible to molding. A dry area, (at room temperature), where air can circulate will help to guard against mold’s development. Many citrus fruits can be stored up to two weeks. Always store pineapple in a dry area. If purchased while dark green, it will optimally keep for about 1-2 weeks. They can easily sit on a shelf or countertop. If you buy bananas by the case, always make sure they are green, if you don’t anticipate consuming them immediately. You can expect their storage life limited to within one week. Additionally, cold temperatures will turn bananas brown or black, fast. Therefore, room temperature is especially advisable.
Herbal Pest Control
Fruit does not only appeal to people, if you can smell the sweetness of the fruit, so can other animals, insects, and critters. Investing in a few environmentally friendly pest control methods will make it all possible for you to enjoy the fruit you buy.
- Osage orange
fruit or (Hedge-apple) -Whether you are familiar with this fruit all depends on the geography of where you live. This is not a type of citrus fruit, nor is it recommended for human consumption, although it is non-toxic to humans, though potentially irritating to the skin. Osage trees generally grow throughout the Midwestern United States. The active agent in this strange fruit is its essential oil. Several universities have conducted studies on Osage Orange including the University of Minnesota extension, and Iowa State University. According to a study by Iowa State University, the essential oil of Osage Orange is an effective natural repellent to the German cockroach among other parasites.
- Note* squirrels are known to nibble on these
Other Natural Insecticide Options
- Apple cider vinegar – Fermentation lures fruit flies. Fruit is a living organism that is valuable in every stage of its development. After it’s harvest from the tree, fruit continues to evolve or mature. We call this the process of ripening. As some fruits ripen, they take on different colors and flavors. Peaches turn deeper rose tones, and green apples turn golden, sweetening as they ripen. Cold temperatures can stunt, alter, or delay the natural ripening process.
It’s better to know how to reroute any uprising of fruit flies than be caught off guard. For this you will need one glass jar with a wide mouth, one sheet of thick paper, and apple cider vinegar. Take the paper and fold it into a funnel. Cut a hole at the tip just big enough for the fruit flies to enter, and not large enough for them to easily exit. Pour the apple cider vinegar in the jar, leaving enough space for the funnel. Place the funnel in the jar, and make sure it is secure.
- Kness, Ketch-all – An effective, chemical free mouse trap. Just set it and go. Don’t forget to check it.
- Common house flies- Put one to four pennies in a plastic bag, add some water, tie the bag, and hang it in the area that needs attention. If this does not work for you, substitute water with white vinegar.
- Plastic storage bins, (perforated) -These work well against
rodents, and are good for fruits that need some air to get to them. Make sure the perforated holes are around 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch in diameter. Also once you place the lid over the bin be sure to weight it down.
Eating Fruit with Scrutiny
It is generally a good idea to wash off fruit before eating. Cutting the fruit in half before you eat it always eliminates surprises. As it develops while on the tree, water can enter the fruit at the base of the stem. If water enters at that point, it may travel to the seed at the center. The seed may then split and the water can form mold in this part of the fruit. By halving the fruit, you can easily detect this occurrence, and any bruising that you otherwise do not see on the surface.
References: Peterson, John Christopher. Insect Repellents of Natural Origin: Catnip and Osage Orange. [2001.] “Digital Repository @ Iowa State University” [http://www.lib.dr.iastate.edu/rtd/1101] [9/05/2015.];[http://www.forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/1533172/osage-orange-as-an-insecticide]
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